The Rollerboard

I put off reviewing this thing for awhile, and I think I sort of annoyed Larry Martel at Rollerboard, plus, I managed to lose the pictures that I had of me riding this thing. If I find them I'll definitely put them up.

I'm wary of any company that comes from outside of skateboarding to market a product to skateboarders. I'm especially wary of a product that looks quite a bit like an inline skate (no, I don't have a problem with people who ride inline skates, but the crossover appeal seems minimal).

The Rollerboard is an inline skateboard. The top is made from plastic, and has griptape on it, while on the bottom there is a single line of four wheels. I initially thought there would be problems with the balance of it, but soon found that it wasn't at all hard to balance. The wheels are quite soft, and this also stabilizes the ride quite a bit, dampening bumps when you're cruising around.

The first couple of times I rode the board, it was a little bit sketchy, but after that, I could tic-tack to get speed, and could ollie and shove-it easily. Kickflips are pretty difficult, both because the board is a little heavy, and because it doesn't have a particularly upturned nose to kick out. You can also sort of grind on it by just getting on a curb with the wheels against the curb (like a noseslide, but lengthwise on the board).

So, it would be easy now to rail against this product for trying to be better than skateboarding or something like this, but in talking to Larry Martel, the president of Rollerboard, he's made it clear that its intention is to be an alternative to skateboarding, not to try and replace skateboarding (not that that would happen). That sort of changed my perspective, I mean, I did have fun riding it around, especially in my room, though certainly not the kind of fun that would make me leave my skate in the closet. I do have an issue with the website, which had a FAQ asking, "What makes Rollerboard more exciting to ride [than a skateboard]?", which gives me a different feeling than what Larry had said, as if they were really trying to lure people away from skateboarding or snowboarding or whatever.

If Rollerboard was really trying to legitimize these boards, I think they should definitely look for color alternatives, which Larry had promised me they were (yellow doesn't cut it). This board also feels like a toy. Maybe it's because it's made of heavy plastic, or the way they market it (see this poster on their site), or that it came in this cardboard box like those $50 skateboards you can buy at Target.

The shape of the board doesn't really lend itself to tricks. Ollieing is sort of awkward, and there isn't a well-defined nose or tail that would make tricks from skateboarding easy to cross over. But, the board is reasonably fun to ride, and looking at the website, it costs $58.95. I take issue with them using an insecure form asking for your credit card over the internet, that's a bad business move, and I hope they take care of that soon.

Thanks to Larry Martel and Rollerboard for letting me check out the board.