Monday, September 01, 2014
   
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Kids on the GO

Snowboard on wheels helps kids get around.

Maddie Daup isn’t a girl who likes to just sit around.

Evidence can be seen in her choice of “toys.”

Maddie has roller blades, a scooter, a SoleSkate, a skateboard, pogo sticks, a bike and now a RipStik.

She got the funny looking paddle on wheels for her birthday last week.

“It was the No. 1 thing on my list,” says the 11-year-old who will be a fifth grader in the fall.

Friend and classmate TaeLyn Alvarez rides a smaller version of the RipStik called an XBoard.

“I think it’s easier than a skateboard,” TaeLyn says. “It only took me about three days to learn how to ride it.”

Caster boards aren’t brand new. They hit the market around 2009. But like lots of other fads, it took awhile for them to get to Gothenburg.

A caster board is a two-wheeled board that resembles a skateboard. It has two platforms called decks that are usually joined by a metal bar.

The polyurethane wheels rotate independently, like the casters on a shopping cart.

Riding a caster board is more comparable to snowboarding or surfboarding than riding a skateboard because the feet don’t need to leave the board to gain speed.

“You just kind of have to move your feet up and down on the board to make it go,” Maddie says.

A quick fish-tail movement makes the board go faster. Slower shifts in weight provide a smoother ride.

RipStiks and XBoards haven’t become an overwhelming craze in Gothenburg yet but Maddie says there are several kids in town who ride caster boards. Most of them are boys.

“I don’t think there are a lot of girls who have ever tried a skateboard so they probably wouldn’t get a RipStik,” Maddie says.

But TaeLyn and Maddie are on-the-go kids and their caster boards serve a purpose beyond having fun.

“It’s a faster, easier way to get around,” Maddie says. “A bike takes more energy.”

So does a skateboard or a scooter.

When the girls want to go to the park or the pool or a friend’s house, they hop on their wheels and go as long as there’s a safe route to get there.

“We don’t ride in the street down Lake Avenue,” Maddie says. “That would be pretty dangerous.”

So they look for sidewalks with not too many cracks.

TaeLyn says she’s had plenty of bumps and bruises from hitting deep cracks or lumps and crashing on her caster board.

“You can steer and go try to avoid stuff but that movement also makes you go faster,” Maddie says. “We’ve got a pretty big crack in our sidewalk here and I’ve kind of given up on getting over it because I keep crashing.”

Some brave riders attempt jumps and tricks.

TaeLyn says she’s going to stick to flat surfaces.

“I’m not that brave yet.”

When Maddie first started riding a caster board, her mom Jenny made her wear all of the protective gear including a helmet.

Now that Maddie is more skilled, she doesn’t don the extra gear when she’s just riding on the sidewalk at home.

“They never really sit still,” Jenny says of her daughter and her friends. “I’d much rather see the kids outside trying new things like this and having fun than sitting inside in front of the television all day.”

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