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A little strange but a lot of fun

August 28, 2007|By ZACH TUSSING

Have you ever seen a skateboard with 14 wheels?

I recently got the chance to ride the Flowboard, which has seven rollerblade wheels up front and seven in the back. My editor at Pulse wanted someone to test this skateboard. I volunteered.

My dad and I went to Hill Street Skate Park in Frederick, Md., and the New Hope Alliance Sk8 Church in Williamsport to try it out. After riding it myself, in a small pool, I felt that it was too wobbly and dangerous to ride the way I would ride a normal skateboard, with two wheels in front and two in back.

I decided to ask other skaters at the park what they thought about the Flowboard.

Adam Farbman, 34, tried the board and agreed with me. He said the board was "very loose and squirrelly, but lots of fun."

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The Flowboard Web site describes its product as "a patented 14 wheel Deep Carve System (DCS) that allows you to carve thru 45 degree turns with fluid transitions from edge to edge."

My dad, Brian Tussing, a longtime skateboarder who co-hosts the Sk8 Church program, rode the board in a large pool.

"It felt like a continuous crash that was about to happen, and yet the wheels have really good traction," he said. "The Flowboard held to the wall and as long as I could stay in contact with the board, I didn't fall. You'd have to get used to the ultra-loose trucks feeling. It carves and weaves very well, but could use harder wheels, and faster bearings for pool and skate-park riding."

Almost everyone at the Frederick skate park who tried the board thought it was a little slow. Colin McPheeters, 12, said "it felt like I was skating with extremely loose trucks; it was very fun but the bearings were too slow."

Grayson Smith, 22, agreed. "It turns very well, but I would put faster bearings on it because it's a little slower with the rollerblade wheels."

On Sunday, when our church hosts the Sk8 Church from 6 to 8 p.m., we found a fun use for the Flowboard. We set up slalom cones and lots of kids had fun using the board to weave in and out.

My dad thought the Flowboard would make a great slalom skateboard, because a skater can get a really good lean angle.

"In fact, an optimum setup could be hard wheels (and) faster bearings in the 5 center-most positions, while running these softer wheels, and less expensive bearings in the two outer-most positions," my dad said. "This would yield a higher straight-line speed, while maintaining good carving traction while leaned over."

It was really cool to get a chance to ride this skateboard but not so cool that I would buy one myself. However, others at Sk8 Church were more excited. Josh Spridley, 19, said, "It felt gnarly!"

Robert Resh, 38, said "The Flowboard felt like riding a surfboard without fins."

The Flowboard is available at the Flowlab Web site - www.flowlab.com. It will cost $80 to $100 plus shipping and handling.

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