I first tried riding a skateboard as a kid, rather than learning how to ride a Ripstik. Let's just say things went downhill quickly.
That's our first lesson for the day. As a beginner, stay away from hills no matter what wheeled board you're on.
After I learned that lesson, I tried following my parents as they went for a walk. It sounds simple enough until you realize you don't know how to turn a skateboard.
Always having to stop your skateboard to pick it up and turn it isn't very fun. Eventually, I decided I'd rather ride a Ripstik, and the whole learning process was much more pleasant and intuitive.
Not Your Average Board
A Ripstik, also known as a caster board, is a two-wheeled board that's propelled by twisting it left and right. As you make this "wiggling" motion, the board's propelled forward.
Ripstik can turn on a dime and navigate tight spaces, making them a one of a kind board to ride on.
They're a truly unique way to skate that has many advantages over traditional skateboards and longboards. You can find Ripstiks on Amazon for a reasonable price.
No More "Kick-Push"
What's great about learning how to ride a Ripstik compared to a skateboard is that you never really move once you're on it.
Skateboards require you to pivot forward by kicking the board forward, and then you have to turn sideways to turn the board.
This process is complicated and makes it hard to balance on the thing.
Ripstiks don't require you to take your foot off once you get moving. You keep your feet planted, and instead, lean them forward and back to move and turn.
This saves the time and energy that skateboards make you use by kicking at the ground.
Furthermore, Ripstiks can make far sharper turns than skateboards and longboards, giving you more mobility.
The biggest downside to Ripstiks is that they get tiring to ride. They don't coast as far or go as fast as longboards and skateboards, so you have to put a bit more energy into them.
Tips On How To Ride A Ripstik
It takes a little practice to learn how to ride a Ripstik, but if you're dedicated and have a buddy, you can learn within an afternoon.
Once you learn how to ride a Ripstik, a whole new way to skate is opened up to you for life.
Before mastering any art, you need to learn the basics. When learning how to ride a Ripstik, the same applies.
The athletic stance
First, you must learn the athletic stance. That's how you'll stay on your Ripstik rather than continually falling off.
To practice this, pretend you're a sumo wrestler. Stand on flat ground, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Point your feet straight ahead, then rotate them slightly away from each other. Now bend your knees a little, and keep your chest straight up.
That's the stance you'll want to keep when you're on your Ripstik.
It might feel strange at first, but it's the best way to stay balanced!
Once you learn the athletic stance, you're a step closer to learning how to ride a Ripstik.
So, now it's time to grab your Ripstik and try it out.
Grabbing a friend will help out too.
Once you're ready, lay your Ripstik on a flat, hard surface.
To get on your Ripstik, you want to first put your non-dominant foot on the front section of the board. You'll want to get it positioned right in the middle.
Next, you'll use your dominant foot to push yourself and your board forward. After pushing, place your dominant foot on the middle of the back section of the board.
You'll glide forward for a bit, then once the board slows down, hop off.
If you have a friend with you, you can rest your hand on their shoulder for balance. You don't even need to push forward if you have a friend, because they can move you forward by walking alongside you.
Doing this will teach you how to balance on your Ripstik, which is the most essential part of learning how to ride a Ripstik.
Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle
Now that you know how to stand up on your Ripstik, it's time to learn how to ride a Ripstik farther than you can coast.
That's where many people get hung up. It's relatively simple but takes a bit of practice to get comfortable.
For beginners, a simple way to make your Ripstik move forward is to wiggle your foot that's on the back-end of your Ripstik.
You don't have to move your front foot very much. Just focus on making the back platform of your Ripstik sway a little bit. You may need to lean your foot a bit forward and backward for it to work.
When learning this step, it's especially helpful to have a friend that you can rest your hand on for support.
After a little bit of practice, you'll eventually feel comfortable jiggling your foot to make your Ripstik move. However, this get's exhausting, and if you try riding like this for a while, your calves will burn like crazy.
The next step to learning how to ride a Ripstik farther than three feet is the "sway."
To sway, keep your front foot steady, then move your rear foot side to side by rotating your hips. As you turn your hips left and right, your rear foot will naturally swing back and forth.
This motion propels your Ripstik forward naturally and keeps you from tiring out your calves so quickly.
Figuring Out How To Turn
Congratulations! You've got the tricky part out of the way.
The next thing you need to know to learn how to ride a Ripstik is how to turn the thing. Riding a Ripstik isn't too fun if you can only go straight forward.
Turning your Ripstik is simple. You either lean your front foot forward, or you lean it backward.
The hardest part of turning is figuring out how to shift your weight. As you turn each way, you'll have to lean back a little or forward a little depending on which way you're turning.
It's best to start off practicing wide, and arching turns while using a buddy for support. Eventually, you can start practicing figure eights and trying to make sharp turns.
Thinking Like A Skier
For your final step in learning how to ride a Ripstik, you need to learn how to slow down. It's kind of important to be able to stop your Ripstik.
One way to slow down your Ripstik is to pretend you're a skier. On ski slopes, skier's make wide, arching turns left and right to slow down. You can do the same on your Ripstik.
If you're riding on a wide enough surface, you can make broad turns left and right to slow down.
When you don't have this kind of space to slow down, your options for slowing are limited.
Honestly, you just have to wait for it to slow down enough that you can step off or safely ride your Ripstik into a patch of grass.
When riding, you need to keep in mind that your options for stopping are limited. Never go fast when you know there's a road or obstacle up ahead.
Mastering Your Craft
Once you learn the basics of how to ride a Ripstik, the opportunities are endless. You can learn how to do tricks, make turns on a dime, and feel the air rushing past your face.
It'll take a bit of riding to get completely comfortable, but you'll get there. Practicing in your driveway or garage is a great way to learn how to turn in tight spaces.
Eventually, you'll get a feel for things while cruising around town. And once you become a pro on your Ripstik, all your friends will want one. That's just the way it goes.
They realize how great Ripstiks are after riding on yours, then buy their own. Before you know it, you'll have a whole Ripstik posse at your side.
Have you found any tips that helped you learn how to ride your Ripstik? Share them in the comments to help out a fellow beginner!
featured image source: flickr.com