Senior Ryan Dickson first started using his electric longboard to get to school when he realized it could shorten his commute by being faster and more efficient.
Longboards are similar to skateboards in that they are four-wheeled boards designed for riding. However, longboards are generally longer, have bigger wheels and are designed for transportation, not tricks.
Motorized longboards arrived on the Paly campus in the last few years and many students have begun using them to get to school.
“My average trip is around five miles. In the last six months, I’ve traveled roughly 1,000 miles on my board,” said Dickson, who owns an electric longboard. “The board cut my morning commute from 15 minutes down to seven, which is great for someone like me who procrastinates leaving for school until the last second.”
Boosted Boards is a company that makes electric longboards. Boosted Boards produces some of the best electric longboards on the market due to their high quality design and materials, and its 7-mile range and top speed of over 20 miles per hour.
But the trade off is the over $1,000 dollar price tag on their boards. Their lowest end model, the Dual Board, has a price tag of $1,299. Even though this may seem high, it is comparable to prices for other electric longboards on the market.
Buying an electric longboard on the market is too expensive for many, so those who still want an electric longboard find it cheaper to build one.
However, while building a board may be cheaper, it has risks. Homemade electric longboards are more unstable, and have a higher risk of breaking down and causing serious harm to the rider.
“Building your own longboard is much more dangerous,” Dickson said. “Lots of the price in a board goes into development of all the different electrical systems to ensure in the event of failure. It doesn’t throw you off.”
California law dictates all people under 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding any board of any kind. This is especially true for motorized longboards.
Electric longboards have the ability to go faster than what would normally be achievable on a regular longboard, which means safety is very important.
“I wear a helmet as anyone should when riding something that fast,” Dickson said. “In terms of safety, there’s the obvious fact that you’re going a lot faster than a normal board, but without the need to kick, combined with good suspension, responsive brakes and even the ability to just step off of it make it easier and safer to ride.”
Boosted Boards are not the only motorized devices on the market.
Another board, the Mellow Drive, can be attached to any longboard or skateboard to motorize it. However, its price tag is €1,427, or approximately $1,600.
“The board cost me $1,500, roughly the same price as a nice road bike,” Dickson said. “This board is the top-end model that the company sells, and while there are cheaper board on the market, I opted for mine due to its known reliability and safety.”
Overall, Dickson said those who want a reliable electric longboard should opt to buy one, like a Boosted Board, while those who are a little more adventurous or do not have the funds should build their own.