Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions



  • @wheelrich Ha ha you never said you were 73! Congratulations!

    Take it slow. Had my first nosedive and I thought I was within board limits... I knew I was starting to push the edge overall, but got overconfident. Sounds like you're doing great!



  • @reddog Hey I'm not 73 yet...for a couple of months. lol. Anyway, I just wanted to get normal reactions from people when I was starting up. But now I figure it might help to understand my taking it so slow. I stay pretty active for my age, but I try to be reasonably cautious. I can see why so many just take off on this board. Now that I have some good balance, it would be so easy to do that. But, I will put off my first nosedive for awhile, if I can.

    Still, this is such a great way to relax, even doing my drills in my carport. And it challenges my balance far more than doing aerobics and cycling do.

    I do have the cobra pad on order. I am hoping that will give me a little more feeling of control on the back pad.



  • @wheelrich that's awesome brother! I remember back in the 80's at the original Pipeline Skate Park in Upland CA. there was this older cat (maybe later 60's) we called Uncle Wiggly and he'd be out there shredding it up with everyone. Great times! Keep on floatin my man!



  • @devon thanks. You know I missed the skateboard era, even tho I was around when it began, and always kinda regretted it. This is like my second chance at it, in a different form. Plus, I just enjoy learning new things. Always have.



  • @wheelrich can you upload a movie of where you´re at progression wise ? There is another 72-year old on the FB groups



  • @ooww lol. Growing old is not a competition (although, it should be about growing) and I am not ready for primetime. I will bet that, like me, he is really only interested in living well.

    But thanks for the interest.



  • Training Day 3-6

    -went with a friend to the local University and practiced on the outdoor basketball courts. I had 4 contiguous courts to practice circles on. Started out circling all of them, then slowly tightened my circle to a smaller area in less than one court. Also practiced accelerating and slowing down. If you read my last training post, you saw that I was losing the ability to accelerate, at least on any unlevel surface, or when going very slow. So during my warmups last night, I tried different shifting methods and I think I figured it out. The best tutors tell you to shift your weight, but not your center of gravity...just push with your legs. That wasn't really doing anything for me. Tutors also say move your hips....same result for me. Then I had an "aha" moment! I just started sticking my butt in the direction I wanted to accelerate, and everything followed more naturally.

    So I practiced this method for over 2 miles on the courts, and it seems to work well. Got up to a little faster speeds this time (9.9).

    These courts are rarely used anymore, and have lots of cracks and gaps, so I got practice riding on less than pristine cement. Getting more board feel each time I ride.

    BTW I am now just over 21 miles total. So if you measure progress by the mile, I guess I am doing ok, even tho it has taken me awhile, in time, to get there. Hey, I even rode some the university sidewalk back toward my jeep, when we left.

    I let my buddy have a trial run, and he is much more a natural at it, than I am. He has skateboarded in the past, and he is younger. A whippersnapper still in his 60's.

    Summary Acceleration improved. Circling inside improved. Board feel and speed handling getting better. Still watching my speed tho. It gets away fast, without notice sometimes.



  • Training Day 3-7

    • Back to the straight school sidewalk with a parking lot turn around at one end. Did a little over 2 2/3 miles, for a whopping life total of 24+ miles so far. I am adding 1/3 mile each time I do this run. Actually I could have done even more today, but the people I went with were finished running the track and wanted to go to breakfast (we were celebrating someone's birthday).

    So, I tried my "butt forward theory" on the turns (see previous TD post). It helped, but I still had some slow downs on my turn around (during which I am also maneuvering thru some parking curbstones-yes, I know some of you would have just jumped them). Only when I managed to enter the parking circle at speed, did I make a successful turn. I changed my mode to delirium about halfway thru, and it helped some, but didn't solve my problem. HOWEVER, in the last few runs I tried turning back the other way (left turn/back leaning), using the other side of the parking lot, and had greater success. It surprised me, because back turns are still my weak point, except for this.

    ONE NEW ISSUE: One time, while I was hovering at the turnaround and in delirium, my board shut down, and I got the overcorrect warning, with instruction to restart. I was surprised, because at home I hover like that all the time, albeit usually in mission. I am wondering if that is a downside to delirium???

    Overall, a successful TD and made some measurable progress. By the end of the morning I felt more in control of the board, than I started out and less tired than on previous days.

    I notice that I get about 100 new views a few days after I post one of these Training Day posts. If this is encouraging any other slow learners (like me), I am glad. The rest of you are probably just checking to see if the old man is still alive. I am grateful for both groups!



  • Training Day 4-1

    After a few days not even doing warm ups, I went back to my sidewalk routine. Here is a quick summary:

    -Route: 1/3 mile sidewalk loop next to a school
    -Delirium: decided to stay with it, instead of Mission, for the extra power for control, if I need it. Not really noticing a big difference tho.
    -Distance: did 3 miles of sidewalk (9 loops) plus turnarounds in the school faculty parking lot at one end. Never left the board.
    -Top speed: 8.7 mph (training for fine control, not for speed)
    -Temp: high 80s to low 90s (high heat warning in effect today)
    -New: Onetail+ rear pad (first ride)

    -Observations:
    Starting off on the new Onetail was strange feeling at first. After a few loops I started to adjust to it, but it was always something new I had to concentrate on. I like the extra length and after a bit I moved my rear foot back to use some of it. The concave curves did help me to not feel like I was slipping off the board. I guess I expected to have way more control of the board right away, as others have reported. I did have slightly more after awhile, but I also discovered that I keep trying to use my front foot to turn, especially toe-ward. So, having the Onetail+ is helping me be aware of a bad habit. Now I know 3+ miles is not much distance to really get used to something this different, but I do think it will be an asset as I progress.

    Also, noticed that being away from the board for 4 days, made me start out even more tentative on my ride. Unfortunately, I am getting ready to do a 4 day trip with a Mustang group, and it will be at least that long before I can hop on again. "Why not take it with you?" you may ask. Well, we will be heading North, with no real time to ride, plus, with one passenger and our luggage, there is no room in my moderate-sized trunk.

    Turns: I am still struggling a bit with turns, but I discovered that it IS easier to turn heel side, than toe side. I didn't believe this before, probably because it does take more faith to lean toward your back, than your front. But I did make some slight progress on my turns, and by the end of my workout I was starting to feel almost comfortable riding, so that's progress.



  • @wheelrich You might find that foot position also affects how easy heelside vs. toeside is.

    Best way I've found to master all turns permanently and make heel/toe feel equal: use an empty parking lot, travel a short straight line, do 180 turn, repeat, in a serpentine all the way down and back. So you're switching from heel to toe for each turn. Do it at a variety of different speeds. I did it almost daily for a month (at least 15 minutes). Heel was hardest for me, it felt really awkward and not fun at first, I went outside my comfort zone to do these tight turns at increasing (still pretty low) speed. Anyway this steady repetition was the #1 most important exercise for me, delivered the most benefits. Turns became way easier because I quickly developed the muscles I was previously lacking.



  • @readysetawesome I'm sure you are right about that. With the Onetail I centered my rear foot with some heel overhang, where I had been keeping my heel from overlapping before, because it felt so insecure to hang it over. That made left turns even easier. My biggest problem is I don't really have a good wide open place to practice around here. Today the school had a skeleton staff working and they opened up an additional parking area. I went into it one time and was wishing I could use it to practice, but, as staff were in and out, I didn't go back to it. But it was good pavement, grippy and level and plenty of turning room. If I could find something like that elsewhere I know I could speed up my progress. The sidewalk presents lots of slightly uneven segments, which I am getting used to. That gives me practice trusting the board more, and forces me to keep my knees bent and spring like, so I like that.



  • Training Day 4-2 Best day yet!

    Route: 4 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: about 4 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves over about an hour
    Top speed: 7 mph with total control
    Temp: low to high 80's
    New: doing figures 8's and s-curves. Also rode the sidewalk back, and asphalt all the way to my Jeep.

    Observations: Wow, great day. I was a bit concerned because I have been away on a trip for a few days, and it's a week since I last rode. My turns are greatly improved and my starts and stops are getting better, but still need practice. Doing close to an hour without feeling too bad, is an improvement, as well. I took a friend with me, again, and he is picking up the basics very quickly. May develop into a riding partner.

    I still only have 31 miles on the board, but today I felt more comfortable than ever before. Getting warmed up was much quicker than usual. Last time I wasn't sure if I was going to get used to the Onetail+, but I had no problem with it today. Not really sure how much it is helping, but it doesn't hurt. I have the Cobra pad already on order, and I suspect I may prefer it. I don't feel I am really using the extra length much. In fact, if I start with my rear foot too far back, the board tips up, so I avoid that on startup.

    If you are struggling, don't give up, just keep riding and getting used to the board. It will eventually kick in. My turns are tighter now, and more confident. Also, I was more able to ride up an incline on the pavement on the way back, without issue. My fine control is starting to kick in. I was more able to go where I wanted to. Yes, the onetail curve helped, but I was using my front foot for carving quite a bit, as well, and I still had a slight feeling like my back foot might slide off. But it never did.



  • New warm ups-
    Not really a "training day" like my above posts, but yesterday I mowed an irregular shaped oval into my backyard grass, so I can begin to learn to ride "off road".

    It was, of course, super hot during the day, but I couldn't wait to try it out, so just before sunset, at 99F, I went out and gave it a try. My backyard is so lumpy that if I learn to ride it, I can probably ride most moderate trails. I never made it completely around without having to jump off, but I did start making some progress going over some of the undulating turf. I bailed a few times, because even tho I was almost keeping balance, the ground changed so abruptly that I couldn't bend my ankles far enough to stay upright. Besides getting even more flexible than I have become, riding faster over the uneven ground will probably help. I just need to keep doing it until it becomes more second nature, like my smooth surface riding is becoming.

    Only spent about 20-25 minutes out there, and was dripping sweat from the heat, so I don't consider this was a real training session...just a taste of what to come. But hey....when I first started this adventure, even 20 minutes seemed like a long time. Now it's nothing.

    Again....if you are struggle with this, like I was at the beginning, DON'T GIVE UP YET, and don't compare yourself to all the daredevils who do 20 miles their first day, etc., etc. I am having a blast. My mounts and dismounts, and even my jump offs, are all improving, and I am getting more comfortable with the board ever time I use it.

    I have even ordered a second board, so that I can invite some of my friends to try it do it with me. Safety (and more fun) in numbers! Still waiting on my new Cobra pad to ship, so I think I will put it on the newest board, and leave the Onetail+ on my current board. By next week I should be able to give an informed comparison between the 2.



  • Training Day 4-3 Best day yet...again (with apologies to Shonduras)

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: 5+ miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves
    Duration: 1+ hour at 8+ mph with total control
    Temp: low to high 80's
    New: Parked further away and rode the board all the way to and back from the courts, on sidewalks, and parking lot, even past people, all with total control.

    Comments: still building on what I did last time, and extending the mileage, time on the board, as well as now riding the board all the way from my Jeep to and from. Even rode across a short length of gravel to get onto the basketball court. My turns, both inside and outside are getting much better. The only downside is that now I am weak on switch riding since I have become so comfortable riding forward. I think I will have to go back to the carport just to practice switch. It feels completely alien now. lol



  • @readysetawesome Hey, if you read any of my more recent posts, you can see that at last I am able to follow your advice re practicing figure 8's. And you are right, it is a great way to build muscles around the ankles and feet, as well as continuing to get better board feel. Plus it is just a relaxing way to float!



  • 🕺👍 excellent



  • @wheelrich

    So if you haven't found Chris Richardson's videos on YouTube yet, they might also be a help. Video is upside but the info is solid... he's a huge help with very detailed explanations.

    In addition to figure 8's the sidewalk plus sign drill might be great for you.

    I also recommend people start on grass to learn... falls are easier and once you get decent, pavement will seem too easy.

    Chris' video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw1mrKi35kk



  • @skyman88 Thanks, but I found his videos long ago, and have watched many of them. I agree, his details are invaluable . Plus I have watched countless others, as well. The more I ride, the more I know what to look for in videos, so I experiment with different stances, etc. I also have been using the Onetail+. It has been some help...I wouldn't say it was a major difference. And I really don't make use of the extra length. I am waiting for the new version of the Cobra pad to deliver. I think it will be even better.

    As far as learning on grass...I started that way and it was terrible. I abandoned it to learn on smooth paved surfaces. The only advantage to grass, for me, was that it is softer to fall on. But I have only had one real fall...and it was on grass, because of grass. However, now I am to the point where I do want to start learning to ride grass as well as I can ride cement or pavement. My balance is much better, and my feet and ankles are stronger and more flexible. So I can now adjust to the constant surface change better on grass, than I could in the beginning.

    Thanks for the feedback.



  • Training Day 4-4 The student becomes the master....NOT!

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: 3+ miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Temp: low to high 80's
    Not New: Again I parked further away and rode the board all the way to and back from the courts, on sidewalks, and parking lot, even past people, all with total control.

    Comments: So what is different this time? A new board! Got another XR so I have 1 to ride, 1 as a backup, AND as a buddy board to invite others to ride with me. So I got my friend Cliff to come along and try OWing for the first time out on the basketball court at the University. Although we were there over 1 1/2 hours, I only got in 3 miles because I was coaching him some of that time. I let him learn on my first XR with the Onetail+ pad and I rode the new board with stock pads. It was a bit strange to go back to a standard pad after riding the Onetail, but I managed ok. I have a Cobra pad on order and I think I will be using it exclusively when it gets here. But who knows.

    Observations: As I get more comfortable on the board, I am noticing more things. Like, when I do heel side turns I notice that my front toe wants to raise up of the board as I push down on my front heel to make the turn. I have to concentrate to keep it from raising up. I suspect this is why there are so many reports of "unexplained" nosedives from people after they have gained skill on the board. I think some do not notice lifting their front toes on these turns, and deactivate their boards in the process.

    Anyway, between the 2 boards I now have 39 miles of experience. As the weather starts to cool down I hope to raise that to more than 100 in the upcoming weeks. BTW it was fun acting as a coach. Cliff is picking it up pretty fast. If he keeps it up he will catch up to me in no time. Then we can do more riding together. Float on friends!



  • Training Day 4-5

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Board: XR wOnetail+ in Mission
    Distance: 5.1 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves, sidewalks/parking lot
    Duration: 1 hour 9 minutes
    Temp: low to mid 90's/light breeze

    Comments: So back to my Onetail+ board, since I was riding solo today. I did notice it to be a little easier to carve with, but at the same time it seems less stable than the reg surestance pad I rode last time. 2 sides of the same coin, but I prefer the extra control it provides, which I have to constantly use. NEWS flash: A couple minutes ago, I got notice that my Cobra pad has finally shipped! I am looking forward to even more of a curved pad, for better lock in feeling, and more control. I don't think I will miss the extra tail length. I actually don't care for it or use it. If I mount the board with my rear foot too far back, the board tetters up off the ground when I put my weight on it to mount, and I have to move my foot forward until I level off. Then I usually don't bother moving it back when I am riding. Maybe riders with longer legs would find it useful.

    Today, in addition to the usual drill practice, doing turns, etc. I concentrated on using my rear foot more for steering, and bending my rear leg forward a bit. I was conscious of moving my rear leg at the knee to kinda steer and push my lower body forward, while keeping my upper body centered over the wheel. I don't know if I am describing this accurately, but I was trying to follow some tips I saw in a FB video on this subject. It is similar to what SlydogStroh does in his videos, except I did not ride on my rear toe like he does. But, by trying to extend my rear knee bent forward more, then I could move my bent knee joint right or left slightly to help make my turns. Of course I also had to bend both knees more and maintain a more spring-like position. This made riding over any uneven surfaces very easy. I have been doing this, more or less, already, but today I exaggerated it even more, and became much more relaxed on the board, after a sufficient warm up. Now my rear calf is much more sore than usual, so I am sure I was putting in some good effort and developing more muscle memory.

    I wanted to up my 5 mile trip record to 6, but my feet/legs were so tired after all this new stuff, that I was getting the wobbles back a little, and almost lost balance a couple times at the end, so decided it was time to call it a day and wheel back to my Jeep and rehydrate. BTW, last time I tried a shot of "Pickle Juice" before the ride, for cramps. Today I waited until after, and like I said, my rear calf was very sore, almost to the point of a "charlie horse" type cramp. Hopefully, the PJ will do the trick again. (They are big advertisers on the Tour de France, with I watch every year).

    Onward and outward, Floaters!


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