Surfer, shaper, stand up paddler, and inventor of the Precision Shaper machine, Mike Ewaliko has absolutely wowed us with the release of his latest innovation, the Skupboard KingSting land surfer. The KingSting is fifty inches long, 16 ½ inches wide, full nose, stinger tail, and a truck configuration that cuts harder than any traditional skateboard we've found. In fact, to see if our excitement was just hype, we went to the biggest skateboard outlet we could find and bought the most nimble looking longboard-skateboard we could find, then took that board and the Skupboard KingSting head-to-head for a 3-5 hours a day for a week. Our excitement wasn't hype. The Skupboard outperformed the shortboard hands-down. In this review we'll look at the design, performance, and training aspects of the Skupboard KingSting.
The Shape: The KingSting is the biggest board on wheels you have even seen. It's 4' 2” tall and 16.5” wide with a full nose and stinger tail. The deck is a super durable 12 ply deck that we piled three people on with no problem at all. The trucks are unique with a traditional rear truck and a rotating front truck mounted on risers that allow an unbelievably tight turning radius and loose nose. The stock wheels that came on our board were 70mm diameter wheels and ABEC 7 bearings.
The Performance: The board rides like a surfboard, not a skateboard. The length and width of the Skupboard allows for natural surfing and stand up paddle stances. Place your feet where you would normally place them on your surfboard or stand up paddle board and go. For turning, adjust your feet to where you would normally place them when you initiate a hack off the top of a wave or an explosive turn off the bottom of a wave and the board performs like magic. The width of the board allows the rider to shift his or her feet to the rail, edge, of the board for hard cutting turns.
The size of the board combined with a unique truck configuration feels like surfing on water. Traditional skateboard trucks allow the truck to rotate basically along one axis with the side to side motion limited by stiffness or softness of the bushings (the little rubber things in skateboard trucks). The truck on the front of the Skupboard actually rotates from side to allowing an unbelievably tight turning radius, even tighter than the smallest skateboard with the loosest trucks we could find. The Skupboard can also literally be pumped up slight inclines with the wheels never leaving the ground.
As was previously mentioned, the rotating front truck makes the nose of the Skupboard loose, similar to the loose nose of a stand up paddle board or regular surfboard. The rear trucks are traditional and straight just like the set fins on a surfboard, and the nose is loose.
The Skupboard Kingsting allows for true cross-stepping and noseriding. Get a little speed, do a front-side turn, then grab rail and do a back-side turn to set it up, and cross-step to the nose and soul-arch for a true street surfing noseride with 5 or 10 toes over the nose. Then, cross step back to the tail and cruise. Yes, you can ride this board barefoot. You can believe it or not, but we were able to hang-10 and pump the board off the nose up a slight incline.
For stand up paddle training, it's what many have been waiting for. Combined with a stand up paddle skating stick such as the Kahuna Big Stick, the Skupboard KingSting is an excellent stand up paddle trainer. The width of the board allows for a natural flat water stand up paddling stance as opposed to the in-line stance needed when riding a skateboard. With a wide platform and wide stand up paddle stance, now you can truly train for stand up paddling on dry land.
How does the board handle going downhill? The board was not made for bombing steep hills, however, we did take the board several times down long 4 mile downhill stretch of road. It was pure fun. Given how sharp the board can turn, controlling speed was never an issue and the board was stable and even powered through one or two spots with light gravel in the road.
Will it increase surfing performance? The two riders who spent the most time on the Skupboard during a week of no surf, one a prone-paddle surfer, and the other a stand up paddler, both agree that when the surf came up again, they were better surfers than they were the week before.
In conclusion, the Skupboard KingSting is a blast. It's configured for high performance land surfing and stand up paddling, and is easy enough for anyone to get on. Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine associate editor, Bill Ward, hadn't ridden a skateboard in 20 years, and he jumped up on the Skupboard and was pumping down the road, no problem. Editor, Nate Burgoyne, put his 2 year old daughter on the front and cruised to the beach, no problem. Then his 7 year old daughter got hooked on it. Finally, his wife got on the Skupboard, and Nate couldn't get it back. On the fun scale of 1-10, it's definitely a 20.
For more information about Skupboards and to get yours for the holidays visit: www.skupboard.com
In Hawaii visit www.skupboardhawaii.com .
More Skupboard YouTube videos here .