We've seen composite skateboard decks, like Hydroflex's honeycomb rig before, but the Gridboard takes composite construction to a new level. Looking like it was cut from the side of a plastic milk crate, the award-winning cruiser board features skeletal carbon fiber construction meant to save weight and add distinct ride characteristics. Riders that don't have proper hills for propelling the board can turn to a sister design for help: the ePaddle motorized land paddle helps any rider accelerate to high speeds.
Typically just building a board out of carbon fiber would be enough of a weight-savings maneuver for a design team, but the folks at Munich-based HYVE Innovation Design went one better. The firm designed a skeletal deck inspired by organic elements like insect wings and leaves. In doing so, it left a bunch of material behind for a claimed weight savings.
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Unfortunately, HYVE doesn't list an actual weight for the 39-in (100-cm) deck and didn't have one to offer when we contacted it for clarification. It told us that the current prototypes weigh more than the expected weight of the series production models because extra resin was used in creating them. Still, we feel like it should at least have a weight estimate if it's going to go to crowdfunding with claims that its board is lighter than the competition.
Outside of the low weight question mark, HYVE says the lattice design adds flex, which seems sure to give the board a unique ride quite unlike a typical wood longboard deck. It also mentions that the board can be constructed in a variety of grid patterns for a more custom look. The Gridboard won a Silver Award at Munich's Materialica materials fair last year.
HYVE is currently offering the Gridboard on Indiegogo for pledge levels starting at €250 (US$272) for the deck alone and €389 ($423) for a full setup. If things go according to plan, it will begin shipping Indiegogo orders in June.
If you're fearing that such a light, Swiss cheese deck might lose some speed on downhills, fear not; another HYVE prototype can provide help in the acceleration department. The ePaddle is a stand-up paddle for longboarding, and unlike other land paddles, this one has an electric-powered wheel built in to send you accelerating to speeds up to 25 mph (40 km/h). The paddle has a thumb button throttle built into its handle, and can be operated with one or both hands.
HYVE is testing the ePaddle with the Gridboard, but the paddle won't have to be used exclusively with HYVE's board. It's easy to see how it would be fun with all types of longboards, skateboards, inline skates, etc. The ePaddle is still in the prototype stages, and Hyve didn't have an estimated release date to share. Perhaps it will show up on Indiegogo in the future. You can watch it in action in the video below.