Despite skateboarding's growth in popularity over the past few decades, there is always scope to tinker around with the equipment in an effort to make it better. The latest such design is the Swing Blade, a skateboard that uses rotating front trucks to create quick, tight turns and forward momentum.
The Swing Blade is a combination of the traditional skateboard and more active-body designs like the snakeboard or caster board. In fact, the seed for the board was planted in designer Dennis Wells' head when he was watching two children skate in front of his house, one on a traditional skateboard and one on a Razor Ripstik caster board. Wells combined the general styles, equipping a single-piece deck with a new truck system designed for a snake-like zig-zagging motion.
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Underneath its fish-shaped deck, the Swing Blade has a traditional truck on its rear but a unique front set-up with two tall, thin wheels mounted to individual rotating trucks. The rotation of the front wheels powers sharp, quick carves that can be strung together into forward momentum, allowing the rider to roll over flats and muscle up hills without ever touching his soles to the ground. The trucks are adjustable for standard, longboard and "extreme" riding.
The video below shows a rider carving vigorously just to get up the small hill pictured above, suggesting that he may have been better off just pushing off with his foot … or getting off, throwing the board under his arm and walking. The footage later in the video does make Swing Boarding look like a fun way of building up speed and carving sharply on flat, smooth terrain, though.
We've seen enough alternative, free-flowing skateboard designs in the past – the Lean Board, Stair-Rover and Waveskate are a few of the most recent – to be a little skeptical of Dennis Wells' claim that Swing Blade will become a household name. Still, the design looks straightforward and fun enough to gain its own following, appealing to people that want the motion of a snakeboard on a more solid deck.
Wells is working to raise US$7,000 in production funding on Kickstarter. He's offering the skateboard in a $300 package with a T-shirt, coffee mug and a few other throw-ins. If things go according to plan, the boards will start shipping in September 2015.