Alterskate: An alternative way to skate
If you were lucky enough to own an Alterskate in the 1990s you'll instantly recognize the smooth swivel board motion that allows you to propel yourself uphill and carve on the way down. Alterskates were popular in San Diego in the early 90s, but were never made widely available. The 25 year old board has been redesigned and significantly improved. The goal of this project is to kickstart manufacturing and make Alterskates available to people who want to ride again, people who want to ride for the first time, and people who want to share their love of Alterskating with their kids and friends.
What's an Alterskate?
Alterskating is an alternative board sport that uses trucks attached to rotating disks instead of traditional fixed skateboard trucks. The board is propelled by a smooth snake-like swivel motion. Your feet mount on disks that rotate with the trucks and wheels. Since you can propel yourself forward by the alternating swivel motion on the disks, there's no need to bring your feet off the board to push -- they stay planted on the disks for steering and control. The A-hooks allow you to jump and pull the board into the air.
Alterskates cruise smoothly on flat surfaces, but also ride great at skateparks, on hills, or anywhere else with decent pavement. It's a versatile board that you can ride uphill to your friend's house, jump off ramps, grind rails, then carve the hill home. Check out the video for inspiration.
Get your kids outside and moving!
Kids who try alterskating are hooked within just a few minutes... they love it! It's inspiring to watch a kid jump on an alterskate barely able to move at first, and resolve to conquer it by practicing hard. As they learn to ride they build strength, confidence, and satisfaction for learning a new skill. Once they learn, it's like riding a bike and they'll never forget. If you're getting a board for someone less that 5 feet tall, ask about our shorter 26.5" board.
Alterskate: Since 1994, reborn in 2019
The original Alterskate was created by Jon Fiebing in 1994 in San Diego, CA. The smooth self-propelling motion became popular as an alternative to the classic skateboard and several thousand Alterskates were sold. Lance was in 6th grade when his friend Jeff showed him his Alterskate and let him ride it. Within a few minutes, he was hooked. They rode it up and down the boardwalk in Pacific Beach that summer. Lance got his first Alterskate a few months later and after 25 years he's still riding the same board.
Lance and Shane and I grew up together in San Diego. They both rode Alterskates as kids along with a lot of the people they went to school with. About a year ago, Shane went to ask about getting new boards and found that they weren't available anymore. With approval from the Alterskate founders, they worked out a deal to bring back a new and improved Alterskate. The goal is to share their love for Alterskating by making it available to everyone.
Board Construction - Improving the parts
Trucks - The original Alterskate trucks were built by cutting a piece of U-Shaped aluminum and placing a steel axle through it. It was an ingenious solution to get the boards built quickly, but left room for improvement. The new trucks are made with a super strong Grade 8 steel axle overmolded with gravity-cast aluminum. After casting, they're hardened to T6 specifications and nickel-plated for shine and corrosion resistance. These trucks are going to last a lifetime.
Decks - The decks and disks are strong 9-ply birch plywood that's approximately 0.5 inches thick. They're laser-engraved and painted on top with the Alterskate decal. The deck is 28.5 inches long, and also available in 26.5" by special request. All wood is finished with an industrial-grade polyurethane based coating for durability. The water repellent finish and UV inhibitors will protect the decks from the sun and water over time. An optional etched decal is available for bottom side.
Hooks - The hooks are plastic-injection molded into the shape of an A using a sports-grade durable material. They fit nicely over your shoes and give you more control and stability on the board, also allowing you to jump on/over obstacles. We have some hooks left from a test run, but will need to have a new mold created so we can continue to produce them.
Hardware - The number of mounting holes for each truck/disk has been increased from 3 to 4. The hardware is finished with a corrosion-resistant black color. Together with the black hooks and black decals, it looks really sleek.
Optional Deck logo
The base Alterskate ships with a blank bottom deck. However, the "Moonlight Beach Sunset" decal is available as an optional Kickstarter reward. Moonlight Beach is a popular beach near the birthplace of Alterskate in San Diego, and its iconic 'lonely palm' is instantly recognizable from the overlooking bluffs. The design is laser-etched into the bottom deck and sealed to make it durable. We hope to make more customization available in the future!
Customization - Make your Alterskate your own
Board customization has always been part of the Alterskate culture. The board comes looking good and ready to ride right out of the box, but feel free paint your board a different color, add custom artwork, change the wheels, or experiment with other modifications. If you goof and need to replace something, we'll get you riding again with spare parts from the Alterskate garage.
Made in the USA
Alterskates are made at our shop in Tucson, Arizona. Below are photos of the local carpentry and machine shops that we've been working with, both local to Arizona as well.
Risks and challenges
We need at least $6000 to do an economical manufacturing run of Alterskate parts. The trucks are custom designed parts that we can't buy off-the-shelf. They are made by overmolding a steel axle with cast aluminum. This makes them super strong and unique. If we run into problems with the mold or sourcing the trucks, it could cause project delays. However, we've already done a small test run of trucks that turned out great so the risk of delay is small.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)