Freebord

Freebord vs Skateboard

By January 22, 2015 No Comments

Freebord vs Skateboard

Humbling Beginnings

Freebord was started in 1996 by Steen Strand in Palo Alto, CA, while studying for his master’s in product design at Stanford University. Steen didn’t just stumble on to the idea by slapping caster wheels on a skateboard. He set out from the beginning to find a way to replicate snowboarding, and began developing prototypes of various concepts and configurations. After finally dialing it in, he patented his design and began assembling and selling the first “Alpha” Freebords in 1997 out of his garage in San Francisco, CA.

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Trucks & Wheels

Unlike a skateboard, Freebords have six wheels: Four outside edge wheels and two caster (center) wheels located in the middle of the trucks.

Freebord Base

The center wheels act as the base of a snowboard. They are slightly lower than the outer edge wheels and can rotate 360°, creating whats known as rocker. This rocker is what gives riders the ability to slide laterally (like a snowboard) much easier than a longboard.*  The outside edge wheels allow you to carve turns and control slides the same way as the edges of a snowboard.

Leaning into turns and slides, Freebord riders are able to modulate how much of their weight is on their base (center wheels) and edges (outer wheels), and enjoy the full spectrum of carving, sliding, drifting, spinning and slashing motions possible on a snowboard.

 

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**So how is sliding a freebord different than longboard sliding?

Sliding a skateboard or longboard requires forcing the wheels out of a normal turn, similar to skidding a car. Freebords allow the rider to distribute their weight to one “edge” at a time, just like snowboarding. This allows for a greater variety of slides as they are integrated into the turns and can be done at any speed in any direction.

 Bindings

Located on the top of the board are two polycarbonate bindings with metal bases that allow the rider to adjust their individual stances. Freebord bindings serve the same purpose as snowboard bindings by giving the rider more control and leverage over the board. The biggest difference is that riders are not strapped into these bindings, so you can step on and off the bord as needed.

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Fun Fact: Freebords didn’t always have bindings.  They were added when a rider who had lost his leg to cancer wanted to ride, so he slapped some skyhooks on and the rest is history. That rider was Tim Seward.  

 

 

Decks

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Freebord decks are also quite different from your average skateboard deck.

  • Freebords were designed for downhill riding, so they aren’t ideal for flatland riding, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
  • Due to the extra degree of freedom and similarity to snowboarding, Freebords have a much higher learning curve than a normal skateboard.
  • It’s obviously not snow, so falls aren’t as forgiving, but unlike snowboarding, you at least have the ability to jump off the bord if you need to.

Control

Imagine every run is now a snowboard run, having complete control opens up a new world of possibilities.  This unique freedom lets you choose lines you’ve only ever dreamed about.

Cons

  • Freebords were designed for downhill riding, so they aren’t ideal for flatland riding, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
  • Due to the similarity to snowboarding, Freebords have a much higher learning curve than a normal skateboard.
  • It’s obviously not snow, so falls aren’t as forgiving, but unlike snowboarding, you at least have the ability to jump off the bord if you need to.

 

Pros

 

Happy shredding!

 

This post originally ran on Freebord.com. Comments can be seen there. 

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