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The T Board: Surfing's Cool Cousin

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Surfing's Dilema

The question arose: How can a surfer truly train for surfing when it's flat? Working out keeps the body strong, but it doesn't zero in on those specific surf muscles that only get used when riding a wave. There are no activities that truly mimic surfing. Skateboarding is close, but it lacks the on-rail carving sensation. So what are surfers to do?
When skateboarding, you are using your balance and leg strength but not necessarily the right weight distribution (front to back, side to side) to keep your surf muscles properly sharpened and loose. I remember skateboarding all summer when the surf was flat only to have to re-train myself to push my surfboard on-rail and place more weight on the tail while cutting back or bottom turning.

The T Board

The T Board is an interesting addition to the boarding family. It's not a skateboard although it looks like one. Instead of four wheels, the T-Board has only two, which come in rubber for downhill or urethane for flat ground, and are attached to the board’s bottom via two large metal trucks. According to the manufacturer, the torsion cushion (a rubber bumper that pads the movement or the trucks) is the secret to the T Board's surf-like feeling. The deck itself looks like a skateboard deck, is constructed of 8-ply Canadian maple, and ranges in length from 38 to 41 inches (depending on your riding preferences).

The T Board is currently marketed as a snowboarder training device, but I feel that it could also prove to be a functional training tool for surfers as well.

The T-Ride

It didn’t take me long to figure this baby out. In fact, after one push I was cruising confidently. However, I could see the possibility of some ankle tweakage if the rider isn't careful since it takes constant balance (like surfing). Without forward momentum, the board will fall over much like riding a bicycle. However, it seems that anyone who is a semi-competent surfer, snowboarder, or skateboarder could quickly get carving on the T-Board.

Immediately, the carving sensation was evident, and each turn was more of a rush than the last.

When riding the t-Board, all the principles of surfing applied in that I had to keep all my weight on the center point and in order to turn, I had to actually lean on rail to complete my turns. This board easily exhibits the feelings of bottom turns, roundhouse cutbacks, and speed carves.

Straight Talk

The T Board is a lot of fun. I personally was not able to pull the flat ground tricks shown on the Tierney Rides website, but I loved generating speed and throwing carves. The real magic happens when you go downhill.
Here, I found that there was very free and surf-like flow. I spun out a bit on my more committed turns, but I was riding on the urethane wheels (for flat ground), so that's understandable. As stated previously, Tierney Rides offers rubber wheels specially designed for downhill. Interestingly, the T-Board doesn't get the same speed wobbles that plague skateboards.

For the Record

I urge you to never ride a T-Board in flip-flops; Never! I was showing some fellow surfers my board when I got all tripped up in my "rubbah slippahs" and ate some black top. To quote one observer's opinion, I think flip flops were a bad idea. I agree.

Again, I wouldn't reccommend this either, but another fun T-Board experience can be found behind a car. I grabbed a rope tied to my neighbor's jeep and went for a spin around the hood. It was like wakeboarding as I carved from one side of the street to the other.

The Bottomline

In retrospect, I might have put a little too much in to this review. I rode the T-Board on flat ground, down a bridge in evening traffic, behind a jeep, and even gave a little blood sacrifice to the pavement god. All in all, I had a blast and would recommend the T-Board as a fun and functional way to slake your surf lust and keep those hard-to-target wave riding muscles strong and loose.

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