Hoverboards become alternate commute to FGCU campus
Popular among familiar faces on YouTube and Vine in segments on laziness, hoverboards are beginning to find their way into the lives of college students. Although the use of these self-balancing scooters was recently banned from public pavements in the U.K., there have been no regulations passed in the U.S. So, for now, students are free to hover around campus, and some already do.
The most common time to see these hoverboards in action on campus is between classes, especially before 8 a.m. classes Monday mornings, hence the online attention for that specific event.
Cameron Thomas, a junior communication major, enjoys taking his hoverboard to class. He said it’s a convenient method of transportation when someone’s lazy and doesn’t want to walk or just wants to have a more fun way of getting around campus.
“The convenience is also for short-distance traveling — like, taking the trash out for instance, going from class to class or for fun when you don’t want to walk,” Thomas said. “You could compare it to a skateboard or scooter as far as the use of it, or even a Segway.”
Thomas supports the common claim that mastering the technique is probably as easy as walking.
“Basically it is the same thing as a Segway, but without the handle bars,” Thomas said. “To go forward, you lean both feet forward, and you lean back to go backward. To turn right, you lean on your left and vice versa to turn left. It takes about five minutes to learn to ride or maybe shorter if you have good balance.”
The original boards are called PhunkeeDuck and cost $1,500. However, there is no patent for the boards, so many different companies started making them and are charging lower prices.
“Mine was $330, but the prices range from about $200 all the way to $1,500,” Thomas said. “Of course, the cheaper you go, the quality would be cheaper as well. The main use is to have fun rather than transportation, even though it is a good way to get around and a good alternative to a skateboard.”
Reviews for the original PhunkeeDuck boards on hoverreviews.com stated that the board is two stars in price, five stars in build quality, four stars in charging time (two to three hours max), four stars in endurance, four stars in weight (18 pounds) and five stars in “fun factor.” According to the website, it can “cruise along at a comfortable 12 miles per hour for a total of 10 miles before it has to be recharged.”
Drew Revitzer, a sophomore biology major, offered his two cents on the subject. “For me it is quick, fun, easy and a unique mode of transportation around campus,” Revitzer said. “You don’t see many of them. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to learn how to ride it, in my opinion. Once you get your balance on it, everything else feels natural. It is actually a great calf workout.”
Revitzer said he paid a reasonable amount for his board like Thomas.
“Yes, there are ads — and they are real — where you can buy them directly from the manufacturer for whatever price they are asking for, but shipping is a bit costly as well.”
Before going out and purchasing a piece of the future, Revitzer advises to “ride one before you buy one. You’ll either love it or hate it.”