Neil completes all the entries for the #harfangatang wheels. He reviews a DIY Bo Landpaddle.
Hello SkateFurther my name is Neil Hayler and my review is for something that has been the saving grace for my long distance pushing and might help others.
About five years ago I suffered a dvt or blood clot in my push leg calf muscle. After about six months of recovery and looking at my boards wishing I could go for a skate I felt well enough to try for a gentle coastal push and headed off to my local spot but was soon to realise that any further than a mile or so was causing me agony. My doctor then advised me not to skate as the valves in my leg were not working sufficient enough anymore for that sort of exercise. I was destroyed because longboarding was my passion in life a get away from all the crappy stuff .
Call it fate or divine intervention but on my one last try at longboarding I met up with a local stand up paddle boarder and longboarder Mike Rig. He had read an article from America about landpaddles and had made himself a push pole from a martial arts bo staff to use with his longboard as he has ankle trouble and although landpaddles had probably been around a while in the states, the UK is always a little slow to catch on so you couldn’t purchase these poles from any store.
B staffs are made or grown from rattan, a sort of palm bamboo plant that grows in Africa and Asia. It can be brought in different grades of flexibility and is ultra strong, you would struggle to break it. Like bamboo it is very lightweight so not a huge problem if you’re trying to keep you kit weight down.
The one he made for me is 182.8 centimetres long and has been machine turned at one end to accommodate a T grip handle from a canoe paddle. On the foot end he has put a large dogs ball made by a company called Kong – they are the strongest on the market and come with a pre-drilled hole that usually accommodates a piece of rope. He had to open the hole up a little bit to wedge the pole into it but it has never fallen off and has lasted for over two years of pushing by pole so far.
The really great thing about it is what I call the ‘pre load’ – when you push the pole down onto the ground and really flex it hard then push off, you get a pole vault effect that launches you forward at quite a speed. Do this a couple of times and you’re coasting!
Motorists tend to give you a wider berth as well, not sure why but they do, and if you’re like me quite a social person on your travels, people always want to stop and ask you what you have there – as if the pole itself has brought a new element to what was just skating to them. It’s also useful for nudging dogs out of the way!
The problems I found on long distance were blisters between the thumb and finger, but we overcame this with a foam tube, like the sort that can be purchased for tennis rackets or gloves in the winter. Another problem was planting the pole in front of the wheel – that leads to you eating it big time! Trust me. But overall the benefits outweigh all that.
You can ride up medium size hills with it and after your done for the day you really feel like you have had a full work out. It’s great for your core muscles too, not just your push leg.
But the biggest thing for me, and maybe anyone else who has a few aches, pains or leg fatigue, is you can rest up the legs for a while but keep on pushing…
Neil’s review was the last one entered into the #harfangatang competition. The winner will be announced tomorrow!