Ever wondered what the difference is between snakeboard, streetboard, and pivotboard?
You could be somebody that’s only just discovering this awesome new hybrid sport. Perhaps you’re a snakeboarder looking at getting back into things after a little while out, or even a streetboarder wanting to find out more about the differences between pivotboard, snakeboard, and streetboard. If so, this article is going to explain everything.
I’ve been riding these boards since 1994 now. I saw Snakeboards for the first time at the Snakeboard World Championships in 1994, and soon afterwards had a professional career in both Snakeboard and Streetboard for over 10 years.
I’m Rick Lowe, founder and CEO of Pivotboard.com.
First of all that there are actually 4 boards, not just 3.
Not Just Three, but FOUR
This article serves the purpose to explain to anyone what the differences are between snakeboard, streetboard, and pivotboard, but there are actually FOUR boards we’re going to look at in this article.
In order of oldest first (based on the age of conception) the boards are, Snakeboard, Alterskate, Pivotboard, and Streetboard. Let’s run through the details of each one.
The Snakeboard Pro
Snakeboard is the OG. The original concept and invention of this type of board.
The Snakeboard was invented by James Fisher and Oliver McLoed-Smith in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1989. These were the first boards ever created.
What started out as pieces of a rollerskate bound together with a piece of pipe, became an overnight success.
The inventors had patented the idea so that nobody else could copy their design, and soon had snakeboards in many countries worldwide. Their head office was in San Diego, California.
Snakeboard International was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The original Snakeboards where injection molded from a thermoplastic material by DuPont, known as Zytel.
Find out more about Snakeboard by reading our article What Happened to Snakeboard?
Alterskate invented their board at almost exactly-the-same-time as Snakeboard. The two companies, Snakeboard and Alterskate, had no idea each other existed at the time.
When James Fisher opened the Snakeboard USA offices in San Diego, California, he soon learned of the Alterskate.
As simple as this story gets, Snakeboard owned a utility patent for their product, and Alterskate did not, therefore Alterskate were not able to produce boards.
Alterskates are now available today, however, and you can buy Alterskate boards from their website right here today, and they would make a great cruiser board for anyone wanting to learn how to move, and for cruising around.
The Alterskate would also make a great addition to anyone’s collection of boards, for historical value.
In the mid 90’s, Michael Ritter was a German entrepreneur that owned and operated Snakeboard Germany. Unlike any of the other Snakeboard distributors (that simply sold and distributed the product), Michael owned the Snakeboard patent for Germany.
Michael’s leverage in ownership of the Snakeboard patent, meant that he had a lot more options than other Snakeboard distributors. Michael wanted to produce his own boards aimed more at the sports market. He used feedback from the top German riders such as Ingo Foehre, Sebastian Hoffman, and others from the Snakeboard Germany team, to design the boards.
Anderson Streetboards USA One
‘Snakeboard’ was the name of the type of the sport, the board, the brand, and also the name of the company. Remember when blader companies had to call their skates ‘Inline Skates’ because ‘Rollerblade’ is a company name? Same thing.
Michael Ritter saw the similarities between the Snakeboard and snowboarding. Both sports use bindings, yetSnowboards are used on snow, and snakeboards are used on the street. Therefore the name for the boards would be ‘streetboards’.
He started the streetboard company ‘Anderson Streetboards USA’. The company produced streetboards only for the German market. The boards were also sold in other countries not covered by the Snakeboard patent.
The great thing about Anderson Streetboards, is that they were able to develop streetboards that the sport riders wanted to ride. They started developing streetboards that were wider in the middle, so that it was easier to do smith grinds, feeble grinds, board slides and more. A longer nose and tail was added, too, which made nose and tail slides possible.
Anderson Streetboards USA Earthquake
The Anderson Earthquake
The Anderson Streetboards ‘Earthquake’ model was the first streetboard to be completely wooden, which was a huge leap towards making boards like we ride today. Board designs developed very quickly towards the wooden platform we all ride now.
Rider owned companies started to produce streetboards after Snakeboard closed down. These companies started developing the boards even further. Dimension Streetboards, a company owned by former world streetboard champion, Brinton Gundersen, was the first ever rider owned company.
Dimension Streetboards Sergi Nicolas Campaign Model
Shortly after Dimension Streetboards started, another rider-owned company started up in the UK, Highland Streetboards, owned by Scottish streetboarder, Neil Thomson.
Highland Streetboards Cartel
After Snakeboard closed, many snakeboarders switched to streetboards.
Streetboard is now made up of several rider-owned companies. The biggest countries for streetboarding today, are the UK, Spain, and Germany.
Gazpacho Streetboards Coconuts
Streetboards are very heavy in comparison to the original snakeboards. They’re lighter today than the Anderson Streetboards, but still have a long way to go towards making them lighter.
When I first saw Snakeboards in 1994, I didn’t like the name.
Snakeboard sounded too childish, and too way much like a toy. I couldn’t see anyone taking the name ‘Snakeboard’ seriously as a sport.
For a few days I thought about what I would’ve called Snakeboard if I’d invented it, and after a few days of thinking, I came up with the name Pivotboard.
The name Pivotboard was simple, and it made more sense to me than snakeboard. The board has two pivoting points, so it’s good identifier for the product, so it made a lot more sense than anything else to me.
So back then in 1994 at the grand-old-age of 19, I created the word ‘pivotboard’.
For many years this word just rolling around in my head, even thought I had always thought it would be a cool name for the boards.
In May 2005, I registered the domain Pivotboard.com to use as a magazine site for streetboarding. I thought it would be cool for the name to be involved in the sport somewhere.
A great friend of mine, Pipo Grosso from Buenos Aires, Argentina, believed in the word pivotboard, and had started a new board company, Grosso Pivotboards.
Grosso Pivotboards Phi
Pipo made the most amazing boards. They were so new, they were very fresh and exciting. I started riding Grosso Pivotboards and they were absolutely the best boards ever made. It felt so awesome and so innovative. New board designs were being created regularly, and Grosso Pivotboards were really experimenting. It was awesome!
Unfortunately, something went wrong on the business side somewhere, meaning Grosso Pivotboards are tragically, no longer around.
I had been SO happy riding Pipo’s boards, and didn’t want to go back to riding streetboards again.
Grosso Pivotboards Roots
After things felt so right with Grosso Pivotboards, it sucked that they weren’t around anymore, and there was a giant void in the sport.
A Tough Decision
In 2006, I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
I wanted to continue to ride boards that were pushing the boundaries of the sport, and felt that the only thing for me to do so, was to leave streetboards behind completely.
I decided to never ride a streetboard again.
Doing so would force me to become more creative, and learn to make the boards I wanted to skate. I would finally be able to get excited and creative with my own project. It was time to make my own boards, and I would call them pivotboards.
This was not an easy decision to make, considering there was nothing for me to ride at the time. I had to make it.
Essentially, I was turning my back on a big part of a sport that I absolutely love with every fiber of my being. I felt deep down that I wanted to make much better boards, and the only way to do that would be to start over, completely from scratch.
It was a very difficult decision to make, and I don’t believe many of the people involved in streetboard understood it. I believe people out there seem possibly angry at me for leaving things behind.
Don’t Look Back in Anger
To me, leaving streetboard wasn’t about anger, or leaving anything at all. It was a way of stepping forwards into something a lot more positive, and following my heart. I had an absolute goal, and a vision of better things to come. It was about progress, and being focused on the positive only.
It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I was able to focus on the positive aspects in development and testing, completely re-designing boards from the ground up. I wanted to ride something lighter, better designed, and stronger.
White Boards Bar
I started with the bar, then the pivot, then the footplates, and more. Every day I have something to look forwards to, in the new boards I have been developing.
I wanted to have a company that’s constantly trying to push the possibilities and capabilities of the board forwards, and making things grow.
This didn’t come at all easily.
It took me around 10 years of designing and testing to get a board together I was happy with.
The results of the experimentation were some amazing designs. Pivotboard.com’s White Boards are the newest, most advanced boards available today. The latest model ‘The Third Wave’, is the result of years of trial-and-error tests.
Pivotboard.com White Boards Third Wave
Pivotboard.com stand at the forefront of design, constantly test out new ideas, shapes, materials, etc. Pivotboards are lighter, stronger, and better performing in every way possible.
Pivotboards are a whole new animal. They are extremely responsive, and feel solid when riding them.
So the difference between Snakeboard, Streetboard and Pivotboard, is as follows;
Snakeboard is the original company that made these boards. They were the original inventors. Think plastic boards, terribly cheesy promotions, and 90’s music.
Similar companies in other industries would be Razor (scooters), and Rollerblade (inline skates).
Streetboard is the name created by Michael Ritter, from Snakeboard Germany, to call his boards, as snakeboard was a brand name.
Anderson Streetboards USA took snakeboards and developed the product into a much better sports oriented board you could do more tricks on. They played a major part in the development of this sport. Their boards paved the way for todays boards.
Pivotboards are the latest in design, and are the newest boards. They are completely reinvented, with the latest designs.
Our pivotboards are 100% hand made in California, USA.