Yeah, I kept seeing it announced, too… …but it would yet again disappear into obscurity. So many times we wanted to believe the Alterskate ACTUALLY WAS coming back.
This sport always needs as many people and companies involved in it, as we can get. So, hearing ANYTHING about ANYONE getting more involved in pivotboard gets me excited.
Alterskate is Back!
When I kept reading about and seeing the occasional glimpse that the Alterskate was coming back, I was hoping it would be true.
The great thing is, that my hopes have not gone to waste this time. Alterskate is INDEED coming back… …for REAL this time (hopefully)!
For those of you that haven’t hear of Alterskate yet, allow me to explain what they are.
It’s Kinda like a Snakeboard, but the Footplates Turn all the way Around
For want of a better phrase, Alterskate was the red-headed stepchild of the Snakeboard. I say that jokingly, but the whole thing really wasn’t funny at all. The Alterskate was a victim of extremely unfortunate circumstances, pardon the pun.
The Alterskate and the Snakeboard were created almost at the same time, but on opposite sides of the world.
- The Snakeboard was invented by James Fisher and Oliver Mcleod-Smith, in South Africa, in 1989.
- Jon Feibing created the alterskate in 1994 in San Diego, CA.
If you know your Snakeboard history, you’ll know this was when the first ever Snakeboard World Championships happened, in Guernsey.
To be fair, this was a VERY LONG time before the internet happened.
The Original Alterskate from 1994
As far as Jon Feibing knew, he had invented a totally brand-new product. It wasn’t as easy to research things back then, and the Snakeboard hadn’t fully broken out into the USA just yet.
Inevitably, Snakeboard eventually learned about the Alterskate, as both companies were based in San Diego, CA.
And Snakeboard were NOT happy.
Snakeboard’s Big Mistake
Snakeboard had a patent for their invention in the USA and most other countries.
The company was being ran by older businessman that were marketing the Snakeboard as a toy. This approach often disappointed the inventors of the Snakeboard, who always thought it should’ve been marketed as a sport.
Snakeboard forced Alterskate to stop manufacturing boards.
I understand Snakeboard’s motives behind this move. But, it was a huge mistake for Snakeboard to stop other companies like Alterskate, from producing boards.
Snakeboard would’ve been smarter to just license Alterskate to produce boards.
The REALLY tragic and stupid part about this, is that Snakeboard only realized this when it was already too late.
How Streetboard Happened
In 1997, Michael Ritter of Snakeboard Germany forced Snakeboard USA to allow him to make his own brand of snakeboards.
It was agreed with Snakeboard, that boards produced by Michael Ritter would be allowed to be known as ‘streetboards’ (so that’s how THAT big mess started). Snakeboard was a brand name, so they didn’t want anyone to use that as a name for the sport.
It was ridiculous, and only shows even more, the lack of foresight Snakeboard had as a company.
But in 1997, it was already too late for Alterskate. Snakeboard had already ruined the relationship between the two brands, and it was over.
To my knowledge, Snakeboard USA didn’t even try to find Jon Feibing to figure this out. They also had RIDICULOUSLY HIGH minimum investment demands on any companies wanting to get involved.
Snakeboard were determined to strangle every dime out of their product. And at the same time, strangle the shit out of the sport at every given opportunity.
The Evil Snakeboard Patent
If had Snakeboard allowed Alterskate to manufacture under license and allowed many other board brands to do the same thing, we would be in a different position today.
The Snakeboard patent was the bane of the existence for this sport. It was pure evil, and its influence is still felt today.
Even when Dimension Streetboards bought the patent from MV Sports, many promises were broken. The ‘my precious’ business and bullshit cycle continued.
My Precious Snakeboard Patent
Dimension Streetboards had investment criteria for any people wanting to invest in this sport, that they MUST have at least $100,000.00 to invest in the sport, or they wouldn’t allow licensing.
It would’ve been more beneficial to the sport, had they just allowed anyone to manufacture boards, and help the sport grow, but they wanted THEIR cut more.
This greed-based mentality made it VERY difficult for almost any skaters to start their own brands.
What pivotboard skaters have $100,000.00 lying around to start a company with? It was ridiculous!
As usual, greed and selfishness prevented creativity and growth. This actually led to at least one company failing.
Only when the Snakeboard patent FINALLY expired in 2009, did logic EVER prevail.
In 2009, our sport was finally freed from all that bullshit forever.
Wait a minute, though, I’m missing a pretty important part of the story… …not many people remember that if it wasn’t for Alterskate, Dimension Streetboards would probably NEVER have existed at all.
The Alterskate / Dimension Streetboards Connection
Josh Mick, the pivotboard skater that founded Dimension Streetboard with Brinton Gundersen, was in fact an Alterskater. Yes, that’s the word they used to use (the 90’s was a VERY confusing time).
Josh wasn’t just okay, either. He KICKED a metric fuck-ton of ass on an Alterskate!
Josh Mick of Dimension Streetboards, mid 90’s, San Diego, CA
I have no idea how anyone can do airs with just little skyhooks to hold your feet to the board, but Josh was mind-blowingly good on the Alterskate.
If I could find the old photo of Josh doing a frontside judo air, I would post it here. Josh Mick totally ruled the world on an Alterskate and blew my mind as to what was possible on these things.
Josh Mick with more Mid 90’s Magic
Anyhow, back on with the articles about the comeback of the Alterskate.
Freedom for Alterskate, and Pivotboard
Now, since the Snakeboard patent expired, we’re free to do whatever we want.
Anyone can produce boards, call them what they want, sell them however they want, and do amazing, creative things.
There are no more rules about how much money you should have, who should distribute your boards, what you MUST call them (yeah, that shit is STILL happening today, too).
It’s liberating. I’ve enjoyed every second of it.
Our sport was held a prisoner for 25 years from 1989 to 2009, but now, everything is awesome.
So, everything is awesome, Alterskate’s coming back, and I’ll have their boards for sale in the Pivotboard.com store, VERY soon.
Alterskate have a Kickstarter.com campaign running as we speak, which is ALREADY almost fully funded.
If you want to get your hands on one of the very first Alterskate boards, head over to their campaign page, HERE, and grab one at an introductory rate.
You’ll be one of the very first people to grab one and making pivotboard history at the same time.
HERE’S A LINK FOR YOU TO SUPPORT THEM, AND GET YOURSELF AN ALTERSKATE:
Please support them, I will be, and hope they smash their target for funding, which it already looks like they will.
Now, go skate.