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Innovations in Skateboarding

Street Surfing is what they call it. And it's not quite skateboarding, but based on a new skateboard-like technology - a skateboard on two wheels, that flexes in the middle. They like to think of it as a "combination of skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing." Key to all this is a skateboard-like thing called "The Wave." They explain:
"The Wave has front and rear flexible panels that are controlled by a spring-oriented torsion bar. It has only 2 wheels, which are both free to rotate 360 degrees. The Wave is self-propelled by twisting your hips and shoulders back and forth in an S-shape motion."
Yeah. Self-propelled. Which means, like dude, you never have to take your feet off the board! Like never! Even when you're going up hill. A kid (maybe 11) who had just bought one ($129.95 retail) glowingly explained: "I can't even skateboard. But I can do this. And I love it!"

You should most definitely see the videos of The Wave in action. There's a lot of opportunity for exercise, skill and grace. And if you use the Promotional Code 998 you can get a $30 discount, even. No, I don't get any money from this. No, it's not junkyardly nor even junkly. But I do get more than a modicum of joy knowing that someone has come up with yet another invitation to whole-body fun.

Leadership Training, Plastic Bag Bathing Suits, Very Synchronized Swimming, Beach Volleyball and Bowling, Too

Carol Ann Fried writes:
"I thought it was about time I let you know how much fun I'm having with Junkyard Sports.

"I did a gig last nite in Banff, Alberta with 19 managers in a leadership training program for a big insurance company. (Shlepped dozens of plastic grocery bags for them.) They did synchronized swimming (wearing the bags as bathing suits), skipping and basketball.

"This is the third or fourth time I've used Junkyard Sports. My personal favourite was the group that did 6-pin bowling: they made a huge ball with the bags, and the people became the pins. When hit, they'd fall down and of course knock down others in their immediate vicinity. Another good one was beach volleyball; again the bathing suits, and they also constructed a fabulous net.

"Thanks so much for your wonderful inspiration!"
This, you see, this kind of creative, wacky, inspired response to Junkyard Sports, this is the kind of trophy I can put on my mental mantle, and this is my thanks.

Thanks, Carol Ann. Thanks.

Pick up Sticks at Burning Man?

Artist Steven Goodman writes me to let me know he is proposing to develop his own version of Giant Pick-Up Sticks for the 2005 Burning Man celebration.

He plans to make them out of 16-ft' long, painted closet rods. He figures he can do the whole thing for "$784.82 (not including beer)." A wooden version is a bit heavier than I'd recommend - considering the potential impact of falling sticks upon the playful heads of frolicking Pick-uppers. Me, I prefer the cardboard tubes that they wrap carpet around. Steven tells me, however, that it is very windy on the desert, and such weight is necessary for stability and artistic punch.

For further examples of potentially playful Burning Man bemusement, see this list of all the proposals currently submitted.

Baggyball again, Elephant, Giraffe, Big Booty, and living foosball, too.

We got to play Baggyball at the Junkyard Sports training for the City of Cypress (CA) recreation department. Among other games, of course. Like, oddly enough, Elephant, Giraffe (which we played and played until we had, in addition to the elephant and giraffe, a rhinoceros, a cell phone, YMCA, SpongeBob Squarepants, the Three Monkeys, and Charlie's Angels), and Big Booty.

Meanwhile, back to Baggyball, the first thing that became obvious was that it was significantly fun. It was just the kind of game that was clear enough for people to start thinking about making better. Next, there was some reluctance to have "running baskets," so we played with baskets who could move, but were limited to a narrow zone. The "dribbling up" rule, of course, was clearly the only way to play (given the unbouncable nature of the baggyball).

And then there was Living Foosball. Which turned out to be remarkably fun. We only had ten players, so each team had a goalie and two "rods" of two players each. There were implied penalties for "going off rod." The goals had to be widened mid game. Much fun. Much fun in deed.

Unusual World Records

This is an image of an "Unusual World Record" called "The Most People Standing on an Inner Tube." According to Ron Jones, author of Unusual World Records and inventor of The Most People Standing on an Inner Tube, the current record stands, as it were, at 15 people. Knowing that some of the people are "handicapped" or "developmentally disabled" or "challenged" has really nothing at all to do with the, shall we call it, "feat" of Fifteen People Standing on an Inner Tube. It is a record. And to my personal knowledge a world record, unusual though it may be.

Unusual World Records is a rich concept, so similar in spirit to Junkyard Sports that it might as well be part of the same event. Using material like inner tubes, garbage can lids, paper plates and grocery tarps, Unusual World Records beckons the playful, creative spirit, in the manner of Junkyard Sports, enticing people to see things not for what they are, but for what they can become in the hands and minds of players.

Here are a few examples, from the first few pages of the book:

  • Tallest Inner Tube Sandwich (people-filled)
  • Highest Inner Tube Climb
  • Tallest Paper Cup Tower
  • Largest Skateboard
  • First Human Pinball Game


You can order Ron Jones' book directly from the publisher:

Ron Jones
Unusual World Records Headquarters
Dept. HJ-3
1201 Stanyan Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

The cost: $17.50 for one copy, $28.00 for two.

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