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    Fingerboard (skateboard)

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    Underside of a Tech Deck fingerboard including Japanese-style Hook-Ups graphics.

    A Fingerboard or Finger-Skateboard is a skateboard complete with moving wheels, graphics and trucks.[1]the founder of finger boards was Cam Fox Bryant. A fingerboard is 96 millimeters long or longer, and can have a variety of widths like 26mm (regular), 28mm (wide), and 29mm and up (extra wide). There are the 57mm minis and the 96mm regular and the cruiser boards. Skateboarding tricks may be performed using fingers instead of feet. Most tricks done on a fingerboard are the same as people do on skateboards. Lance Mountain helped develop fingerboarding as a hobby in the late 1970s and wrote an article on how to make fingerboards in TransWorld's SKATEboarding magazine in 1985.[1] ≥ Although fingerboarding was a novelty for years, they became a collectible toy as skateboard manufacturers realized the potential for product branding and profit starting in the 1990s. Fingerboards are now available as inexpensive novelty toys as well as high-end collectibles, complete with accessories one would find in use with standard-size skateboards.[2][3][4] Fingerboards are also used by skateboarders as 3-D model visual aids to understand potential tricks and maneuvers;[5] many users make videos to document their efforts.[6][7]

    Similar to fingerboarding, handboarding is a scaled-down version of a skateboard that a user controls with their hands instead of just fingers, while finger snowboarding utilizes a miniature version of a snowboard.

    Contents

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    [edit] History

    Fingerboards were first created as homemade toys in the 1970s and later became a novelty attached to key chains in skate shops (but were also mentioned as a model for a skateboard.)[3] In the 1985 documentary "Future Primitive" a homemade fingerboard was ridden in a sink; some consider this the earliest fingerboard footage available for public viewing. The homemade fingerboard was built from cardboard, coffee stirrers, and Hot Wheels axles.[1] Fingerboards have been a peripheral part of the skateboarding industry since the late 1980s and were originally marketed as keychains.[1] Although barely "rideable," they were improved upon by the Tech Deck brand which mass produced a "rideable" miniature skateboard.[3] The first entertainment licensed fingerboards were introduced by Bratz Toys, released through a Hong Kong-based toy company named Prime Time Toys, and designed by Pangea, the company that helped develop the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line for Playmates Toys. The designs were harnessed from entertainment properties such as "Speed Racer," "Woody Woodpecker," "NASCAR," "Heavy Metal," and "Crash Bandicoot." The licensed boards drove the Tech Deck brand into licensing strong urban brands, rather than simply creating their own designs. In the late 1990s, as fingerboards became more prominent outside the skateboarding community, X-Concepts' Tech Decks licensed "actual pro graphics from major skateboard brands" riding "the 1999 fingerboard wave right into Wal-Mart and other major outlets."[1] In 1999 there was a Tech Deck fashion of collecting one of each design similar to the Beanie Baby fad months prior.[1] Thus, Tech Deck, and its distributors at Spin Master Toys, suddenly found themselves a large market to milk. Entertainment-based fingerboard brands couldn't compete against the urban juggernaut, and eventually disappeared. Other "major players in the skateboard industry" soon followed in hopes of reaping profits as young toy-playing children would choose to take up skateboarding.[1] More modern fingerboards feature "interchangeable wheels and trucks, a fairly accurate scale size, and pad-printed graphics reproduced from the most popular skateboard companies in the business."[1] Many fingerboard companies such as crackerwood provide all manner of fingerboarding accessories including sophisticated and customizable components able to duplicate, in scale-model, the skateboarding experience. They thus developed the fingerboard into a collectible toy and the practice into a "form of mental skating".[3]

    Fingerboarding is popular in Europe and the United States, and there is growing popularity in Eastern Europe.[3][8] Besides skateshops and the internet, Fingaspeak, a fingerboard store opened in Steyr, Austria although rumored to be the worlds first fingerboard store it joins a very small list of fingerboard stores that are available.[3] Although the sport of fingerboarding originated in the United States over 25 years ago it has really caught on fire in the European scene. The United States is following every so slowly and it is estimated that although the popularity seems to be in favor of the Europeans the American Fingerboard scene has much more sales. This may be due to the flooding of the market and the availability of resources in the United States. Fingerboarding has evolved from a hobby to a lifestyle for some people. Fingerboarders have regular "contests, fairs, workshops and other events".[3][1] Fingerboard-product sales were estimated at $120-million for 1999.[1]

    Fingerboarding is a good match for videography as the action can be controlled and framing the activity offers opportunities for creativity.[9] With the rise of the online video business from early 2006,[10] fueled, in part, because the feature that allows e-mailing clips to friends,[11] several thousand finger board and handboard videos can now be found on popular video-sharing sites such as YouTube.[6][7][12] Thus even if the weather does not permit a skateboarder to practice outside they could try a potential trick with their scaled-down fingerboard and related items and share the video with whomever they wished.

    [edit] Usage

    A skateboarder uses his feet to flip a board mid-flight; a fingerboarder would use fingers.
    Skateboard area of NSU-Amorbach II in the town of Neckarsulm, Germany showing young people utilizing a mini ramps and other transition ramps for skateboarding tricks and practicing skills. Fingerboarders create and purchase similar items to duplicate the experience.

    To use a fingerboard one's middle finger goes on the "tail" (back end), and the index finger goes on the middle of the board or vice versa if it does not feel comfortable to ride in the fashion that was previously stated. A variety of innovative tricks from classic, so-called "old-school", to more original and creative maneuvers can be envisioned and done on a small scale either for the enjoyment alone or as a precursor to one's skateboarding experiences where individual style and diversification of tricks is rewarded.[5]

    Fingerboards are used by a range of people from those utilizing them as toys to skateboarding and related sports professionals envisioning not only their own skating maneuvers but for others as well and can include the use for planning out competition courses as skating boarding develops into an international sport. Similar to train enthusiasts building railway models, fingerboard hobbyists often construct and purchase reduced scale model figures that would be considered natural features to an urban skateboarder such as handrails, benches, and stairs they would be likely to encounter while riding. In addition users might build and buy items seen in a skatepark including half-pipes,[13] quarter pipes, trick boxes, vert ramps,[14] pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, and any number of other trick-oriented objects.[15] These objects can be used simply for enjoyment and also to assist the visualization of skateboarding tricks or the "flow" from one trick to the next (or to create "lines"). Fingerboarding events feature some of the latest elaborate models and accessories; many of the manufacturers features photos and videos on their websites.

    [edit] Components

    The underside of a skateboard with the deck, trucks and wheels visible; on a fingerboard these can be identical or more simplified.

    The parts of a fingerboard are: deck, griptape, trucks, bushings, and wheels. The trucks and decks can easily be modified (modding) to reduce weight, improve smoothness or look better. Modding tutorials can be found online. Decks are the major component of a board and where, on a standard skateboard, one would stand. There is a wide variety of decks with material ranging from wood to plastic, to paper. Most commonly, decks are made out of wood, as this gives it more "pop" and a more authentic feel. The average deck will have two kicks - a flared end used for leveraging the board - while some old-school models have only one end flared. Decks traditionally have lower kicks like that of a Berlinwood or a Tech Deck, however, some decks have higher kicks, and if the kicks are very steep, they are referred to as "wall kicks". Griptape is the friction tape adhered to the topside of the deck to enable users to more easily maintain control of the deck. There are many types of griptape. Some use standard skateboard griptape although the griptape may wear out faster on fingerboards as they endure more moisture from sweat and oils from user's hands. There are also softer alternatives and grippy tape which is less harsh on a user's fingers allowing them to fingerboard for longer periods of time. Some users prefer traditionally griptape because it has the advantage of giving the board a more traditional look and feel for a realistic look. Trucks are the structures attached to the bottom of the deck that house the wheels and bushings. Some trucks are all one molded piece while others are scaled-down versions of regular skateboard trucks. As fingerboarding has evolved "collector" and "pro" versions have emerged with some brands shaped using special instruments to make them lighter and look better. Risers are plastic boards that go under the trucks and so raising your fingers so you can ollie(jump)higher. They are not compulsory to a skateboard or fingerboard though. Bushings are pliable material that provide the cushion mechanism for turning a standard skateboard but on a fingerboard help stabilize the trucks thus keeping the wheels in the same position to enable stronger tricks and visual appeal. Collector and "pro" brand bushings are made from many different types of squishy material, usually rubberized plastic or rubber. The wheels can determine how smooth the ride is thus what kind of "flow" a user's ride can be. The professional brands are traditionally made out of a variety of different materials, and have small ball-bearings inside the bearings to enhance the smoothness.

    Tech Deck makes hard plastic skateboards and borrows designs from many well-known skateboard manufacturers, such as Blind, Flip, and Element.[1] They use grip tape, and professional graphics. The stock trucks on Tech Decks are made of die-cast metal and have two separate axles for the wheels to roll on. The wheels are made out of plastic along with the bushings. Some fingerboarders prefer the feel and performance of decks made from wood. Wooden decks can be made from 3-7 plies of a given veneer; maple, walnut, and mahogany being the most popular. All of the hole-drilling and shaping is done by hand or with the aid of a machine, thus the price is higher. A wooden deck from a popular company can have a low to high price range usually depending on the quality of the deck you are going to purchase, prices range from 10 - $52 USD. Wooden fingerboard makers are now offering custom designs- you can chose from their line of graphics or send in your own. The wooden boards come in a variety of widths from 26 - 32mm and concave can vary greatly from maker to maker. Some companies offer even more customization options such as the choosing of the plies used to go into the deck, as well as the width/length of the deck Along with wooden decks, advanced fingerboarder's also tend to prefer bearing wheels to plastic. Bearing wheels can be made from a range of materials such as teflon, urethane, silicon, and fiberglass. The wheels are usually put into a lathe to ensure the best shape. Once the wheels have been readied, bearings are put into place to increase the smoothness of the wheels rolling on the axle. Tuning screws for the wheels cause the wheels to roll more smoothly. Rather than using the stock axles and kingpins that come on Tech Deck trucks, fingerboards use tuning screws and custom kingpins to ensure that wheels and hangars are more properly secured. Board rails can be added to the deck bottom similar to those used on a standard skateboard. Fingerboards made with plastic are sometimes altered by heating the plastic to shape it such as making the kicks higher.

    [edit] Fingersnowboarding and handboards

    Similar to fingerboarding, fingersnowboarding is snowboarding on a small-scale snowboard controlled with one's fingers. In December 1999 the first-ever World Snowboard Fingerboard Championships was held with a cash prize of C$1,000.00.[16] Sponsored by companies such as Gravity Fingerboards, Transworld Snowboarding and Snowboard Life magazines and others the competition featured twenty competitors utilizing a custom "fingerboard snowboard park."[16] Tom Sims, a world champion of snowboarding,[17] ended his run by landing his fingersnowboard into a flaming shotglass of Sambuka; he was treated for minor burns and donated his winning prize to Surfrider Foundation's Snowrider Project and to Board AID.[16] (A photo of the course can be seen [1].

    A chicken on a mini-skateboard, similar to a handboard.

    Handboards, similar to fingerboards, are a scaled-down version of a skateboard roughly half to a third of the size of a standard skateboard (11 inches) and utilizes a person's hands rather than just their fingers to control the board and perform tricks and maneuvers. Handboards, because of their larger size, more closely match details of a standard skateboard. For instance a skateboard truck, the wheel structure, would more likely to match part for part an actual skateboard truck rather than be a cast one-piece construction or otherwise simplified. If a user preferred a particular type of wood or decorative style that could also more easily resemble a full-scale skateboard.

    [edit] See also

    [edit] References

    1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Waters, Mark (2000-03-03). "The Fingerboard Controversy: Are toy-skateboard makers promoting skateboarding or just profiting?". Transworld Business. http://skateboarding.transworld.net/2000/03/03/the-fingerboard-controversy. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
    2. ^ Hocking, Justin; Jeff Knutson, Jared Jacang Maher, Jocko Weyland (2004). " Life and Limb: Skateboarders Write from the Deep End. Soft Skull Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=BxFdbXUDGt0C&dq=%22fingerboard%22+ng". Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    3. ^ a b c d e f g "About Fingerboarding". Blackriver Ramps. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20071227104547/http://www.blackriver-ramps.com/brr-blog/wordpress/?page_id=3. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    4. ^ "Fingerboard Tuning". Fingerboardstore.de. 2007. http://www.fingerboardstore.de/shop/index.php?cPath=23. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
    5. ^ a b Mullen, Rodney; Sean Mortimer (2004). The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself. HarperCollins. http://books.google.com/books?id=yKDJjltBon8C&pg=PA49&dq=%22fingerboard%22+skateboard&sig=0iaF28br3TMTt0-5GG-oAjm2JRw#PPA43,M1. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    6. ^ a b "YouTube videos of fingerboarding". YouTube. 25 December 2007. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fingerboard&search=Search. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    7. ^ a b "YouTube videos of fingerskating". YouTube. 25 December 2007. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search_query=fingerskate&search_sort=video_avg_rating&search_category=0&search=Search&v=&uploaded=&filter=1. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    8. ^ "Fingerboard Events Forum". Fingerboard.de. 2007. http://fingerboard.de/. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    9. ^ Vienne, Véronique (2003). l=en&lr=&id=3PoFw_4hj3UC&oi=fnd&pg=PT16&dq=fingerboard+skateboard&ots=iqx9fzkMIm&sig=GrozcGffn2GKTjvF-TcFpb2KJsY#PPT101,M1 Fresh Dialogue 3: New Voices in Graphic Design. Princeton Architectural Press. http://books.google.com/books? l=en&lr=&id=3PoFw_4hj3UC&oi=fnd&pg=PT16&dq=fingerboard+skateboard&ots=iqx9fzkMIm&sig=GrozcGffn2GKTjvF-TcFpb2KJsY#PPT101,M1. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    10. ^ Perez, Juan Carlos (September 13, 2007). "US online video popularity keeps climbing". MacWorld. http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/09/13/video/. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
    11. ^ Zawadski, Alison (September 13, 2007). "A Work in Progress". Le Provocateur. http://media.www.leprovoc.com/media/storage/paper453/news/2007/09/12/Viewpoint/A.Work.In.Progress-2964495.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
    12. ^ "YouTube videos of handboarding". YouTube. 25 December 2007. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search_query=handboard&search_sort=video_avg_rating&search_category=0&search=Search&v=&uploaded=&filter=1. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    13. ^ Halford, Wayne; Eric SodKar Fai, Steven Moran (2000-08-03). "Roll-up halfpipe for miniature toy skateboard". Mattel, Inc.. http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT6350174&id=v5AJAAAAEBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=fingerboard+skateboard. Retrieved 2007-12-25.  Patent number: 6350174; Filing date: Aug 3, 2000; Issue date: Feb 26, 2002.
    14. ^ Labelson, Ross; Timothy J. Klima (19 July 1999). "Amusement ramp and method for constructing same". Pillsbury Winthrop LLP. http://www.google.com/patents?id=BloNAAAAEBAJ. Retrieved 2007-12-25.  Patent number: 6623367, Filing date: Jul 19, 1999; Issue date: Sep 23, 2003.
    15. ^ Hull, Everett (10 December 2004). "Reciprocating plaything and method for playing". Thomas L. Adams. http://www.google.com/patents?id=h1-BAAAAEBAJ. Retrieved 2007-12-25.  Patent number: 7261613; Filing date: Dec 10, 2004; Issue date: Aug 28, 2007
    16. ^ a b c Stouffer, John (17 December 1999). "Snowtopia 99: Tom Sims Wins World Fingersnowboard Championships". Transworld Business. http://snowboarding.transworld.net/1999/12/17/snowtopia-99-tom-sims-wins-world-fingersnowboard-championships/. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
    17. ^ "Snowboarders Finally in Olympics, But Are Conforming Grudgingly", Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1998.

    [edit] Further reading

    • Finger Skate Board Tricks and Tips Prepack by Susan Buntrock (2000); Scholastic, Incorporated - ISBN 0439217148.
    • Life and Limb: Skateboarders Write from the Deep End by Justin Hocking, Jeff Knutson, Jared Jacang Maher (2004); Soft Skull Press - ISBN 193236028X. (See Whaling chapter by Justin Hocking).
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