Skateboarding is a popular sport; the amount of Sportos, Dweebies and Wastoids trying to cash in on it could drown a whale. Unfortunately there’s just not enough time in our busy schedule to call every one of these turdburgulars into The Principals Office. Only the darkest and most depraved will have that distinct displeasure. We thought we had our man with the Razor Scooter, but then came the Snakeboard and we knew the layers of crapulence had only been scratched. So we waited, and as we sensed middle America’s thirst for danger being quenched, as countless industrial design students dreamed then gave up on “reinventing the skateboard”, we sat in the shadows patiently, ready at any moment to strike. But now finally it’s here, have you heard? It’s called the Stair Rover and it’s being called into this week’s Principals Office, because well, it sucks.
Designed by Royal College of Art graduate Po-Chih Lai, the Stair Rover is, “a rugged eight wheel skateboard that can roll down stairs.” It does this so well that even the pigeon-toed noobs in the video make it down sets that would give Ryan Sheckler nightmares. The thing is, this is possible on a regular skateboard too. It’s a trick called a firecracker and the only difference is one needs skill to pull this off on a real skateboard. One apparently needs neither skill nor fashion sense to pull this off on a Stair Rover. Which is why this objet de désir intrigues us so much. It’s a raft of contradictions, starting with the fact that it allows you to accomplish one thing so very easily (riding down stairs) while forgetting about simplifying all the other hard tricks. Where’s my kickflip-o-matic or insta-handrail-blaster?! The mounting disparities are captivating, especially between the (low) quality of ideas and (high) production value in the video. For a full 60 seconds we are tempted by hi-definition, sepia-toned, B-roll cuts of two awesome dudes just cruising: enjoying the weather, enjoying their stair rovers, enjoying life. Clearly we’re setting up for something big, but what is it? Each second the moment builds, every possible angle is explored, every depth of field has gone in and out of focus, every pebble of every concrete step is shown until at last, after a full minute the suspense is finally relieved. It’s a set of stairs, he rode down it. Bravo.