We’ve all been there. That moment when your brand new hoverboard finally arrives. You take it out of the box, and suddenly realize you have no idea how to ride it.
Sure, it looks easy in YouTube videos, but stepping on your self-balancing scooter for the first time might be a bit daunting.
The good news is, these eMobile devices are easy to use for most people. They’re a safe way to ride from point A to point B, and with just a little bit of practice, you’ll be zipping around your neighborhood.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride a Hoverboard?
First thing’s first, you’ll want to review the safety requirements and the local laws pertaining to hoverboard use in your area.
Most manufacturers recommend that the hands-free segue is appropriate for anyone ages 12 and up. However, some models are available that are specifically designed for children. Generally, someone who can stand has good balance, and can shift their weight appropriately can safely ride a hoverboard.
However, in some states, there are age restrictions on riding in public. In California, for example, you need to be 16 years old to ride your motorized device outdoors. Be sure to check your local laws for any age considerations in your area.
Getting Started: How to Set Up Your Hoverboard
Before you begin riding your eMobile device, you’ll want to get it set up properly. First, make sure that it’s fully charged and power on your board. Do this by pushing the power button directly on the board.
Place your board on the ground right in front of your toes with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Position the LED lights on the board according to the manufacturer specifications. Most manufacturers recommend that the lights be front-facing. If there aren’t instructions included with your hoverboard, you can have the lighting facing the front or back, whichever you prefer.
Now it’s time to step on!
Mounting Your Hoverboard
With your dominant foot, step up onto your board placing the center of your foot on the pad as wide to the wheel as possible. The further apart the feet are, the easier it will be to balance, so take advantage of all the space on the platform.
Concentrate on keeping your foot flat and level to the ground so that your board doesn’t start moving before you’re ready.
Next, take a breath and lift your foot off the ground and step onto the hoverboard positioning your other foot next to the opposite wheel well. Try not to hesitate or overthink this step, just step onto the board like you would onto a curb.
Take a moment to find your balance, and don’t be alarmed if you wobble a bit initially. Most riders do best if you find a spot in front of you at around eye level to focus as you find stability.
Once you’re comfortable standing, it’s time to take it for a ride.
Moving Your Hoverboard
Riding your hands-free segue is very intuitive. In many cases, if you overthink the movement or try too hard you will end up overcompensating and falling off.
Start by simply thinking about where you want your board to go. If you’re trying to move forward, your weight will naturally shift slightly into the balls of your feet, and your segue will begin to move in that direction.
To stop the movement, you’ll want to shift your weight back to center, leveling out your board to stop the propulsion.
Moving backward is the same, though you’ll want to get comfortable with turning your head to see where you’re going. This can be tricky as you’ll want to keep your weight and torso stable as you turn to make sure you don’t have a mishap.
Practice rolling forward, pausing, and then rolling backward in a safe space several times until you get the hang of it.
Turning Your Hoverboard
Once you’re comfortable with forward and backward motion, you can add in a turn on your board. Standing tall on your board, think about the direction that you want the board to go and see what your body does naturally. Most of the time, you will intuitively position your feet to execute the turn.
If you need a little help, think about pushing down with the big toe that’s the opposite of the way you want to turn. For example, if you want to turn to the right, your left foot should push down and forward slightly. If you want to make a sharper turn, you’ll simultaneously pull back with your opposite foot.
Try doing a few NASCAR-style circuits in your practice space to get the hang of turning. Head forward in one direction, and then execute an 180-degree left turn that allows you to head back the opposite direction to your starting point where you can do another 180-degree turn. Once you master going left, switch it up and try it to the right.
When you’ve had enough for the day, and it’s time to step off your personal electronic mobility device, you’ll reverse the skills you learned to mount the board.
Many users feel that the dismount is the trickiest part of riding the device, so don’t be upset if you don’t get it right the first time. Start by shifting your weight from your dominant foot and concentrate on keeping it completely level to the ground as you step backward off your board with the opposite foot. Once your first foot contacts the ground, step back quickly with the other to get both feet planted before your board has a chance to shift beneath you.