Ride of the Week: The Dirt Surfer The Rider: Gregg Haverberg of Truckee
October 31, 2008
What is a Dirt Surfer?
A Dirt Surfer is a two-wheeled skateboard with pneumatic tires, a carbon fiber flex-deck, a hydraulic rear brake, and a pivoting front wheel. It’s made by hand in New Zealand and designed to bomb hills on dirt or pavement.
How did you hear about the Dirt Surfer?
I saw it online and it looked crazy. I had to buy it. When I first got it I thought I had pissed my money away because I couldn’t turn it very well, but I was just learning on a hill that was too small.
So the Dirt Surfer excels at speed?
The more speed you throw at the front tire the more in control it is. I got it up to 48 mph going from Brockway Summit to Northstar. No wobbles at all.
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Do you take the Dirt Surfer off-road?
I have played around with it on dirt but I would never in my life try to go 48 mph off-road. In New Zealand they use them on the open ski runs after the snow melts because their groomers are all soft grass, not rocky like the Sierra.
What’s your favorite place to ride it?
Old Highway 40 coming down from Donner Summit is my favorite run. Great views and the turns are ideal. I can get from Sugar Bowl Academy to Donner Lake in about 8 minutes. There are a few now or never corners. Big heel edges turns where your moving at about 40 mph.
Have you taken any major spills on the Dirt Surfer?
We’ve only had one catastrophic injury. One of my buddies was riding it down Highway 40 and a tire blew out going about 30 mph. He skidded down the road and almost flew off the edge where there wasn’t a guard rail. I was right behind him in the chase car when it happened. We were scared to death of it for the next few weeks.
What’s the scariest place you have ridden it?
I rode down Highway 49 from Auburn into the American River Canyon. It was full horseshoe corners with limited visibility and lots of opposite traffic. They were 10 mph turns and I was coming into them at about 20 or 30 mph. I’ll never ride that hill again.
It is easy to learn how to ride?
I’d say so. It’s kind of like learning how to ride a bike, except there is no handle bar. The best success I have had teaching people is to put them on top of a big hill, show them how the brake works, and just kick them off.
How much do Dirt Surfers cost and where can you buy one?
They cost between $300-600 dollars depending on the model. Dirt Surfer makes models with 12″, 16″ and 20″ tires and two different deck styles. I have never seen them for sale in California so check them out online at http://www.dirtsurfer.com.
” This week’s Ride of the Week interview was conducted by the Sun’s Seth Lightcap. Send future interview suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.