Introduction: Make Grass Skis From Old Skateboards

Picture of Make Grass Skis From Old Skateboards

Our oldest son was very "into" skateboarding.  He would spend hours at the local skate park practicing heal flips, kick flips, dropping in to the half pipe, ollies, nosegrinds, 50-50 grinds, and a slew of other stuff that mean absolutely nothing to me.  One thing I do know is that all that stuff is extremely hard on a skateboard!  I stopped counting how many boards we went through.  Of course, that raised the question: "What to do with all of the old skateboards?"  Well, one can make only so many skateboard shelves.

We decided that we would make something that could be enjoyed by everyone, and would be a great way of introducing our young kids to water skiing and snow skiing. 

Introducing "Grass skiing."

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials
For this project, you will need the following materials.
  1. One pair of old shoes.  They should be large enough that most any kid could stick their feet into them. 
  2. Two worn and useless skateboard decks.
  3. Three lengths of board approximately 12 inches x 2.5 inches.
  4. About 30 feet of rope. 
  5. Two pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe, each 14 inches long.
  6. Six nuts and bolts, along with about a dozen wood screws.

Step 2: Make the Skis

Picture of Make the Skis

This is a fairly straight forward project.  Basically, we are taking two well worn and discarded skateboard decks and attaching two well worn, puppy-chewed shoes. 

Start by centering a shoe on the skateboard deck.  Drill three holes through the bottom of the shoe and through the deck.  Drill one hole near the heal and two holes near the toes.  This will make the ski more stable.

Turn the deck over and, using a larger bit, enlarge the hole sufficiently to allow the nut to recess into the deck.  Take care not to drill too far through the deck. 

Using a hammer, tap the nut into the recessed hole.  Attached the shoe using the bolts. 

Using an angle grinder, cut excess bolt so that the bolt is relatively level with the bottom of the deck.  No need to be too particular as the bolt will tend to grind itself off over time.

Repeat process with other ski.

Step 3: Engineered Safety Features

Picture of Engineered Safety Features

My grass skis are routinely used by small children, so I needed to add some features to make skiing easier, and safer  If your grass skis are used exclusively by older kids or teens (or if you don't like your smaller kids...) you may want to skip this step, but be warned, the possibility of giving up in frustration increases dramatically.

Safety feature #1.  Tie the skis together.  This will keep the skier from accidentally "doing the splits."  Use screws to attach two pieces of wood (12 inches in length and about 2.5 inches wide) and lock the skies together.   Use the pre-drilled holes where the wheels were originally mounted to attach these braces.  Screw from the bottom of the deck up into the braces.

Safety feature #2:  Tow-rope hold.  Holding on to the tow rope is tough on the arms and plays havoc with the skier's balance.  The tow-rope hold takes the strain off of the skier and puts it on the skies.  This makes skiing very easy, even for the smallest of kids.  Cut a 10 inch piece of wood at about a 30 degree angle.  Screw this piece of wood to the front brace, as shown.  This will create a "pocket" for the tow rope.

Step 4: Tow Rope

Picture of Tow Rope

If you added the safety features in step 3, then you will need two tow ropes.  Otherwise, only one tow rope is necessary.

For each tow rope, you will need 15 feet of rope and 14 inches of 1/2 inch PVC pipe.  I use 3/8 inch braided cotton rope, but, unlike some things in life, size is not important; it just has to be strong enough to pull the skier.

Thread one end of the rope through the pipe and tie rope to create triangle shape as shown in picture.  At other end of rope, tie a small loop to facilitate attachment to the tow vehicle.  You are essentially mimicking a water ski tow rope.  

Note the knots on either side of the tow-bar.  This keeps the bar centered and facilitates an even pull.  I should have done the same with the second rope, but didn't. 

Finished length of rope should be about 12 feet.  Make each rope as close to the same length as possible.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Creation

Picture of Enjoy Your Creation

You can use almost any vehicle as your grass ski tow vehicle.  I usually use my riding lawn mower, but have also used a 250 cc quad.  Please note that these grass skis are not meant as a high speed thrill ride.  They are intended to pull kids around the backyard at relatively low speeds.  They are so much fun, the kids won't even notice they aren't breaking the sound barrier. 

I hope you enjoy grass skiing: a sport born from the discarded leftovers of skateboarding.  


BigNateMI made it! (author)2014-07-10

I took some inspiration from this 'ible, and built a "lawnboard". It's a one-piece chunk of plywood. It has a chicken feed bag wrapped underneath it and stapled on the top. I wrapped some plastic liberated from 2-liter bottles around the front edge to keep it from digging into the ground.I placed a 2x4 across the front, then laid the pull rope over it and screwed a 1x2 down over that. I attached the handle rope directly to the board to conserve rope. It's ridiculous, and the kids are having a blast. See my littlest surfer boy below.

mikeasaurus (author)2012-02-20

This is the kind of dad I want to be.

HollyMann (author)mikeasaurus2012-07-01

awesome! :)

HollyMann (author)2012-07-01

Wow this is something my brother would do! But your way is safer. My brother hooked his adult cousin (age 27) up to the back of his lawn mower with a rope in a tupper ware storage container. It was pretty funny - lots of sparks and tipping and crashing - and pretty dangerous! This one looks better! Love it!

Muniosi (author)2012-02-23

LOL, when I saw the title I thought it said grass skirts. I thought, now how does that work? So I clicked on it. LOL!

jxross (author)Muniosi2012-02-23

Hmm, let me think about that for a while. Maybe you just came up with my next Instructable.

Muniosi (author)jxross2012-02-23

Haha, good luck with that one.

bajablue (author)2012-02-22

This is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bajablue (author)bajablue2012-02-22

Sorry I couldn't rate this, but I WAS able to vote. ;-)

narf7 (author)2012-02-21

That looks like so much fun! What a good way to use old worn out skateboards? I am with you on the cage thing for kids...My girls are well adjusted members of society...they do stay in their house and only come out for groceries and confine themselves to the bathroom on a regular basis for comforts sake but apart from that they are exemplary members of society! :o) Methinks that if Mr jxross and his family can put instructables here for all to see that I could do the same... (how to renovate your house WITH a shoestring.... a recipe for world peas... gardening for the bone idle...yes...I think there is a market out there for my amazing ideas...) cheers jxross (any relation to Jim Ross of WWW fame?) on your most entertaining instructables. This one smacks of normality?! So long and thanks for all the fish...

greggspen (author)2012-02-20

Adopt me please.

jxross (author)greggspen2012-02-21

You may want to rethink that.  I put my kids in cages when they misbehave.  Or when I'm tired...or mad...or when I need a good laugh...or they forget to thank me for giving them life...or when my wife and I need a little alone time... Come to think of it, there really isn't a bad time to put them in the cage.   See here.   

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