When you have a large dog, or perhaps several small dogs, you might as well put them to work. One activity I enjoy, and my dogs seem to enjoy as well, is skatejoring. The name derives from skijoring, which is having dogs, horses or motor vehicles pull you on cross-country skis over snow. Skatejoring is similar, except using skateboards (or longboards or roller skates) over roads or sidewalks. I've tried a variety of methods for this activity, and recently developed the optimal gear for two dogs. In skijoring, the skier wears a harness or belt that connects to a sled dog harness via a rope. This arrangement, though sometimes used, doesn't work well on a skateboard, as we don't generally enjoy being dragged across pavement if we should fall off. Normally, I uses a dog lead (leash) connected to the dog's harness so that I can more readily maintain balance, as well as change hands or let go when necessary.
This instructable involves the how-to of skatejoring with one or two dogs, and provides instructions for modifying a water ski rope to make the ideal skatejoring lead..
Water ski rope, double-handled type
Skate joring is similar to water skiing in that one is being pulled forward by an external force. Hence, a similar type of connection between the puller and the pulled might be appropriate. A single-handle ski rope has a handle that is too large and cumbersome. A double-handle ski rope has two small handles, one for each hand. This type is frequently used for people learning the single ski, as it keeps the ski centered in the rope Vee between the two handles when starting up. I happened to have one left over after selling my boat. I reasoned that one handle of the two would be perfect for skatejoring. It would provide a solid grip, unlike the nylon webbing of a typical dog lead. Polyethylene ropes of this type are also strong and resistant to sun damage.
I cut one handle out of the rope, then cut a length of rope that was about 8 feet long, plus one about a foot long. Most dog leads are too short. You need a considerable amount of space between the front of your board and the hind feet of the dogs. Even so, they may occasionally cut you off, requiring an emergency bail off. I hope to train my dogs out of this practice at some point.