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
- One pair of old shoes. They should be large enough that most any kid could stick their feet into them.
- Two worn and useless skateboard decks.
- Three lengths of board approximately 12 inches x 2.5 inches.
- About 30 feet of rope.
- Two pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe, each 14 inches long.
- Six nuts and bolts, along with about a dozen wood screws.
Step 2: 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
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
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
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.
Participated in the
Toy Challenge 2
BigNateMI made it!