Intro: Waterski Longboard
Every so often, an idea runs through my mind that I find difficult to escape. The mere mention of hot dogs will drive me into a frenzy until I am adequately satisfied. This is one of those occasions. I think this idea came from one of the assorted podcasts that grace my airspace. Knowing I already had the appropriate supplies, it was only a matter of allotting the time and getting down to business.
Step 1: Defining Necessity and Acquisition of Supplies
I've made this simple build with parts and accessories easy acquired in most parts of the world. What you will need,
- a set of longboard trucks, wheels and bearings with the appropriate length hardware (a waterski will typically by at least twice the thickness of a standard skateboard. You'll want at least 1 1/4" if not longer. Riser pads may also be an option.)
- a vintage or retro wood waterski, which will need to be structurally sound, no rot or splits. (Easily found in communities near a body of water at yard sales or thrift stores. Mine was from a neighbour who was leaving town and left it on the front lawn to take.)
- some form of grip tape (available online or local skate shops, I used threshold/stair tread grip I purchased from ikea and had some left over)
- simple power tools (mostly just a drill/driver, screwdrivers, and a ratchet/nutdriver)
- 3/16 drill bit
Step 2: Preparation of the Ski
After inspecting the integrity of the ski, we can move ahead and prepare it for its transformation. Start by removing all the hardware from the top and the tail fin. On a ski this age, most of what you remove will most likely be garbage, be sure to save it all because you never know.
Once all the hardware has been removed, give those areas a quick sanding to remove the protrusions left from the screws. There is no need to fill these holes unless you choose to finish the top with paint or stain, I've chosen to keep mine original.
Give the surface a quick wipe with a cleaning solution of your choice to remove dust and other debris. Set it aside to to dry.
Step 3: Preparation of the Trucks
Now we will move onto the trucks. The set I have are assembled already and just needed to be harvested from the deck. You may need to assemble your set which includes seating the bearings. All of this is quite simple. Take a moment to ensure the hardware you have is long enough to make it through the ski and through the base of the truck.
Step 4: Truck Placement
Take the waterski and lay it with the top facing down. Place the trucks in the bottom of the ski. There's no science to where these should sit, just move them around until you find a position that looks comfortable. What's most important with this step is that you find the center of the ski, the trucks will need to be centred and square for a smooth ride. Leave a nose and tail, a wider stance between the trucks will make the board harder to turn. Take some time and measure both sides, a square will not be of much use as a ski doesn't typically have a flat side.
Once you're satisfied with the truck placement, go ahead and mark your hole positions. I did this and found that one of the holes wasn't lined up properly, I went ahead and drilled straight through the hole on the truck which kept everything lined up nicely.
Now drill your mounting holes. I used a 3/16 drill bit which left a snug fit on the hardware.
Step 5: Mounting of the Trucks.
Time to mount the trucks. Hopefully your hardware is long enough to reach the thread lock in the nuts, if not your hardware will shake loose and that's no fun. Make sure to snug everything up nice and tight. The hardware will normally want to sink into the top, be mindful of this and don't sink it too far. I tighten my hardware alternating sides, this will prevent the truck from twisting or turning as you tighten the hardware. This is coming together nicely. Get excited, were almost there.
Step 6: Grip It.
Now with the trucks mounted, we can add some friction to the top surface. If you've chosen to grip the entire top then this step should come before mounting the trucks.
Using some thin strips of grip tape I laid one strip down the middle with a few smaller pieces along the sides. You'll need more grip in the areas where your feet are going to be. I won't be winning any races with this, so I don't need a whole lot of grip, just enough to keep me in place. Get creative with this, you can get grip tape in all sorts of colours and designs, make it your own.
Step 7: Rip It!
Your waterski longboard is now complete! Find a street or path and feel the breeze. Remember to be safe and ride responsibly.