Skateboarding gets a makeover

Could the PUMGO, a jacked-up skateboard powered by a rider's rocking motion, be the next Razor scooter?

Think of skateboarding in a new light – and at a new ride height – and presto, it's PUMGO. The name is derived from the rocking technique (pump and go), which provides a low-impact workout and eliminates the need to wear down one of your Keds by pushing off to gain speed.

Alternately pressing down the front and rear of the PUMGO board drives the wheels in one direction. Shift weight heavily to the rear and a rubber brake pad drags the road. (There's a learning curve; a $15 stand lets you practice in place.)

The board (about $150) made a splash last year at product shows. Its maker, Land Surf Inc., has passed up big-box retailers for small stores. It has also donated boards to the Boy Scouts, YMCA, and summer camps.

PUMGO is broadly aimed at the 7-and-up set. Press materials make 220 lbs. the top rider weight, but the box says 150, which complicated testing. We took ours to the street and lined up riders ages 10, 13, 16, and 18. (Sweet-spot demographics, based on reactions to the board's appearance and ability to make it work, are the middle two.) The oldest teen found PUMGO too toylike, with its leash and lime-green wheels, and one of two 10-year-olds said she wouldn't use PUMGO to go anywhere in a hurry. (It's for flats, not hills, and heavy at 17.3 lbs.) Verdict: Quirky alternative for some skaters; probably not the next Razor scooter.

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