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Get your hands on a fingerboard

by Merrie Leininger

Watch out, Hot Wheels – fingerboards are taking your place.

Fingerboards – miniature skateboards that are driven through a course like the toy cars – are growing in popularity with the 7-14 male crowd.

Dan O’Sullivan, 17, owner of Ballistic Skate Supply, is hoping to add to the popularity with a fingerboarding championship in which contestants in different age groups will compete on a extra-large street course for prizes.

“If the amount of kids who buy fingerboards start skateboarding, the county really should get a skatepark,” O’Sullivan said. “A lot of kids who come in and buy them eventually see the boards and eventually get a skateboard.”

O’Sullivan said his shop has been selling the fingerboards, which range from $3.50 to $9, for about 1-1/2 years, and they are popular with the younger kids.

“It’s not very difficult and you don’t get hurt when you crash,” O’Sullivan said.

They also are cheaper than a $90 skateboard and many schools allow them on campus, which is a no-no for skateboards.

A 7-year-old customer was the impetus for the championship, he said.

“He called everyday until we said yes,” he said.

The boards started out as plastic keychains, but they now are made very realistic with real wheels and tiny tools to change the wheels.

Some schools have recognized the popularity of the fingerboards. Minden Elementary School has about 20 of them the students can check out at recess or lunch.

Principal Klaire Pirtle said she noticed how many kids were bringing them to school at the beginning of the school year and bought some. She also let students create their own courses.

“I thought it would be fun if they would want to build their own courses. I went to Ballistic and bought 20, and they built these elaborate ramps,” Pirtle said.

Pirtle said she prefers the fingerboards to video games.

“It seemed like it was capturing a little of their interest. It makes them interact and be creative and plan what they want to do,” Pirtle said.

Anyone can call Ballistic to pre-register for the event, which will be held Saturday, May 22 at the shop. Pre-registration will be held up to 7 p.m. the Friday before. Anyone who pre-registers will get a prize.

Grand prizes will also be awarded to the winners of each age group. The contestants will be divided into groups of up to 7-year-olds and under, 8-10-year-olds, 11-13-year-olds, and 14 and up.