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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Onewheel skateboards rise in popularity among students

Courtesy Photo | Creative Commons
Onewheels are electric single-wheeled, self-balancing skateboards created in 2015.

With sidewalks overrun by scooters, bikes and skateboards, a keen eye might catch a glimpse of an odd contraption — a one-wheeled skateboard.

Introduced in 2015, the Onewheel is a self-balancing skateboard with a single large wheel at its center and footholds on either side. California-based company Future Motion Inc. sells Onewheels on its website, with prices starting around $1,000.

Slade Smith, a senior biochemistry major, has been cruising on his Onewheel Pint X since 2021. Despite purchasing his board second-hand, he emphasized that the price was worth it.

“I’ve never bought a parking pass or anything for campus just because I have the Onewheel,” Smith said. “It’s paid for itself in the long run because I have never had to pay for gas.”

With a top speed of 18 mph, Smith’s commute is only four minutes as he zips to campus.

Drake Robertson, a senior electrical engineering major, has been riding his Onewheel Pint since August. Upon meeting Smith, Robertson was inspired to purchase his own Onewheel.

“Whenever I first met him, I saw it and I was like, ‘dude, that’s the coolest thing ever. You’ve got to let me try it,’” Robertson said.

Robertson ended up finding a discounted Onewheel that was previously owned by Smith. He has been zooming to class ever since.

“It feels really cool to ride it. You put the headphones in and you feel like you’re in a movie,” Robertson said.

The one-wheeled skateboard attracts a lot of attention, according to Robertson. He views this aspect of his commute as a positive.

“It does make a lot of people smile because it is such an interesting mode of transportation, which I think is really cool. If you can make someone smile, it’s such a nice feeling,” Robertson said.

Smith thought the opposite. He said that the hardest thing about riding his Onewheel around campus is the stigma behind it.

“I know that I get dirty looks because I’m riding on an Onewheel. Some people think it’s cool, but I know a lot of people think that I’m just weird,” Smith said.

Lindsey Braband, a freshman electrical engineering major, opts for zipping around campus on her electric skateboard controlled by a handheld remote. She had some concerns about Onewheel safety.

“I’ve actually seen Onewheels overheat, and it will literally stop and throw the person riding it,” Braband said.

In September 2023, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on Onewheels sold between 2014 and 2023, citing that “the skateboards can stop balancing the rider if the boards’ limits are exceeded, posing a crash hazard that can result in serious injury or death.” This recall is due to four Onewheel-related deaths that occurred between 2019 and 2021.

Onewheel offered an update to all recalled skateboards, incorporating haptic buzzes to warn users when the board is nearing its highest limit for speed. Robertson received the update last semester.

“That one is a really useful update because it gives you a little warning before you nosedive,” Robertson said.

Robertson and Smith have still shared their fair share of falls.

“I was trying to break the speed limit of it. I ended up hitting 25 on it, and about the same time that I hit 25 going down that hill, the governor went off and I went off the front end and slid across the concrete,” Smith said. “I still have the clothes that I completely ruined in that crash.”

Robertson shared a positive outlook on his crashes.

“That thing has hurt me,” Robertson said, “but I still love it.”

About the Contributor
Kate Myers
Kate Myers, News Editor
Kate Myers is a freshman communication major. She currently serves as the News Editor. [email protected]
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