Snowboarding’s new mod is getting a lot of attention. Drone builder and Youtuber Valplushka has been touted as introducing the sport to the world in one of his posted videos. That’s not exactly true. A YouTuber by the name of Kaspars Balamovskis posted an arguably more awesome adult version of the same thing just the day before, with the intention of testing a drone specifically for board sports. But regardless of who came up with the idea first, the fact of the mater is that droneboarding is officially here, and with it a new age of action sports.
It’s snowboarding with a drone tow instead of a snowmobile, or perhaps, cold-weather kiteboarding on land. In Valplushka’s video from “Soviet Russia, where drone flies you,” the drone doing the towing is a 4 lb quadrocopter that would probably last about ten minutes if it wasn’t trying to drag a small child. This setup is slower than being towed by two constipated sled dogs — but it’s still a killer proof of concept.
By comparison, Balamovskis’ video from the preceding day features an Aerones drone pulling a full grown man. The Latvian unmanned aerial vehicle developer claims a lifting force of 37 kg (81 lbs), which they assert “is more than enough to tow a snowboarder, skateboarder, longboarder or any other similar type of board sport activist,” in a press release featuring the video. The company is looking for a partner to design a drone handlebar system.
Viewers are chiming in all over the Internet. Comments on both videos suggested a boarder carry a large battery attached to the drone with a breakaway connection in case the rider falls. The breakaway battery backpack concept and handlebar system are just the first of the modifications needed for the new sport or sports to come. For example, a drone used for surfing should at the least have floating outrigging.
But the most obvious necessity is, as Jeremy Clarkson would say, “Power!” Both of the videos showed the riders on a slight downward slope, and neither drone setup had the power necessary to really carve up the snow. Eighty pounds of lifting force is impressive, but not quite enough to tow a person up a reasonably steep hill.
Droneboarding will likely hit its full potential as drones get more powerful, but why wait? Current tech shouldn’t stop the truly determined from harnessing a bunch of existing networked drones. Even running two of those Aerones like a team of Clydesdales would likely give you a considerable boost in power.
At this point, we’re just waiting for some intrepid drone masters to expand on this idea and bring it to other sports. Where’s the dronesurfing, dronesledding, droneblading, or droneskating vids? We’re waiting, Internet.