Ghost Board
Rating: 4/5

You’ll find boards like this plastered all over social media. As the ‘it’ Christmas gift of 2015, you couldn’t go onto Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook without seeing this board everywhere.

The Wellington-based Ghost is the only authentic e-board company in NZ and Australia. They’re young, they’re talented, and they’re super fun.

I got the board sent to my work to save myself from the dreaded card to call. The first thing I noticed was how extremely heavy the board was. I was naïve and assumed it weighed the same as a skateboard. I was wrong. This comes in very handy later on.

Off the bat, the Ghost board was pretty brilliant. It arrived in top-notch custom Ghost packaging I’d trust sending myself in.

The board, prior to being used was already user friendly. One charging port, one button and two indication lights are all that are on it. I chucked that bad boy on charge and went ahead and read the instructions. There were only three “don’t”s. Do not ride the board on your hands, do not ride down stairs and do not hold the charger up to lightning. Despite a storm forecasted for the night, I thought I could safely oblige.

In the first two weeks after receiving the Ghost board, I tested it among four sets of distinctively different people. Those at my work, a group of friends at a dinner, my flatmates and my family.

Four hours after I received the board, it was charged. The first few times stepping onto it can be daunting; when you apply pressure, it moves, so placing a foot onto it usually means it starts rolling away from you. You have to act quickly and distribute your weight evenly or you veer in directions you don’t want. Stepping off results in a similar issue. One foot off means the other is left directing the board towards your ankle.

Building up confidence was the only issue. After a few minutes I was riding through the whole office and I wasn’t the only one. When the boss is away, the mice will play. There was a line that had formed around the makeshift arena we’d set up. Everyone was waiting to try the infamous board. Working in an office in the central city, we are of varying ages. I had a woman in her sixties clutch my hand and scream as she travelled a total of one metre past her desk – and she loved it. Out of everyone in the office, she was the most successful. People spun in unstoppable circles, people flew uncontrollably backwards and a lucky few mastered it within seconds.

At dinner, I found out surprisingly that it was the younger generation who were most hesitant about getting on the Ghost board. Many outright refused to get on it, after seeing videos of friends face-planting onto the ground. For those willing to get on, the comments I received projected across the restaurant were “no, no, no, no, no”, “this is terrifying” and “ahhhhhhhhh”. What I learnt from this was you need to spend more than four seconds on the board to really get into it.

My flatmates boast some impressive skills – they surf, they snowboard and they skateboard –  so it would make sense they would be amazing on the Ghost board. What I saw was a series of horrific flailing and graceful contact with the ground.

When I brought the board over to family, I didn’t get it back for a week. My brother would not get off it for hours. He rode it constantly around the loop of the kitchen, hallway and living room. He experimented with multiple speeds and taught me how much potential the board really had. He ran it flat and fell off. When it runs out of battery, it lets you know. It beeps relentlessly, making you run to the box and find the charger.

I was unsure of the Ghost board’s ability to get wet, so when Auckland finally saw some good weather, I took the board to Wynyard Quarter and tried it outside. It was a completely different experience. The board reacts differently to all the varying surfaces and friction levels of the real world. One second you’re on concrete and the next you’re on Astroturf. Not everything is flat and the skill set needed is much higher. Start slow and adjust to the inclines and surfaces. This requires different pressures and speeds.

This board is not just a toy; due to its weight and how well it’s built you feel stable and surprisingly safe.

The information pamphlet said the Ghost board could handle a 20-degree incline. Living in a city like Wellington or Auckland, your daily journey from A to B will 100% involve passing over a hill, which left me carrying the board up and down slopes I didn’t want to experiment with.

You don’t need experience getting into this board. Previous skating or related sports don’t help you on the Ghost board. You may step on with more confidence, but you’re just as lost as the rest of us. I am that friend. I am clumsy and terribly uncoordinated. I can manage to trip on anything, from my own feet, to leaves, to small inclines. But I can honestly say I can now confidently ride a Ghost board – and I loved it.