By Amanda Hoover | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
I don’t surf.
Well, not on water, at least. But a new Wildwood attraction convinced me to give it a shot on the sand this week.
BeachBoard, a local company, has unveiled an electric scooter-Segway-golf cart hybrid made for coasting on the sand. And after we saw video of some test rides near Wildwood Beach Patrol Sunday, in which riders sailed across the sand with ease, we had to give it a shot, too.
“It’s an interactive device that asks you to use your core and be athletic, so you can experience surfing the earth,” said Nick Panico, who runs the company along with his partner Ian Paxson. The idea is a combination of electric beach carts, which can’t be ridden, but are used to drive gear onto the sand, and a similar board made for carrying individual golfers around a course, designed to move across pavement and turf.
I arrived Monday morning at the boardwalk along Schellenger Avenue, the beach patrol headquarters.
Steve Stocks, chief of the Wildwood Beach Patrol, told me BeachBoard “offered two to the beach patrol, to see if they are useful in a public safety capacity.” They got the scooters Friday, at no cost to the city, as part of a pilot program with beach boards. So far, they’re only in Wildwood.
While eager to try the boards out, Stocks was skeptical. He figured he’d run down the battery quickly jetting around the wide beaches, or that the sand would tear up the tires.
But so far, it’s all been smooth sailing. The batteries lasted until Sunday night, giving him about three full days of power.
Stocks had two scooters ready, so I slipped off my shoes, and hopped on with two goals: not to injure or embarrass myself, and not to break the state-or-the-art beach cruiser.
For the most part, I succeeded. (Except for whole embarrassing myself part. When you’re the only person dressed in business casual on the beach and you’re cutting through the crowds on a speedy scooter, people take notice).