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Hoverboards a fleeting transit trend

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Thandi Ware
Assistant Arts Editor

In mid 2015, you could not go anywhere without seeing someone on a weird little gadget without handlebars whooshing around town — and now, just like every high-tech trend that quickly rises in popularity, they were soon stuffed away in closets and garages.

Those devices are called hoverboards, when in reality they do not hover. They are self-balancing boards that require the rider to balance and shift their weight accordingly to accelerate up to 12 mph, stop and turn.

Their sudden rise to fame could be attributed to celebrity endorsers such as Wiz Khalifa, Blac Chyna, 2 Chainz and Justin Bieber.

“Celebrities have an impact on us, especially when they put it on social media,” junior kinesiology major George Evans said.

“They made it the new trend and put everybody on it.”

Freshman computer science major Toni Harrison agrees.

“Instagram made people know about it more, it had a lot to do with making them popular,” she said.

Harrison is the proud owner of a hoverboard that she uses almost exclusively in her room on the third floor of Brandt Hall.

Though Harrison appreciated the convenience it once provided her, she is not the avid user she was when she first got it.

“I liked it because I’m lazy, but I don’t like carrying it so I don’t use it to get around,” Harrison said.

Hoverboards weigh about 20 pounds, making them impractical for many people to carry around.

Freshman criminology and anthropology major Angelica Enriquez sees hoverboards as an inconvenience.

“It’s probably a hassle and you have to actually carry it with you, and on this campus there’s a lot of stairs, so what’s the point?” Enriquez said.

Evans is also a proud owner of a hoverboard and still uses it.

“I use it, but not as much because I don’t want to play it out or get tired of it,” Evans said.

Hoverboards retail at about $400.

“They’re ridiculously overpriced,” Enriquez said.

Harrison agreed the price tag was too much for her, but luckily she got hers as a gift.

“If I didn’t already have one, I wouldn’t buy one only because it costs a lot,” she said.

And then there is the safety factor.

Reports of hoverboards catching fire and exploding while charging or being ridden have caused stores like Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond to stop selling them altogether.

Just like the many other gadgets that came before them, hoverboards might only be a fad, doomed to eventually live out the rest of their days in the back of someone’s closet.

“I think it’s like every other new thing that comes out,” Evans said. “I don’t really see them promoting it anymore.”

Yet Evans still has love for hoverboards.

“My favorite thing was having the option to either walk to class or ride my hoverboard to class. Everybody’s got choices,” he said.

Thandi Ware can be reached at thandiwe.ware@laverne.edu.

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