A rough rider with a delicate and sweet demeanor
It’s a bird, it’s a plane….nope, neither. It’s Ripstick Girl, zipping down the SMU Boulevard in all of her glory and swagger.
There are few SMU students who have not heard of or seen “Ripstick Girl” around campus. But what happens when her beloved wheeled land vehicle is no longer in her possession?
Freshman Amelia Eskridge, known as Ripstick Girl, let some fraternity men borrow it about a month ago and has not seen it since.
“It’s hard especially with this beautiful weather outside.” Eskridge said. “I feel as though I’m missing something from my soul – that’s how I feel.”
But Eskridge remembers her rides on the SMU Boulevard fondly and so do many Ripstick Girl fans.
Often also called a Wave Board, a Caster Board, a vigorboard or a RipStik, this hobby and transportation device is a two-wheeled and human-powered land vehicle. It is somewhat like a skateboard, but it has two narrow platforms that are joined by a torsion bar.
If you saw Eskridge apart from her blue Ripstick with red flames, you would never expect her to be a rough rider.
Sophomore Jane Gross said she wasn’t surprised when she found out her friend had a Ripstick-riding hobby.
“She’s a very unique person anyways that it didn’t surprise me,” said Gross. “She definitely marches to the beat of her own drum and that’s one of her best qualities.”
A freshman at SMU, Eskridge double majors in engineering and Spanish. Since she arrived in fall of 2014, she has gotten involved in the SMU Belle Tones and the Chi Omega sorority.
While she has mastered the art of riding a Ripstick with grace and vigor, Eskridge doesn’t consider herself very athletic or competitive.
“I was never huge into sports because whenever I would play, if I could tell the other team wanted it more, I would think ‘maybe, they’re just having a bad day – they probably need this win more than I do,’” Eskridge said.
Her hobby began in fifth grade, when she saw other kids riding Ripsticks around her hometown neighborhood and she asked her dad if she could have one. Her dad taught her how to ride, and before long Eskridge and her best friend were able to ride in unison, sling-shotting each other up and down the street.
“I was able to ride my Ripstick, read a book and listen to music at the same time,” said Eskridge. “And I remember that was a big accomplishment in my life.”
Since then, she has even taught three of her four siblings how to ride, and the family often rides together.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned into something that I were to pass down generation to generation,” Eskridge says with a laugh.
Eskridge is especially amused by the attention she receives on the social media site YikYak because of her Ripstick-riding hobby. Sometimes, she admits, she even goes out riding on the Boulevard just to see how many people will Yak about her.
“It cracks me up,” said junior Emily Towler.
One of Eskridge’s favorite memories this semester was a love note from a stranger on YikYak on Valentine’s Day.
Let’s hope Eskridge is reunited soon with her Ripstick.