University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Photo of a group of young people skateboarding.
Photo Courtesy of Razor Inc.

Sidewalk Surfin’

Professor Mark Kortschot has invented a new kind of skateboard

Since the first skateboards appeared in the 1950s, they have evolved from crude wooden planks with metal rollers to sleek, symmetrical boards with polyurethane wheels. Now Professor Mark Kortschot has put his own stamp on the iconic “sidewalk surfer,” creating a version so small it can be stuffed into a backpack.

Kortschot, 49, says he has always been interested in transportation devices, and wanted a quick way to get around the St. George Campus, where he has taught engineering for 22 years. He researched the market and found a need for a portable, smooth-riding board. “There was clearly a niche there,” he says.

Kortschot’s creation, dubbed the Sole Skate, is, at 43 centimetres long, about half the length of a typical board, has three wheels instead of four and weighs only one kilogram. After applying for a patent, he presented the idea to Razor, a California company best known for its aluminum scooters, who decided to make and sell the board. named the Sole Skate one of the best toys of 2010, dubbing it a “small and agile skateboard replacement.” Oh, and most important? His sons, aged 19 and 22, have pronounced the board “cool.”

Official Sole Skate™ Ride Guide

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