By Ronni Shulman
That’s easier said than done, but for Enrique Cubillo it was an outright challenge. Indeed, for the life-long skateboarder and bicyclist, Raynaud’s was the impetus to create a new sport. SpikeBoarding (www.spikeboarding.com), Cubillo claims, has the potential to become as popular a racing sport as NASCAR.
“I raced bikes since I was 30, and I won many races,” he says. “A few years ago, I noticed my feet became white and my fingers were freezing although I wore layers of protective padding, socks and gloves. Some of the other racers were wearing fingerless gloves, and they were fine,” says the 52-year-old Spanish-born New York City resident and commercial photographer. A fellow athlete told him he had Raynaud’s, a diagnosis confirmed by his physician father.
Bike racing requires year-round training, and New York winters can be very cold. “Your hands are grabbing a frozen bar and your feet have all their blood displaced,” Cubillo points out. He turned to running to stay in shape, but he said the injuries were “devastating.” He was told that injuries were common to the sport, making it an impractical alternative.
So he set to work. “I had no intention of creating a sport,” he says. “I was just looking for a way to engage my core and back while exchanging blood flow in my hands and feet.” He returned to a childhood favorite—the skateboard. But instead of using it for daredevil feats, he wanted to use it as an endurance machine.
Essentially, SpikeBoarding incorporates a modified skateboard along with a Nordic-type ski pole to propel the body forward for distance or uphill climbs. The motion of the sport looks exactly like Nordic roller skiing, using the same muscles, says its innovator (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD5dFFK5MJA).
The new sport has two strokes, Stand Up Spike and Cubi-X-Cross, the latter of which involves kicking with both legs and spiking with both arms. He also created a company, SUSOIX (suh-soy) to promote the sport and produce spikeboards and the company’s patented SpikeBoard Spike®. SUSOIX is an acronym that stands for Stand Up Spike (SUS), and OIX are the three race symbols on SpikeBoarding race courses.
“SpikeBoarding is the sister sport to Nordic skiing, as simple as that,” he says. “It delivers all the same things that a Nordic skiing does, only it’s less complicated.”
The sport is fully functional in all four seasons as recreation or local transportation. The engagement of the feet and hands in cold temperatures makes it ideal for endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts with or without Raynaud’s.
“You can literally use it right out the front door,” Cubillo says. His website includes videos of SpikeBoarding in use, including one of a user traveling along a snowy city street.
SpikeBoarding delivers a development of core and stamina. The feet and hands get a gentle and constant massage that keeps the blood flowing. It’s not a cure for Raynaud’s, Cubillo notes, but it makes being out in the cold much more bearable. “I still buy Grabber® toe warmers by the box,” he says.
“Single digit temperature days used to destroy me on a bike. Now if the weather is 17 degrees below zero, I just say, ‘No worries, SpikeBoarding is going to keep my fingers toasty!’”
“The fact is had I not had Raynaud’s, it is very likely I would have never innovated the sport,” he told the Raynaud’s Association’s founder and chair Lynn Wunderman. Now, he says, SpikeBoarding is the beginning of a “transport sport,” blending athletics, fitness, transportation and fun for virtually all ages.
Check out the website, www.spikeboarding.com for more information.