Sitting Down With The Ripstick Gang

The trend that is taking over campus

Since the beginning of September, students on campus have seen an increasing number of outdoor activities taking place. Whether playing spikeball, shooting hoops on the basketball court, or chilling on a porch, students have been finding ways to enjoy the fresh fall air. But one of the most popular outdoor activities on campus this fall has students getting back to their grade school days: ripsticking and scootering. When inquiring about how this trend got started, there seems to be three names that students know as the people who started the “Ripstick gang” and who can regularly be seen ripping around campus. I sat down with Ryan Flokstra, Laura VanLuyk, and Erica Van Hoffen to get the behind the scenes look on how their passion got started. 

When asked what got him into ripsticking, Ryan claims that it was “the call of God.” On what he describes as “one fateful afternoon,” he came across a ripstick in a thrift store and claims that it has been “love at first sight ever since.” After this initial purchase, it did not take long for Laura and Erica to follow suit. As a newcomer, Erica felt “very unqualified” to ripstick, so she purchased a scooter. Showing that there is something for everyone, the ripstick gang was born. Now, Laura and Erica have converted their dorm (and soon, their whole row) into avid ripstickers. 

There are many appealing aspects of scootering and ripsticking, and these three avid spokespeople of the sport were keen to share their favourites. “I like going down hills so I don’t have to work as hard,” says Laura, adding that “you can make it to the school in a minute and fifty-two seconds.” Ripsticking to school is also a favourite of Ryan’s, who has converted other friends into ripsticking to school. For all the speed demons out there, Erica recommends scootering. “I like going fast,” she admits, “I feel unique, empowered, and fast: the holy trinity.” 

On campus, Laura claims that the best place to ripstick is right in front of dorm 28. “It has a good hill, but not too much,” Erica says. “We’re very thankful that Redeemer redid their pathways,” Laura adds, “because it’s smooth and it tastes good.” In the future, it sounds like a trip down the mountain (on the ripsticks) may be in the cards!

When asked about how it feels to be trendsetters on campus, all three say that they feel a certain level of pride and fondness towards new first years who are picking up the sport. Erica claims that Laura has always been a trendsetter, while Ryan says that his mother is extremely proud of what he has accomplished. Erica says that her motto for scootering and being a trendsetter is this: “As Bill Gates once said, ‘I am not in competition with anyone but myself. My goal is to improve myself continuously,” showing that even in activities such as scootering, there is always an opportunity to be improving. For students on campus this fall, Ryan, Laura and Erica all agree that ripsticking and scootering is a great hobby to pick up. Erica confirms that “with social distancing… it’s one of the activities you can do with friends while not touching them.” For others, it’s a chance to get back to their roots, as Laura and Erica state that it gives the chance to be “one of the cool kids from grade school. You also know who was the cool kid in grade seven. If they can just get on the ripstick and go, you know that they had a pool party and the whole class came.” Or in the words of Ryan, it allows you to answer the call of the void. 

And as for advice for future students looking to hop on the bandwagon? “Always be checking Facebook marketplace!” says Laura. Borrow a ripstick from a friend, or pull your ripstick or scooter out of the garage and test your grade 7 skills. Take a little break from studying to enjoy some of the childish pleasures in life, you might actually enjoy it. Maybe next in the cards is a ripstick hockey tournament, or a scooter race, or someone gifting President Graham a ripstick… the possibilities are endless. “Don’t be afraid to look stupid,” Laura encourages first year students, with Ryan adding, “If it looks stupid, but it works, it ain’t stupid.” Let’s hope that this trend continues to grow this fall and spread and provide enjoyment for university students who deep, deep down, are all still seventh graders at heart.


Corrina Servos