BANSHEE BUNGEE: WHIP IT!
By Zach Kleppe
Originally Published in the August 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine
From stand up paddleboards to trampolines to homemade hanging bar systems, kiteboarders do what they can to train and entertain themselves on light or no wind days. Now, kiteboarders worldwide are discovering a new way to up their fun factor while they are waiting for the wind to blow, thanks to the makers of the Banshee Bungee.
We were contacted by Banshee’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Cooper Kalisek, to see if we wanted to try out this new product. After checking out their videos, we were pumped to give the Banshee Bungee a go. Kalisek said Banshee River Boards won the ISPO Brand New Product Award in 2004, which got them international attention. Since then, the company came up with the Banshee Bungee, a specially designed bungee that is stretched out by the rider or several people that can then propel most board riders at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.
The bungee is mainly being used with skim boards (bungee Skim) and as a form of river boarding, but the possibilities are endless with snowboards, skateboards and of course, kiteboards.
The first time setting up the Banshee Bungee was a bit nerve racking as we didn’t know what to really expect. It took us about 15 minutes to get everything ready on the beach. The whole goal is to solidly anchor one end of the bungee out just past the shore break while the rider and one or more people help stretch the other end out across the shoreline. That’s why the system comes with one or multi-handles — for leverage in stretching the bungee out.
How fast you want to launch all depends on how far it is stretched. On the first day, we used my trailer hitch as an anchor and almost took out my truck window. When the bungee is loaded up with all that tension and if the rider falls on the takeoff and lets go, the bungee doesn’t stop — it proceeds to fly through the air or water as if it was a big-ass rubber band that got snapped. We then got a good anchor rated for a 20-foot boat. Real anchors and low profile structures work best for securing the Banshee Bungee.
Be sure not to connect it to any objects that you may run into or in populated areas. Also make sure you have a minimum 20-foot clearance perimeter around the anchored point and bungee and you should keep things safe.
After the first few attempts our courage rose. Or maybe it was due to the immense crowd that we drew, with people cheering us on to go again and again. As we became more comfortable with the system we added in some moves and kept going back for more — even crashing was just as fun at times for the wipeouts.
After getting our fun on the bungee about five or six times, it did get a bit tiring since it is tough to keep pulling the bungee back far enough to launch a person forward at good speeds. Some quit after the sixth run but those who had the strength kept at it until their arms couldn’t take it anymore.
Tips and Other Uses
On days when you might normally be stuck on the beach twiddling your thumbs and looking out over glassy flat water, the Banshee Bungee will allow you to still hop on a board and ride. Take your time setting everything up your first time and test the structure that the Banshee Bungee is being attached to first by slowly stretching it out to its limit with a friend until you’re sure the anchor or structure is strong enough to hold the recoil of the product.
For your first couple of attempts, it’s good not to stretch the bungee out too far so the rider can get used to its pull on takeoff. Also, when anchoring the Banshee Bungee on land, it is also recommended to use strong climbing rope and a heavily rated carabineer clip and to attach one end of the bungee to a solid rail or object that will not give.
The Banshee Bangee can also be used to launch a skater into a skate park without needing the use of a roll-in, or for flat terrain snowboarding where a hill may not be steep enough to offer enough speed to do anything. It can be stretched out to provide the pull and speed needed to launch up onto any handrail or to hit any kicker necessary. Just make sure you have anchored it securely and have that minimum 20 foot clearance. Imagine how a little rubber band feels when it’s snapped on your wrist. Now think about the bungee as that same rubber band and how that may feel coming across a person when the rider falls and lets go of it.
The Banshee Bungee has the potential to launch riders from 0 to 35 mph in about two seconds! It’s ton of fun but you do need to use common sense and your head when using it. For more info and videos, check out www.bansheeriverboards.com
DISCLAIMER: The Kiteboarder’s experience using the Banshee Bungee is its own only and you may experience different results. Use at your own risk.
The Banshee Bungee in Action: