ONE SLICK INVENTION LATEST INFLATABLE ALLOWS SNOWBOARDERS SAME FUN, WITHOUT NATURE.
VALENCIA - Imagine hopping on a snowboard, shooting down a hill and practicing the zips and flips that make superstars on the slopes - in the front yard, without a snowflake in sight.
Extreme slides - a bold version of the jumps rented out for kids' parties - are set to be manufactured by a Valencia company that hopes to bring the inflatable rides nationwide.
Snowboarders, surfers and others can step inside and power downhill on an inflatable, nearly house-high slide.
``This is really just an extreme version of sliding,'' said Forrest B. Phillips, a surfer-turned-inventor who has teamed up with Valencia-based Jumpco to make his product.
``Everybody wants something that's out of the ordinary . . . new and unexplored,'' said Phillips, 32, owner of Worldslide, LLC. ``That's why people will like it, because it's new.''
In the next 30 days, Jumpco, which makes the inflatables used at parties and promotional events, plans to roll out the first versions of Phillips' Sportxlide.
Jumpco, in business for four years, already manufactures about 120 jump products a year - from ``moonbounces'' in 10 characters to inflatable arenas for jousting, they said.
After meeting up with Phillips at a recent trade show, company officials decided to take on his idea, believing it was a step toward the expansion of their seven-employee operation they had been looking for.
``We just think it's a really good idea. It's the next step in this industry,'' said Rick Modglin Jr., Jumpco's senior vice president of design, whose wife, Carla D. Grissom, is the company's sales manager.
``It's another avenue for us to go in, another direction.''
The slides will vary in size, big enough for a park or small enough for a family's yard, and are promoted as a place where board riders can ply their craft without weather or waves.
A practice tool for some, entertainment for others, the slides can offer year-round slopes - or add water for virtual surfing, they said.
``People want to learn how to do 360s . . . but they have to travel for miles. We can bring it to your house,'' Phillips said. ``The thrill of it should be there all year.''
They also say the slides offer a chance to try the extreme board sports in a softer environment than the often bruising ones in nature.
Not to say you can't get hurt sailing down a slope in the big box.
``You can break your neck, you can break your arm, you can get seriously injured,'' Phillips said.
But he said, the slide absorbs the shock of falling, helping to avoid injuries that can come from landing on a harder surface.
They make it ``more like powder than ice,'' he said
``Kids and parents, they get so worried about hurting themselves, it seems like the right answer for them.''
They envision leasing the products out - for special events, promotions, parties, practice - possibly starting at $1,000 a day, with an instructor, Grissom said.
That's about twice the cost of a larger inflatable, like the jousting arena, and more than the $75 a day for a moonbounce, Grissom said.
Offering a ride on an extreme slide has been the dream project of Phillips, a Napa-based inventor, who said he came up with the idea in the wake of his own interest in extreme sports.
Growing up in Santa Cruz, Phillips said, he dropped out of high school his senior year and spent time traveling and waiting tables, but knew as a child he would become an inventor.
When the idea came to him, he started working on prototypes and knew he was onto something. He now has two patents, and two others pending, he said.
He's also created a line of products - slip tape and slip cases - to convert boards for use on the slides. The products protect the slides from the board's edges, he said.
``It took me waiting tables, being a carpenter, borrowing money from my family,'' he said.
``I know this was my destiny. It's been a mission. I see success at the end of the tunnel here.''
(1 -- color) Forrest B. Phillips, who teamed with Jumpco in its latest venture, heads down the slopes of the new Extreme Sportxlide.
(2 -- color) Displaying an adapted snowboard that can be used on the Extreme Sportxlide, Forrest B. Phillips now touts himself as a successful inventor.
David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jan 11, 2001|
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