Dear All, Dear Friends!
I am happy to welcome you here, and also thrilled to see how many different people have interests in my work! I’ll provide you with some basic and detailed information about me, beginnings and the history, philosophy, future goals and ambitions of my project:
My name is Nico Rayf. I am a passionate Branchboarder and Performer, founder of “Branchboarding” and “Tree of Motion“. Currently based in beautiful Vienna, Austria, where I live, enjoy practicing my work, and perfecting my Branchboarding skills, hoping to be a good example and inspiration for you – future Branchboarders. Of course also for all fans and people around the world in general. (Participate, Follow or Support: Click Here!)
– Branchboarder, Performer
– Founder of “Branchboarding” and “Tree of Motion“
– Body Mass: Height – 177cm (5’7″), Weight – 66/77kg (145.5/170lb)
– Riding Style: Urban Cruising, Street Style (Normal and High-Speed), Downhill
– Stand: Regular and Goofy
– Records: Speed up to 75km/h (46mph), Long Distances up to 25km (15.5mi)
– Number of self-made Branchboards: 5 natural grown models, 1 mimic (clone edition)
Milestones / Timeline
– Finding the branch
– Building my first Branchboard “The Origin”
– My first and second Branchboarding videos (now offline)
– Building more (naturally grown) Branchboard models,
– Registration of the NicoRayf.com domain
– My third Branchboarding video (now offline)
– Creation of “The Monkey” my first Branchboard model without the handle (only for Downhills!)
– Creation of the first Mimic “The Clone” (Prototyping / 3D Model of “The Origin” re-produced in other Material)
– Exhibition / DESIGN BIENNALE / Powerstation of Art, Shanghai, China
– My first SPEED RECORD (60km/h or 37mph)
– Creation of the second generation of Mimics (Test / Limited Edition of 3 models “The Clone” – 2015)
– Official naming and founding of Branchboarding and Tree of Motion
– Registration of Branchboarding.com and Treeofmotion.com domains
– My 4th Branchboarding (and Tree of Motion) video (now offline)
– Publication of the DIY building instructions (Branchboarding also as Open Source)
– First Article about Branchboarding comes out
– Surprising emergence of (my) Branchboarding video (on Facebook – 4.7M views)
– Creation of the first Branchboarding Catalog/Visualization (a book for my personal use only)
– Creation of the third generation of Mimics / Art Edition “Limited 9” (cooperation with Angewandte Robotic Lab)
– Traveling and performing in China (Chengdu, Chongqing, and Changsha)
– Exhibition „Ästhetik der Veränderung” at MAK, Vienna, Austria
– Branchboard “The Clone” (Mimic – 01/09) sold to the Collection of the University for Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria
– Branchboard “The Clone” (Mimic – 02/09) sold to a Private Collection in China
– Exhibition “Creative Robotics” / ARS ELECTRONICA CENTER, Linz, Austria
– Exhibition “Innovative Product” / International Wood, Saw, and Forester Fair / Klagenfurt, Austria
– Further conceptualization and development of the Project
– Creation of the second Catalog/Visualization (a book for my personal use only)
– My second SPEED RECORD (75km/h or 46mph)
– Application for small Funding for the project by Bildrecht Vienna, Austria
– Application for Funding (Art and Design) by the BKA – Federal Chancellery Republic of Austria
– Research and collection of information about extension-options of the project.
– Registration of “Tree of Motion” as an official Brand/Company.
– Branchboard “The Clone” (Mimic – 03/09) got stolen (Night of 2nd September, 7th District, Vienna, Austria)
– First Application (as a Startup) for Funding by the Vienna Business Agency
– Second Application (as a Startup) for Funding by the Vienna Business Agency
– Third Application (as a Startup) for Funding by the AWS – Austrian Wirtschafts Service
– Tree of Motion gets a first Room / HEADQUARTERS of BRANCHBOARDING (2nd District / Vienna, Austria)
– Further development and continuation of the Project
– Creation of the third Catalog/Visualization (a book for my personal use only)
– Application for Funding (Design) by the BKA – Federal Chancellery Republic of Austria
– Work on the Visualization and next official Publication / Decision of going public again
– Branchboard “The Clone” (Mimic – 04/09) sold to a Private Collection in Vienna, Austria
– Now (December) / working on new materials, websites, infrastructure,…
Definitions and Goals
“Branchboarding” is a new type of sport and mobility art that combines branch shapes with (skate-longboard) wheels. Whether a Branchboard considered a piece of sports equipment, a pure means of transportation or a toy is up to the individual. By combining the shape of the branch, type of wood, your body, individual temperament and the landscape, unique and very personal experiences are created.
The philosophy behind Branchboarding focuses on individuality rooted in nature, self-experience, movement experience in the landscape or “Art of Flow in the (Urban) Landscape”, and the combination of an active lifestyle with the fascination of free movement as a form of expression.
Even if the central focus is on mobility, it is about a holistic, nature-related but also technology-related lifestyle.
Branchboarding is also a perfect example of applied art in public spaces. Originating from transmedia art, branchboarding integrates several disciplines, including design and architecture (encompassing material science, geometry, and informatics), natural sciences, landscape art, social design, performance art and body/sports arts from both cultural and physical perspectives (refer, for instance, to Modern Dance or Movement Culture).”
Branchboarding should not be seen merely as the design of one or more “riding objects.” It’s not just a branchboard, but branchboarding as a whole (all the effects of this “idea” within the community, but also in the digital and analog world) that should be seen as a chain reaction, a work of art, a social sculpture. (See: Joseph Beuys / Social Sculpture: “Art that aims to have a formative influence on society.”)
Through their performative public presence, every branchboarder attracts a lot of attention (from people of all age groups and social backgrounds). It’s not just about a unique and nature-oriented design of their “vehicle,” but also about the individual way of dealing with it and the manner of their movement in the landscape. “Art of Flow in the (Urban) Landscape.” At the same time, he/she represents a philosophy, a value system based on fundamental natural principles (and aspects of life) that are universal and timeless. (They are thematized and passed on through strong, straightforward yet complex symbolism). Every branchboarder, with their performative public presence, adds a positive symbolic, visual, aesthetic, and emotional value to the environment and culture, spontaneously potentially inviting others to become a part of it and actively do something good for themselves and their surroundings.”
Extremely interesting are the various geographical, landscape, and cultural backgrounds and the dialogue between people who have decided to build or acquire their branchboard (have it custom-made) and use it in their individual way (where they move daily or also at “special places” of their choice). Some will see their branchboards more as accessories (fashion, design, or art pieces), others will use them to expand their movement patterns or push their limits (in street style or downhills). Some will define branchboarding as an opportunity for amusing and active time with friends or family. This certainly creates a very interesting/valuable dynamic and competitive spirit within the community.
Go to: Branchboarding.com
“Tree of Motion” is the first brand and research project dedicated to ‘Branchboarding.’ Our goal is to make Branchboarding more accessible and easier to experience for others, and to apply the insights gained in developing new approaches and products that help us continue our research more efficiently and safely. Crystallizing universal natural principles and merging them with cutting-edge methods and technologies, we aim to craft unique alternatives that embrace lifestyle and design as well as cultural elements, prioritizing mass individuality over mass production. Also focusing on individuality rooted in nature, self-experience, symbiosis with the environment, and the combination of an active lifestyle with the fascination of free movement as a form of expression.
It’s important to understand that our project enclose the entire phenomenon of Branchboarding and not just the design and sale of a product. It’s about the establishment of a new genre, the development of a complex infrastructure, and the overall phenomenon and documentation of what is being explored within the community and of course by ourselves.
Go to: treeofmotion.com
(Detailed information, my personal perspective)
1. How It Started
Building my first Branchboard, “The Origin,” and founding Branchboarding as a consequence of it wasn’t my original intention. It was a byproduct of another idea I was working on in 2009-2010. I never thought that building a “Big Slingshot” (for shooting small portable vintage car TVs into the air to make my videos fly) would lead to such an adventurous project like Branchboarding, simultaneously having such a significant impact on my life.
I wasn’t a skater or longboarder before, and I also never used scooters (of any kind) for fun or transportation. So when I saw for the first time this “scooter-like looking branch” lying there, in a pile of branches and leftover material from the big Slingshot I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t thinking of mounting skateboard or longboard trucks and wheels on it. My first idea was to make a short art movie or music video (with a green screen in the background), where I would just stand/balance on it and eventually create an illusion of riding or maybe even flying a branch like this. That was the original reason why I took the branch with me back to my studio in the city. Still, the big Slingshot project was my primary goal at this point.
Important to mention is also how I actually got the idea of building a big Slingshot in the first place. Some months before I went to the countryside searching for an optimal branch for the Slingshot, I already saw a good one in Vienna, directly in front of the house I was living in at that time.
One morning (March 2010), on the way to go shopping, I saw the pieces of a felled tree. Underneath, I found the perfect shape for a large slingshot fork. I decided to keep it, put it aside, and take it home on the way back. Fortunately (from the actual standpoint), I didn’t take it immediately, but first went shopping. When I came back, all the branches were gone, even the piece I had put to one side. The material had disappeared, but the idea remained.
It wasn’t a few months later that I told the story to a friend, who then offered to go to the forest in „Krems an der Donau“ with him to look for a new forked branch. I accepted his offer, and a few weeks later, after a storm, we found a broken branch from a huge red beech.
What a twist! The reason why I built my first Branchboard and, subsequently, Branchboarding came to life was a simple “blessing in disguise,” making the whole story more exciting and special. (Random coincidence or mysterious destiny?)
It took a few more months before I again started to think about the “scooter-like looking branch” and the video project I was planning to do with it. I was busy working on other projects, including the “Big Slingshot,” and the branch was standing somewhere in the corner of my studio the whole time.
One day I showed it to someone (a friend who was a skateboarder), and I told him about my idea. Afterwards, he gave me his old skateboard trucks and wheels in case I would want to use them. That is exactly what happened one random evening/night. Driven by a spontaneous impulse, I skipped the (blue/green screen) video idea and went directly for the other analog option, mounting the skateboarding trucks and wheels on the branch, creating my first Branchboard, “The Origin.”
2. Experiencing my First Branchboard
Riding my first Branchboard for merely five minutes revealed something I had never expected – it performed exceptionally well! Not only was it remarkably stable to stand on, but it also felt comfortable in my hand. The act of pushing and steering was incredibly natural, effortless, and smooth. I was immediately hooked! As I ventured both indoors and outdoors, progressively expanding my distances (beginning with circuits around my studio and later in the city), and gradually increasing my speed, my aim was to learn as much but also as safe as possible.
After a short period, perhaps just a few weeks, I made a significant change by swapping out the small, rigid skateboard wheels for larger, softer longboard wheels. The transformation was astounding. In comparison, it felt as if I were gliding or hovering above the ground. This alteration greatly aided me in navigating minor obstacles like stones, cracks, and curbs.
I also came to realize that using conventional wood screws to fasten the skateboarding trucks to the branch was inadequate. Over time, they would loosen due to vibrations. Consequently, I made the decision to employ bolts that goes through the whole wood. This proved to be a wise choice, as it considerably enhanced the strength and stability of my Branchboard. I could feel and hear the difference immediately.
The experience of using natural wood material, a branch with its distinctive shape and texture, standing on a rounded surface rather than a flat one, and feeling the unchanged bark in my hand while simultaneously traversing the city was utterly unique. From the very beginning, utilizing a branch as both a sporting and transportation tool became a daily ritual – something that continually fascinated and challenged me.
Not only was it remarkably easy to ride, and the sensation was unparalleled, but the reactions from onlookers (other people) surprised me immensely. Like me, no one had ever witnessed anything quite like it. It seemed almost too simple and functional to be true! Furthermore, it symbolized something profoundly (super) natural and timeless. Each day, I found myself engaged in conversations with people from diverse backgrounds – regardless of age, gender, nationality, social or political stance, orientation, views, or profession.
Their positive feedback, curiosity, and fascination with Branchboarding were, and continue to be, prominently evident. This served as one of my primary motivations to establish Branchboarding as an international movement, a new cultural genre, and a research project. I aimed to explore its potential and how this “simple” idea might evolve in various directions over time, possibly influencing others positively, just as it had influenced me.
3. A few extra words about safety
I was lucky from the beginning to understand the importance of safety. Like I mentioned earlier, I was trying to learn slowly, gradually, and very carefully to avoid or minimize the possibility of an accident (harming others or myself). The most important thing to remember is not to leave anything to luck or chance. You shouldn’t gamble with it. It’s very easy, in the split of a second, through one unfortunate situation, to negatively influence or even tragically lose your or take somebody’s life! Being focused and prepared for every possible situation you can imagine, but also for unpredictable things, is the basic necessary thing.
Here are some examples: 1. Someone in front of you, who’s walking slowly and straight, jumps to the side unexpectedly. 2. You are riding pretty fast on the sidewalk, some house or car doors open, and someone, also really fast, is stepping or jumping out in front of you. 3. The same with corners. Don’t think naively that: “it will be fine, most likely – there is nobody or nothing, so let’s just go for it.” No! It’s not true. Anytime a person, pet, bicycle, scooter, or a car can unexpectedly cut your way or hit you in a matter of a second!
Another important thing is to be aware that not only things from your surroundings can surprise you, but also that your skateboard/longboard truck, screws, bearings, or maybe the whole Branchboard can have some issues or break unexpectedly. It happened to me a few times! I was very lucky that nothing really bad happened!
At this point, I also need to write that this project is still an experiment and research in an early stage for me. I am not responsible for your decisions or any actions. I also don’t give any safety guarantees for any participation in this project. Building your own or buying a Branchboard and riding it remains your own decision and responsibility. BRANCHBOARDING AT YOUR OWN RISK! When you are underage, you should ask your parents for their permission or guidance. Parents are responsible for their children!
4. Creation of More (Naturally Grown) Models
After I got (more or less) used to my first Branchboard, I became curious about how it would be to ride another branch. Of course, with different properties like size and shape, weight and elasticity, or the distance between the skateboard trucks.
I decided to find some new branches, but I didn’t want to cut healthy, living trees for it. (First, because of nature itself, and second, because of bad karma). I thought it would be nearly impossible to find good material lying somewhere between trees, but I went anyway, taking it easy, thinking that, like in the case of my first branch, it could appear just unexpectedly. Or maybe not.
“Let’s have a nice walk through the woods, enjoy the time, and just see what will happen.” I did it a few times. And, on the other hand, I also contacted city gardeners of Vienna who gave me some tips and also contacts to the Lainzer Tiergarten (wildlife preserve in the southwest corner of Vienna).
After some searching sessions (weeks, maybe months), I collected a few interesting branches I could test. One of the important things I learned after finding these branches was the difficulty of mounting the trucks on some of them. You can have a good branch, but with the wrong positioning (of the trucks) or just one mistake by drilling holes for screws, you can easily destroy the branch.
Of the five different Branchboards I built, three were super-special for me. Of course, the first one, “The Origin,” then “Skinny” (2011), and “The Monkey” (2013).
-> “The Origin”
2011, European beech tree, found at Egelsee/Krems an der Donau, weight: 8 kg, length: 106 cm, height: 115 cm, width: 27 cm including wheels, diameter: top 6 cm, bottom 9 cm, distance between the trucks: 60 cm (It was/is possible to take it as sports luggage on an airplane).
The spaces for the trucks were cut with simple tools such as axes, saws, and files. During the first days, I fixed it with narrow skateboard trucks and small wheels, which were a gift from a friend, using normal wood screws. After the first ride, I was surprised by how well it ran. After this, I noticed that the screws were coming loose due to the vibrations, so I decided to use bolts that go through the wood instead. I also switched to large longboard wheels. The branch was deliberately not painted or varnished to observe the natural process of decay. After four years of continuous riding in all conditions and seasons, cracks started to appear due to the drying process. Some areas of the surface have been polished by the direct contact of gripping, making them shiny. Numerous crashes have also taken their toll in the form of chipped bark, scratches, friction points, etc. The awareness that the branch, in its ideal form which I admire to this day, will constantly change—possibly even break—and my curiosity to test the limits with all its possibilities was the reason to produce a mimic of it: “The Clone.”
2011, Cherry tree, found in Lainzer Tiergarten, Vienna, weight: approximately 3 kg, length: 110 cm, height: 120 cm, width: 25 cm including wheels, distance between trucks: 75 cm.
This branch was very thin and elastic. One could jump on it, like a trampoline. The top had a diameter of about 3 cm, and the bottom was roughly 6 cm. I really enjoyed balancing on the skinny, round surface. The trucks were mounted with wood screws, which repeatedly required tightening. At first, the distance between the trucks (75 cm) made it difficult to jump onto the curb, but after a while, I learned how to handle it. The lightness of the branch gave me a feeling similar to that of gliding on water while always knowing that such a fragile branch could break any second. Being in this state of concentration and focus is irreplaceable for me. One day, I pulled the grip back so hard that the branch broke, and I crossed this threshold, thus experiencing the transience of the branch. The top part (roughly 1 m) remained in my hand, while the rest took off from under my feet, between the cars, in the middle of the street, until it came to a halt on the other side of the road. Since I was aware from the beginning that this would happen at some point, I was not sad or disappointed. My feeling in this moment was more one of accomplishment and liberation. I also knew that I will, of course, find another branch and use the same Trucks and Wheels on it.
-> “The Monkey”
2013, Plane tree, found in the courtyard of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, weight: 15 kg, length: 140 cm, height: approximately 50 cm, width: approximately 60 cm, distance between the trucks: approximately 70 cm.
The name came from the monkey-like face that was naturally grown on it. And maybe also how I felt and looked riding it (like a monkey). The shape of this branch was very different from that of its predecessors. It was closer to a longboard, on which one would stand with spread legs and no longer a scooter that one could grip in the front. Once you were standing on it, it was almost impossible to push to keep going. It was actually more of a downhill-tank. Unfortunately, I was not able to test this branch for more than a year because of drying; the trucks began to warp in opposite directions.
5. Mimicking Nature / “Cloning” My First Branchboard
Even though it wasn’t my original goal to create a copy of a naturally grown branch, I found the idea very interesting. How would it be to ride the same shape of a branch but produced in other materials? How would it be to ride it together with another person, either for fun or in a competition? What differences would we discover between the original branch and the copy? My curiosity was strong, and the opportunity, technical skills, and access to the right machines were all there, so I decided to seize the occasion and go for it. We tried, and indeed, we succeeded, opening up a new dimension in this project. Another unexpected event occurred, leading me to even more interesting experiences and challenges.
-> “The Clone” (Prototype 2013)
In 2013, layered boards-beech, weight: 8 kg, length: 106 cm, height: 115 cm, width: 27 cm including wheels, diameter: top 6 cm, bottom 9 cm, distance between trucks 60 cm.
In 2013, with the help of a friend who is an architect, I was able to produce an exact copy of the branch. First, a 3D model was created, which was then cut out of laminated beechwood plates in an L-shape, using a CNC milling machine. The shapes were then sanded and treated with wood oil. The process required roughly 60 hours of work, consisting of 20-30 hours of scanning, modeling, and machine preparation, 6 hours of cutting and laminating, and about 24 hours of milling. The prototype was produced at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. During the trial period of roughly one year, the copy broke twice. The first fracture occurred while riding when the rear wheels were blocked by an obstacle, and the handle was simultaneously pushed forward with both hands, creating a sharp point that could have easily caused injury. Luckily, nothing happened! After the first incident, the object was simply glued back together and tested further. It broke the second time while I was demonstrating how to jump in front of an audience. A loud crack, and I landed on my butt! I was met by laughter, and the clone had broken in two! After this, I glued it a second time, and the splices are now more stable than the wood itself (it cannot break twice in the same place). The trials were a success, showing both that it is possible to manufacture a functioning copy, as well as revealing room for improvement.
-> “The Clone” (2nd Generation Mimics / Test Edition 2015)
In mid-July, 3 objects previously commissioned at a carpentry were completed. They consist of 3mm layered birch boards, and are more flexible and also 1 kg lighter than beech wood. The surface was roughly sanded so that the milling machine traces were still noticeable (visually and haptically). The objects were also coated with waterproof varnish.
The 3 Branchboards were intensively tested by me and two other friends who are experienced skateboarders. These models are extremely strong and stable. Also, riding three same Branchboards at the same time together through the city was a special (extraordinary) experience. The dynamic between us in the group was very special but also for the people on the streets, it has a performative element visually. It wasn’t one but a group of Branchboarders riding trees. It was the time, shortly before the official names “Branchboard,” “Branchboarding,” and “Tree of Motion” were fixed and then officially published in the year 2016.
-> “The Clone” (3rd Generation Mimics / Limited 9 – Art Edition 2017/18)
A limited Art Edition “The Clone / Mimics Limited 9” was developed in 2017/18, which was realized in cooperation with the “Angewandte Robotics Lab” and the department for wood technology at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. For this purpose, we still used the original digitalized index of the branch “The Origin,” and the material, form, and size did not change. Layered boards-birch, weight: ca. 7 kg, length: 106 cm, height: 115 cm, width: 27 cm including wheels, diameter: top: 6 cm, bottom: 9 cm, distance between trucks: 60 cm. Milled with the help of an industrial robot and not like before in 2013 and 2015 where a standard milling machine was used. This edition was even more exact and slick. Specially after the long process of sanding, first with the machine and secondly by hand. After sanding, each piece was coated twice. We did it for the protection from dirt and water, so Branchboards from this edition are also waterproof. Using a transparent varnish, we made the individual and richly textured laminate layers visible, which made every piece even more unique and beautiful.
In the year 2017, a piece was acquired through the collection of the Univ. for applied arts and showed at the exhibition “Aesthetics of Change” in the Museum for Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna. Also in the year 2018 by “Creative Robotics,” Ars Electronica Centrum in Linz, and as an “Innovative Product” by the International Wood, Saw, and Forester Fair presented in Klagenfurt, Austria. In the beginning of the year 2018, a second piece was acquired through a private collection in China.
The same year later, on the night of 2nd September, in the 7th District in Vienna, one Branchboard from this edition got stolen. It wasn’t a big shock for me at that moment, but I felt a little bit stupid. What was I expecting, leaving it in front of a pub on Saturday night, unlocked? (No matter that I could see it through the window). But on the other hand, what can/will you do with it after stealing an object like this? Ride it? Try to sell it? Hide it and wait for something? Having it in your secret collection? Or maybe someone just used it that night and then threw it into a garbage or a river (Donaukanal or Danube). Who knows? After searching for it that night for 2 or 3 hours, I started to have a better feeling about it and imagined these different scenarios for the future. Which way will the story of the missing Branchboard go? At that point, I still had the other six from this edition, so somehow I could afford to not care about it too much. Besides that, I also knew that I can build new natural grown models from scratch at any time, and that’s exactly what Branchboarding is about—constant movement and change.
-> “The Clone” (3rd Generation Mimic / Black Unique – 2018)
Producing the Art Edition “Limited 9,” I got the vision of a glossy, high-polished, wet-looking, black-painted Branchboard. Just to see how it looks and how it feels to see a materialized version of it, I used the opportunity and indeed, such a piece was created. I mounted smaller trucks and hard, middle-sized black wheels on it, and the effect was amazing! I really liked it a lot from the first moment, and I couldn’t remember owning something so slick and high-end produced. It was a very nice “bonus” to an already great-going project. I never exhibited or used it afterward. It’s still in perfect condition, packed, waiting for the right moment and place to be shown to the public or maybe used in one of my Branchboarding performances. I am really not sure about this; we will see.
6. How Branchboarding Influenced My Body and Mind
It’s common knowledge that daily exercise or movement, in general, keeps you feeling fresh and healthy. In terms of fitness and health benefits, using a Branchboard every possible moment for many months and then years had, of course, some significant physical and mental influence on me. This influence also depended on other factors like seasons, my actual lifestyle (food, sleep, stress exposure, and so on), and my body and mindset changed many times over these years. Before I dive into the details, let me provide a list of both basic and more advanced things I gradually learned over time:
- Standing on a rounded, narrow, and not flat surface (the branch).
- Avoiding kicking the back wheel with my heel while pushing.
- Regulating speed and applying brakes (slowing or stopping using my shoes or other methods).
- Navigating through obstacles on the ground (cracks, holes, stones, etc.).
- Steering effectively at different speeds.
- Jumping up and down (curbs and stairs).
- Maintaining good balance (riding without using my hands).
- Running with a Branchboard in my hand (for rapid stops, maneuvers, and smooth transitions between concrete roads, grass, sand, or water puddles).
- Staying calm and composed in dangerous situations or at speeds I had never experienced before.
One thing I didn’t consider at the beginning was losing weight. Being athletic and not overweight initially, it was a significant change for me. An interesting but also amusing realization was that I lost exactly the weight of the Branchboard I was riding (“The Origin” / 8 kg or 17.6 lbs). It showed how active and dedicated I was from the beginning. There was no plan, just learning by doing.
Another observation was how my breathing changed over time. Riding long distances (up to 25 km or 15.5 mi), my condition and endurance improved significantly.
With time, my existing muscles became stronger, and due to the “untypical movement and exercise,” some new muscles started to develop. Each Branchboard model came with a different set of characteristics, leading to new things to learn from scratch. This variety is what makes Branchboarding so fun and special. It was also crucial to ride my Branchboards using both regular and goofy stances to maintain muscle balance in my body.
While stretching or special preparation before riding wasn’t a part of my routine, I did experience overextension here and there for a few days after particularly intense sessions. However, I never seriously injured myself, possibly due to my riding style and the philosophy of learning carefully, always knowing and feeling the actual limits of my body in the moment.
These are all typical experiences one might expect when starting any type of activity, sport, or fitness routine. I had my share of small accidents and very few more serious ones, each serving as valuable lessons. Some left marks on or in my body, but thankfully, no one besides myself was injured. The most common causes of accidents were curbs, cracks, or stones on my path, accidentally kicking the back wheel while pushing, slipping down from my Branchboard (due to bad shoes or wet surfaces), or sliding sideways with my Branchboard – an unwanted slide due to sand or water on the ground. With more experience, accidents became less common. In the present moment (Summer 2023), I feel super-safe and am in my best shape ever.
One recent focus has been on the many “micro details” my body does automatically, without my conscious intention. It’s fascinating how it works! Right now, I can’t even describe it accurately. Your body does things you can only observe and feel afterward. Perhaps I can call it “minimal latency.” I plan to research and document it more in my future videos.
I truly enjoy the movement itself and the gradual development of my skills on almost every possible occasion. Sometimes, I plan for a long and slow ride to relax and savor the moment, but it often ends up being a long-distance, full-speed run. Something just clicks, and I’m pulled into a special state of mind. It becomes a pure physical reality game with real-life consequences, putting me perfectly in the moment. There’s a unique connection between my mind, body, Branchboard, and surroundings. The landscape doesn’t move, but it’s filled with moving and living elements, all connected by one line – a line that sets me in a state of flow, where I get charged. It provides a great balance to the normal daily routine and overthinking. It’s an excellent method for resetting and collecting myself.
7. The challenging Potential of the Idea Itself
Being a passionate Branchboarder, building my own Branchboards, and loving riding them as often and as well as possible is one thing. Being the first person trying to define and name this phenomenon and, as a result, becoming a founder of Branchboarding and the first brand and research dedicated to it is another. It came unexpectedly, in some sense disruptive and overwhelming, kind of changing the direction of my life.
The early stage was almost purely fun and enjoyment for me. Confronted with all those people, looking at me while riding my first Branchboard, sometimes even screaming after me from a distance. Talking with me, asking questions, sharing their thoughts, feedback, and ideas, but also giving me a lot of tips. Everyone has their interpretation and version of what I should do next and what would be best for the future of the project. Getting to know so many nice people, sharing positive moments and inspiration together, and of course, extremely rarely, but also being confronted with some cases of pure negativity (disapproving looks, head-shaking, mean laughs, and so forth), was a great experience and fascinating for me. It was also something that almost constantly charged my growing ego. Everything was nice and easy, but on the other hand, I needed to learn how to deal with these situations, development, and also with the changes in myself. It’s crazy how intense it can get sometimes and how many stages a process like this can have. I learned a lot from it, not only about myself but also about others. Writing about specific confrontations in detail is not my goal here, so let me continue with the part where something more complicated, difficult, and challenging started to draw my attention, thoughts, and feelings, spontaneously provoking me to act or handle in specific ways. Read More
8. My actual Standpoint (December 2023)
It has been a long and complex journey for me. I’ve explored many different things and options, but at the same time, I didn’t want to compromise too much. I’ve been waiting for the perfect form and moment to make another move (publication or a public action).
Now, I’ve come to a point where not only is my vision (how the project should look and be executed) pretty clear and exact, but also the world is changing in a very interesting way, enabling some great opportunities. So, if not now, then when? Moreover, feels like something liberating has happened. Maybe it’s just a naive and childish projection, but i hope that my approach will remain that way, taking it lightly and with curiosity, feeling that everything is possible. Just playing with it. But still going for something qualitative and really making sense, laying solid ground for what branchboarding will be in the future. I will try to do it as well as I can at the moment. I am also open to your support, opinion, tips/ideas, and interesting collaborations.
For now, I can share my idea and future vision for it, my experience (information and practical skills), and my existing Branchboards with you. I hope that soon, I will be able to expand enough in different directions, grow, and deliver more.
A big part of why I write so extensively about my project and also my personal experiences with it is, first of all, my aim to put all that information together and review it to get clearer for myself. The second part, the publication itself, has a purpose of providing fast access to it, not only for myself or anyone who is really interested but also for potential algorithms, searches, and so on. On the one hand, it’s a form of protection, and on the other hand, I think it can be a good way to make the further development of the project easier.
Good! This is the right moment to describe what my actual plans, goals (but also needs or wishes for the next year) are. I will do it in a simple way, in the form of a list, to make it easier to read, understand, and get a good overview.