Two variations in the highly popular caster boards, the differences between the Ripstik and the Waveboard are largely cosmetic. Both are two-wheeled variations on the more traditional skateboard that are used without the need to put your feet on the ground, and both have similar operational requirements, so a purchasing decision between the two is largely based on personal preference.
The Waveboard made its debut in 2004 and grew rapidly in popularity. In its attempt to capitalize on the growing market, the Razor Company, makers of the popular Razor scooter, released its own version of the product, the Ripstik, two years later. Because of the marketing muscle of Razor, the Ripstik has some advantages in reaching its customer base.
The caster boards are designed to simulate surfing or snowboarding while riding a two-wheeled board that allows you to speed up and change direction without putting your foot down on the ground. Riders create speed and direction by bending their knees and twisting their hips to propel the board forward.
For both the Ripstik and the Waveboard, two plastic platforms are connected by a metal torsion bar that allows the two platforms to rotate independently. Casters with wheels made of polyurethane ride along the ground to keep the board moving.
The Waveboard tends to have more colorful designs, while the Ripstik stays with solid colors and a basic look. The Ripstik has a slightly longer torsion bar and smaller wheels then the Waveboard, and the foot plates have a different shape. In general, however, both products provide essentially the same user experience.
A choice between the two essentially comes down to user preference. Riders would go with the product that feels the best or has the look they prefer, but both provide a nice alternative to traditional skateboarding.