The thrill of skateboarding — at your fingertips
by Mariko Lamb
Published - 10/04/12 - 01:02 PM | 10483 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pierce Mayne performs spinning fingerboard tricks on his way to winning the first Detour Fingerboards expert-level West Coast Fingerboard event on Sept. 23.      Photo by Don Balch I Village News
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An entrepreneurial group of Muirlands Middle School students are taking their business to the streets with a recently launched company called Detour Fingerboards, a La Jolla-based fingerboard and clothing company.

“Fingerboarding is a scaled-down version of skateboarding,” said Detour co-founder Joseph Liss. “It allows you to perform all of the tricks in skateboarding with your fingers.”

Fingerboarding has been around for years, getting its start in Germany by skaters who needed a hobby when they weren’t able to skate during the cold winter months, said Liss.

“They created wooden fingerboards to stay on the scene,” he said of its origin.

Despite San Diego’s perennial skateboarding weather, fingerboarding is more than just a sport for skaters. Liss’ friend, Brendan, whose muscular dystrophy prevents him from being able to skate, is now a fingerboarding pro.

“My friends and I came up with Detour Fingerboards in the summer for a fun thing to do. It’s now a big part of our lives,” Liss said. “Really, my friend Brendan learned to fingerboard on his own. I did give him a few pointers along the way, but he had the basics down already.”

More than just the board itself, fingerboarding is a complete mini-sport with mini-ramps, rails and park benches to accompany the approximately 4-inch board. Proven to be a sport that just about anyone can learn, fingerboarding simulates real skateboarding with the same “ollies,” “shove-its” and “kick flips” that skaters aspire to achieve.

Detour Fingerboards held a fun-filled kickoff event and fundraiser at Bird Rock Surf Shop in late September to introduce themselves to the community. The young men’s company has also received some enviable corporate sponsorships with the likes of Ezekiel/Sun Diego supporting their efforts.

“I really hope more people get into fingerboarding in the future,” said Liss. “It’s a fun thing to do and a lot of people do it. Fingerboarding isn’t really our job, it’s mostly our passion.”

For more information about Detour Fingerboards, “like” them on Facebook at or follow them on Twitter at @DetourFB.

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