We recently had a chance to sit down with Kyle Hanson and AJ Balanza of Wheelfunstuff! This team is made up of AJ, the videographer, and Kyle, the rider. They have been good friends for several years and have been blowing up the Onewheel scene with incredible content. Their Instagram already has over 6,000 followers and they are just getting started.
Onewheel.Prorecently had the chance to interview them and understand how they put together such amazing content for the community. One of my first questions directed at them was:
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU’RE RIDING!?”
Kyle: (Laughing) That’s such a good question because it depends what I’m doing. If I’m doing a banger I’m not thinking about anything I’m just going for it! But if I’m cruising the streets I just feel free and like I’m flying just floating around light like the way to live life.
AJ: You know most of the time I’m just sitting there watching because he’s so fucking crazy I never know what he’s thinking. But other times I’ll see something and I’ll be like “Yo Kyle, can you hit this”? And sometimes he won’t hear me and he’ll just do it. Then other times he’ll hear me and say you’re a fucking idiot, no, no one can do that. Then he’ll do it anyways.
WHEELFUNSTUFF INTERVIEWClick the Soundcloud link below to hear the full interview
"You guys were relatively new to the community when you went to FloatLife Fest 3. Can you share what being at that event was like for both of you? What did you guys walk away with after attending that event?"
Kyle: Dude, FloatLife Fest was Amaaaaazing! Anybody with a Onewheel should go to it, I can’t even explain how great it is! Everyone is there and everyone is different and riding Onewheel, so we all have this thing in common that we all get and understand. We don’t have to explain how much we love Onewheel because everyone there is having the same stoke level, it’s so sick!
AJ: I love FloatLife Fest! It’s crazy because you picked me up from the airport super late on Friday night, so all I really had to experience was all day Saturday. What blows my mind is I did minimal riding, all I ever did was ride from location to location to see what was going on. But the techniques I learned and watching the people I met instantly made me a better rider overnight!
"I would say without FloatLife Fest I would not be the rider I am today"
Videographer for Wheelfunstuff
To learn more about other awesome Onewheel athletes like Wheelfunstuff click here!
Sean Nelson has been a part of the Onewheel community for about three years now. He is known for his solid curb tricks. With a skateboarding past following him into middle age, Sean immediately fell in love with Onewheel. After the shortest demo session ever recorded in modern history he knew he had to buy one immediately.
I first noticed Sean’s riding in the Onewheel Owners group on Facebook. He posted a video of himself crushing a parking block and doing some noseslides. (I thought to myself, damn he’s killing it! He’s definitely a skater) So I reached out to him and started getting to know him better and sure enough, I was right. He spent most of his youth skateboarding and later got into other hobbies like professional rock climbing trucks. Sean grew up inSaskatoon,Canada, but now lives in British Columbia with his wife and two sons.
Sean and I have been friends now for about three years and we were roommates for FloatLife Fest 2. What I noticed about him right away is how much intensity he rides with. He doesn’t half ass it! Whenever Sean Nelson is riding Onewheel, you can be sure he’s putting in 100% of his energy into it. He is constantly working on landing new curb tricks and slides that take time to master with lots of practice. Anyone watching him ride Onewheel can immediately tell he has plenty of talent and he knows what he’s doing with the board.
“The Bearings Guy”
Sean is also know as “the bearings guy” in the community. He has a great instructional and in-depth video on how to swap/repair Onewheel bearings. You can see that video below which was recorded by Bradley Micheal Spence from Shreddlabs and Boulder Denim.
A couple of things I think people don’t realize about Sean is how big he is. Sean is 44 years old and carries a solid frame, meaning when he falls during Onewheel practice he can fall hard. But luckily, he wears plenty of safety gear when riding. Healways wears his helmet, which recently saved his life after a very hard spill he took last year. Wrist guards, elbow, and knee pads are also standard uniform for the experienced veteran.
Sean has also been able to get his whole family involved with Onewheel. His wife and two sons now each have their own boards. When they take vacation trips, they all bring their Onewheels and ride together as a family. Sean is very proud his family shares the same passion for Onewheel as he does. He is a model example of what a Onewheel community member, rider, and father should be. Sean is a very giving person and is also part of the Stokelife Service Network,he is always willing to help out community members.
To hear the full interview with Sean Nelson, please click below on the SoundCloud link.
Check out some of the other top Onewheel athleteshere
The latest product launch by Armor Dilloz is straight fire...Literally!!!
Onewheel.Pro Product Review
OWP: Thanks for giving us an interview Cory, and sharing the Armor Dilloz story! Tell us where you are from and how you became involved with Onewheel?
I was born in the mountains of Durango Colorado and spent most of my youth in the Four Corners region. Mostly on one side or the other of the Colorado/New Mexico border. Now I spend most of my time in Miami – which, of course, is awesome! I was interested in the Onewheel the moment I saw the V1 on Kickstarter and had read a few things about it. I had never seen one and without there being much public opinion, I just wasn’t sure if it was what I wanted. But, living in Miami, I was missing the mountains and my snowboard. Still, I waited and held off on the first Kickstarter. Figuring I would find a chance to ride one and see if I wanted one. I got busy and lost track without ever getting on one, but then the Plus was announced.
After reading about the improvements, I got a feel for how much people were enjoying them. My credit card may have broken the sound barrier as it was whipped from my pocket when the second Kickstarter campaign was announced. I ordered within the first hours, and it was one of the better decisions I’ve ever made. Today, I’m approaching 20K miles of riding and love the ability to ride all around Miami. It gives me that feeling of snowboarding, but I’m not cold and never need to buy a lift ticket. I love the practicality of commuting to work, doing grocery shopping, and just going to the local brewery. It is so convenient and fun!
OWP: Which is your hometown Onewheel crew and how often do you do group rides?
SoFLOW Crew! I know I’m biased, but this is an amazing group of dudes, and I’m lucky to call such great dudes friends – we have The master himself – Chris Richardson, the absolutely insane Jamie T, The one and only Lukasz, and of course, Vitto Campuzano – the OG founder of .Pro itself and the dude that I met on my first group ride way back when, and a ton of other incredible guys and girls – far too many to actually list, but each one of the crew here is honestly amazing in their own ways.
OWP: When did you think about becoming a vendor to the community and how did you get the idea to create your first product Armor-Dilloz Tire Sealant, tell us about that process.
So, fun fact: Dilloz wasn’t actually our first product – at the time we brought that to market we were actually deep into the development of our plates, and were working with FlightFins at that time to release the aluminum FF Flight Guards, as well as nearing the completion of testing on our Overkill Stainless Plates that we sell in-house. We’d been at it for some time at that point, having lost the first two rounds of production to poor quality control and material waste, we had lost nearly $5,000 before we were able to get a product that met our standards.
The tire sealant business was born entirely out of my frustration at losing a tire on a monthly basis. I had so many punctures from riding around Miami! It is not cheap to replace and a loss of free time. I would rather be riding my Onewheel instead of changing a tire. We quite literally tried just about everything you could buy, and certainly had given a shot to everything popular. Some worked ok, but none of the products did what I wanted.
Getting the Right Mix
I do like to push the limits. So, I figured what the hell, let’s source over $1000 worth of products and mix them together. I wanted the best attributes of a couple of different products, but wanted to make all the magic happen in one product. We tried to see if we could really get something special that will do exactly what I wanted. That first day testing it we ran over everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING! Everything that we had seen failures on before. We picked out nails from the tire, and broken glass, but it was sealed. Finally we got it to fail by running over the bottom of a broken bottle and leaving a huge gash.
It was at that point it became obvious that the efforts had paid off! We were getting the results we needed in these thin slicks, something we weren’t really sure was actually possible. It felt pretty awesome, knowing I’d finally be able to actually wear out a tire instead of losing it. Typically, I would get a puncture before I even got to 800 miles on my tire. At the time, we didn’t view it as a product that we would be selling much of. We had expected to just sell a few bottles a month to a few friends. I knew a few who I was sure would want to buy their way out of the headache of punctured tires. It was NEVER expected to become popular really though, as we thought it was simply too costly.
Armor Dilloz is Born
It was something we wanted for our little group of riders, but we didn’t need seven gallons of it! This was the very minimum I could buy/make to get the blend I wanted. The one thing that my girlfriend was certain of was that I did not need $1000 worth of tire sealant. So, that’s how Armor-Dilloz, the product, came to be. The name Armor-Dilloz, which is a DBA under my corporation Overkill Inc., was Ky Miller’s idea. I asked him to draw me a logo of a Onewheel with an ‘armored tire’. I had the idea of a steel armor plate covered tire. Something where they were riveted together, like the angular Batmobile wheel covers.
Ky then created that awesome adorable curled up Armor-Dilloz as a tire on a OW, and I was in. I thought it was AWESOME! And in fact, we just commissioned Ky to do an updated ‘Dillo companion for our Draggin’ Tail stickers. We also just announced the first shirt in our apparel line, featuring the Overkill Inc. skull logo! So, we are having a ton of fun and it is wonderful to solve problems for other riders. It is a good feeling knowing that our effort has saved rides and kept tires out of landfills. We are trying to make the sport more enjoyable by eliminating most flats and low-pressure issues.
OWP: Some time back, you witnessed an awful crime of hit and run in Miami-Florida where the person hit was severely hospitalized. Tell us what happened and how you were able to apprehend the driver of the vehicle.
Yeah, that is a bit of a story isn’t it? I was coming back from the local brewery J. Wakefield. (They have excellent stuff, and I love their sours and pastry stouts!) I was with my wonderful girlfriend Anna who was on her bike, and me on the Onewheel. As we turned onto Miami Ave, we heard a HUGE bang! I saw a car on the sidewalk about 2 blocks up. I chuckled and started to comment to Anna about this one being a special sort of idiot!
But then the screaming started. Those screams were the sort that haunt dreams and curdle the blood. The screams were of a daughter and wife who believed they had just watched their father and husband being run down and murdered. Even from two blocks away it was already obvious I knew it was going to be bad. I told Anna to call 911, and I jumped on the board and went to the scene with the idea of rendering aid and comfort.
As I started down the road, the car DROVE OFF!! As I was arriving at the scene, I saw the man who had been run down. He was being helped by a small crowd. The road sign he ran over had ripped the oil pan and transmission open. The victim had been hit and thrown 15 feet through the air. He was also crushed under the car as the driver took off. The video of that whole thing is disturbing.
I continued riding towards the car stopped at the light two blocks ahead of me. But the driver paused and waited for traffic. When I caught up, I snapped a picture of the license plate. I then went to the window to stop the guy, but he took off. He then turned right onto NE 29th street and headed towards the ocean.
So, naturally, I followed along – being careful to not overdo it and nosedive! (Literally repeating to myself, don’t nosedive, don’t do it, stay under control man) After about two more blocks, Shawn Alarcon came FLYING by me in his car. Shawn owns the shop the guy was run down in front of. This dude left his shop open and trusted customers to watch it while he helped me to give chase. This was just before we crossed the railroad tracks on 29th in Midtown.
At this point we are about a half mile from the scene, and there is a red light. Plenty of traffic stopped up and coming in the oncoming lanes too. Good deal. I get up there, and ID the car both by the plate, and the human sized hole in the windshield. At that point, I yell to Shawn (who I did not yet know) that this was the guy, and to block him in. Shawn did a great job of keeping the right-hand side of the car controlled and blocked in.
So, I then started yelling at the driver to get out of the car, five, maybe six times! He turns towards the front of the car, away from me, and it is obvious he’s looking for an out.
Side note: I do not know if you have ever broken a side window on a car. But I have, for various reasons, needed to break a few of them. They are damn near impossible to break unless you get it right. I did not have a glass breaker, but I did have a 30lb sledgehammer that I like to ride around town! I grabbed the Onewheel and WOW! That baby goes through the safety glass like a hot knife through butter.
Once I had the window popped, I reached in and restrained the guy with a friendly choke hold. (Arm-bar, against the seat, a bit unorthodox, but… effective for sure) I then put the car in park and turned off the key with my left hand. At that point, I needed to get the door unlocked and opened. But I needed my right hand for this, so I switched hands. I then changed over to a Homer Simpson style single handed choke, while I opened up the door of the car.
Once I had it open, I just went 100% on the forced extraction. Probably a bit of overkill but I was not in the mood for any further resistance. Mind you, I did not leave a scratch on him – the blood was all mine from the glass. At that point, I was met by Shawn on the sidewalk. I asked him to help me get the guy down without hurting him. This dude was trying his best to fight and get away. But he just did not have a darn chance at all. Shawn and I settled him on the ground. I had my knees ‘massaging’ his inner upper arm with all my 225lbs on it. I took out my phone and took ID photos of the guy just in case he did manage to get out and away somehow. (yes, the infamous ‘teabagging’ shots)
It turned out to be 100% unnecessary as the first police cruiser showed up in less than 1 minute. (Stellar response time – but they probably got fifty 911 calls) Then it was a fun filled evening of chatting with officers and traffic homicide detectives for the next three hours.
OWP: Did you maintain in contact with the victim and how is he doing now?
I do! We did a few fund raisers for him in the Onewheel community as well as in our charity rare whiskey groups, primarily The Angel’s Share. (THANK YOU ALL AGAIN SO MUCH!) All told, we raised over $5,000 for Eric and it did make a great deal of difference for him and his family! It was his only source of income. Eric will have lifelong effects from this, as he suffered a serious brain injury. But physically he has healed VERY well, and he is progressing AMAZINGLY well! One would not mostly be able to notice or tell. But he tells me that HE most certainly knows. We keep saying we are going to go out for dinner, but we just have not made it happen yet. I intend to correct that unfortunate continued oversight soon.
OWP: One of your other hobbies besides Onewheel is photography, tell us about that and how long you have been a photographer?What type of equipment do you use?
Oh, yeah, I love doing that! Artistic creation is such a pure joy. (It’s part of what I love about doing the metal plates) I’ve been competing at DPChallenge.com for well over a decade now. It is fair to say that I have been an enthusiast for several decades now. At one point, I was selling my photos in a gallery called Three Cranes in Socorro New Mexico. But having moved away, I let that lapse as more important concerns were taking my attention.
I wanted to capture this sport well and get back into some landscape and wildlife photography. So, I actually dumped about $20,000 into new Canon gear a year or so ago. I tend to run fast primes but, really, the fact is that we have gotten some great shots with our cell phones too. After all, the best camera is always the one you have when you need it.
OWP: Is there a website or place you share your photography?
You can find it in SO many places, I have probably forgotten half of them. But the one that matters to me is http://cory.dpchallenge.com as it has some of my favorite work. The idea there is they announce a topic, and you have a week or two to plan, shoot, edit and present for voting. They are strict about editing rules and other things making sure it pushes you to grow as a photographer. Joey Lawrence started there as a young kid; about the same time, I did. He went on to shoot the posters for Twilight and now works for National Geographic. It has turned out a stream of simply stellar photographers.
OWP: You recently dropped one the most exciting products in the Onewheel community called Draggin Tail, tell us what it is and how you came up with the idea as well as the process you went through to make it a reality.
Well, you see, I’ve always been a HUGE fan of fireworks! The idea of combining Onewheel with something like was irresistible. We have been playing with different methods for years. It got serious about a year ago when we decided to really do a killer product. We went through SO many designs. Some worked, a few tried to kill me, and some failed so fast it was comical. We also discovered that if you hit an expansion joint, or anything that stops the board by grabbing the tail, it will either break the tail, or it will break the board. It is why we designed the product the way we did. So that it is VERY strong but will fail before the board does. It keeps both the expensive hardware and the rider as safe as possible.
OWP: You have already sold out of Draggin Tail, when can the community expect the next batch back in stock?
NEXT WEEK BABY! It may be challenge keeping them in stock, we hope not, but the pandemic is providing some significant challenges for us in our supply chain. However, we will do all we can to ensure a steady supply. We are keeping the sale price of $50 until July 4th !!
OWP: Looking towards the future, what type of upgrades would you like to see in the next version of the XR?
Power. Just power. I need it. The board would be so much more amazing off road for us big guys if it just had more power. (and yes, I know I sound like Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor here…)
OWP: How has Onewheel and being part of the community changed your life and what do you appreciate most in this growing board sport?
It has been huge! I continue having so many new awesome friends and experiences. I literally live my life around this sport now. The community continues growing and I love meeting new riders every week. It is so exciting and cool, what a great time to get to be a part of this awesome thing!
OWP: Does Armor Dilloz have any other product launches planned for 2020 you would like to share with the community?
We are in the process of bringing our first apparel items to market and have some VERY cool stuff in the pipeline. Though, we are focusing on is decidedly community related for the rest of 2020. If FM announces a new board, we’ll scramble and continue making some cool stuff as fast as we can.
OWP: Thank you for your contributions to the community and taking the time to sit down with Onewheel.Pro Cory!
Thank you, it was great to finally have an opportunity to get all the little details on a few of these things right. I cannot wait to read all these wonderful works from our friends!
To learn more about other awesome third party Onewheel vendors like Armor Dilloz please click here!