A Newfoundland native has taken his inventive passions to a new level, unleashing a potential game-changing outdoor must-have, the hill-glider
By Dillon Collins
Not a fan of snowboarding or surfing? Unsure if wiping out on pavement is the best way to spend your day? Well, a new and innovative invention from St. John’s born Billy Sullivan is likely the answer to those querys and more.
Sullivan is the architect of the Hill Glider, a cross between a skateboard and snowboard, which allows thrill seekers from novice to pro to shred grassy slopes in style.
the perfect compromise
Sullivan, along with partner Mike Sorokowsky, have tapped into a market that served a multitude of masters. There is the adrenaline rush thrill-seekers crave, while also serving as a perfect tool for those who would not see themselves put at risk with hazardous falls on pavement or worse. The Hill Glider offers that perfect compromise.
“That’s kind of where this whole idea came from, to come up with something that I could still do, and in a forgiving enough environment,” Sullivan shared with The Herald.
“I had a crash one night and this old fellow walked by and said ‘it looks like you bruised your ego more than anything!’ Like wow, could you imagine seeing that on pavement? I said I know, I would be crying.”
A lifelong lover of anything high octane, Sullivan is a former national sailing champion and sport bike racer. The Hill Glider is the result of Sullivan’s inventive mind combined with a continued passion for thrill-chasing.
“I’m a little bit of an inventor and I have other things I work on and they’re interesting and fun. I’ve learned a lot of things in my inventing and that is that there are ideas and there’s a business. Very few times are your ideas worthy of a business. With this, that’s one of the ones we saw, that it had that capability. We’d test out the first initial model and there’d be one more and one more run and we’d say there’s something about this. This is a business.”
The early reception for the Hill Glider has been amazingly positive and not just with young adults. “We have sold to 12 year old girls and 50 year old men,” Sullivan said. “I’ve had people slam on their breaks and come running down the hill at us. They’ll be like ‘WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT! I just saw you surf that hill!” People get really excited. I mean, I’m 45 and I used to have long hair and used to be quite the catch 20 years ago, and it’s been a long time since anyone has told me I was cool, but I tell ya I don’t know how many times I’ve been out riding and you’ll get a group of young people in their 20s and younger and they’ll say ‘looking pretty cool!’ And I’ll be thinking yeah, yeah you’re joking with me, but they’ll say no, you look cool dude.”
‘It’s a blast’
The Hill Glider is currently available for purchase through the brand’s online store, with Sullivan having designs to soft-launch the product through a number of his local retailers in Ontario, and potentially here at home in Newfoundland and Labrador. “It’s a blast,” Sullivan says. “You get that great rush of accomplishment and of finesse. It’s not a chair, you don’t just sit on it and it works. It does take a little bit of balance, but if you can ride a bicycle you can ride this. I don’t know how many times you’ve had people ride the hill and in one shot ride the hill and do it better than us, which is amazing.”
Outside of the obvious entertainment the Hill Glider provides, Sullivan notes that he has found his physical health to be at an all-time highpoint in the time since inventing the Hill Glider.
great adrenaline rush
“In one year of developing this product I’ve never been in better shape. You tend to get this great adrenaline rush from going down and then you get that cardiovascular work and rush of running back up the hill for one more ride. It’s a lot of work to try to start a business from nothing, but when we go for a ride it all makes it worth it,” Sullivan adds. “There are times that are hard and we’d need funding for this or that, but you go for a ride and at the end of it you say yeah, this is worth it.”
To purchase the Hill Glider or for more information visit hillglider.com