Wong Yat-hei talks to Hong Kong's pioneering master of the miniature skateboarding brigade.
Developed by extreme American skateboarder Lance Mountain, finger skateboarding first caught the heart and imagination of Leo Tang Kin-wai, owner of Hong Kong's Skate City Shop, five years ago.
'One day I saw some information about finger skateboarding on the internet and was totally attracted to it,' he says. 'It is so convenient ... you can almost do it anywhere - on the coffee table at home, on tables and chairs in parks, in restaurants, anywhere, as long as you can do tricks.'
Tang says he still enjoys regular skateboarding, but does more finger skateboarding because it is more convenient, sometimes up to five hours a day without feeling bored.
Skateboarding has emerged as the world's most popular X-game, but to achieve a high level in the sport, skateboarders have to practise for years and endure countless injuries from falls. Finger skateboarding, according to Tang, is a great alternative - almost as much fun and a lot less dangerous.
The 'sport' was virtually unknown in Hong Kong before Tang took it up.
Tang says the skills involved in finger skateboarding are much more diverse than regular skateboarding and much easier to master.
'Finger skateboard tricks are so creative that professional skateboarders often use them to rehearse or create new tricks. Our fingers by nature are much more flexible than our bodies so the tricks that we can perform on a finger skateboard are much more diverse than what we can do on a regular skateboard - and you never get hurt.'
There are two main types of finger skateboards - plastic and wooden. The plastic variety, which costs HK$40-50, is best for beginners. Advanced players use wooden boards, which are more flexible and bear more resemblance to a regular skateboard. Wooden boards cost from HK$200 to HK$300.
Tang says finger skateboards can be used straight off the rack and there is no need to invest in any additional equipment. Becoming an expert is simply about regular practice and learning new tricks.
'My customers and I talk about finger skateboards all the time. There are various online videos demonstrating tricks, but interaction with other finger skateboarders is the best way to learn,' he says.
Tang says most finger skateboarders are secondary school students, but some fathers and sons also play as a bonding activity. He hopes that one day it will become popular and it will be possible to see people finger skateboarding on tables in parks.
Kelvin Leung Hoi-fung, a Form Two student from PHC Wing Kwong College, says he was fascinated by finger skateboarding from the moment he first saw it on television. He visited more than 20 toy shops and skateboard stores around Hong Kong but had no luck finding one.
Finally, he found Skate City Shop through an online search. Hoi-fung launched his new hobby by buying a finger skateboard and a mini-ramp.
'It is so much fun playing skateboard with your fingers,' he says. 'I can play whenever I want. There's no need to worry about not being able to play on rainy days. I can't wait to go home.'
To learn more about finger skateboarding, visit www.skatecityshop.com