SAN DIEGO — Imagine balancing on a board with just one wheel, then hurtling yourself down the side of a mountain as fast as you can, while three others racers try to take you off your line.

Kyle Hanson of Mira Mesa does that and does it better than most. In August, he won the Onewheel World Championship at the 2022 Race for the Rail.

“Racing with all those guys and I know how fast they are, so it was pretty surreal,” Hanson said. “Even now it’s insane that I won the race.”

The 28 year-old from Mira Mesa rolled over the downhill course with the fastest time to claim his first title in a relatively new and very unique sport.

“It’s like an electric skateboard, kind of,” Hanson explained. “It’s got one wheel so it’s all about balance. So you’re constantly on this balance board, just flowing through wherever you are: trails, dirt, sand, any terrain which is so crazy.”

“It’s kind of a combination of surfing, snowboarding, skate boarding and then all-terrain,” he continued. “That’s what makes it amazing.”

Hanson says his background comes from skateboarding. He says he only picked up the sport three years ago and hones his skills on mountain bike trails around San Diego, surprising himself with the terrain his onewheel can handle.

Hanson estimates his onewheel can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, but he says his greatest improvement comes from doing tricks at much slower speeds.

“I attribute that to all the tricks I do,” Hanson said. “Because I’m throwing the wheel around in the craziest positions that you would never do just riding. So I think having the board feel in those positions really helps a lot.”

In the open space behind his Wheel Fun Stuff racing shop in Mira Mesa, Hanson takes lap after lap, becoming one with his wheel.

He earned $10,000 for his victory in the Race for the Rail, though he admitted that he would race for free.

“It’s super-enjoyable,” Hanson said. “It brings a meditation feel and everything so it’s pretty awesome.”