Current Direction

As our millions of readers know, or have deduced, or perhaps don’t care, I am going my own way in Freestyle, and by “own way” I mean I’m advancing into the past. In some ways.

I’ve not had a chance to really ride that General Issue retro-clone from my previous post, but my spirit is still guiding me toward a more Peralta-like freestyle, free of the obsession with flipping the board and general frustration. Doubling down on my efforts to flow.

I’ve recently been able to return to my outdoor Zen Temple of Freestyle, having been fully vaccinated against the damned virus. It’s a spot that tends to have a little pedestrian traffic just outside our public library. For the last year I’ve not felt comfortable, even outside, potentially breathing the pathogen-infused air of the great unwashed masses, so I’ve been skating in an empty parking lot. BUT now I have returned to my spot, and I’ve returned on a bigger board.

Now, I don’t necessarily think a bigger board is right for everyone. I am fairly tall. A little over 6′. Frankly, I think freestyle on an 8.25″ x 32.25″ standard newschool board looks kind of bad for people below a certain height (and I’m not really sure what that height is). My partner here, David, looks fine on a standard size board, but there are some skater out there who really look kind of odd on such a deck. Even if they can pull off the tricks, I find it aesthetically displeasing. When you get above an 8″ deck, all the rail tricks just start looking horrible. Sorry, they do. And the smaller the skater, the worse. And there’s something to be said for not having to reach too far to get your foot to the end of the board. I’m tall enough that on a standard board, or even up to about 15″ wheelbase, I don’t really have to reach very far.

If you want to do traditional freestyle, doing rail tricks and all that, a real FS board is what you need. Just being clear here. This is my own personal project, not a prescription for what anyone should be doing.

That being said, who cares what I think?  Everybody should do what they want. I’m just trying to convey where my mind is on these topics right now. When I see those dudes I look at my own skating with a very critical eye to decide if I’m going down the ugly route. So far I’m satisfied that I’m not. I am extremely critical of my own skating.

[EDIT] — Just after I wrote this, I saw someone just got a new freestyle model doing some absolutely ghastly stuff. GHASTLY. Do what you want, but for God’s sake people, let’s lay off the pro models for non-pro level skating? I’m just an old guy riding his skateboard around and running his mouth. If you want to be a pro-level freestyler, do traditional freestyle.

So, where is my mind, other than the above bullshit?

Click for full size image.

I have zero interest right now in flipping my board in any way. I’ve been moving this direction for quite a while, and it’s only become more solidified in my thinking. Not saying I’ll never do a kickflip again, but it’s certainly not on my list of things-I-love-to-do. I am moving my freestyle in the direction of carving, turning, spinning, pivoting, balance, movement, flow, and connectedness. I may never reach a level I’m happy with, but the journey will make me happy. As such, I’ve been very happy riding this board, an old Mode Conner Burke model. 8.25″ x 32.25″ with a 14.25″ wheelbase. Indy 149s with one thin rubber riser under each truck, and 54mm Bones STF (long my real preferred wheel) in their older 103a formula. Trucks are set “firm but turny”. They turn, but they don’t flop. Good for footwork, but also OK to ride around. I think I will move toward having them even a little bit looser. We’ll see.

Like most of the old guys, I love “shaped” boards. Love ’em. I have a goddamned boner for them. But if I’m honest, this standard pops shape is as good as anything else for me for most skating, and for the FS I’m into right now. The concave and nose/tail angles matter more to me. I prefer very mellow on all that stuff. No harsh angles or deep concave to trap my feet. But as long as I’ve got a fairly mellow-mold board, the pops is OK. In fact, it’s pretty good. Are there changes I’d make for a custom shape? Sure. I’ve have it with slightly blunted ends, and I’d have the nose and tail identical in shape and angle, and 6″ long. But I can work with this. If some company wants to make a “model” based on my needs, well, let me know. The sponsorship market for half-crippled middled-aged freestylers isn’t great.

I have a small nose skid on front. I do some tricks where the nose needs to skid, rather than stop, if it its the ground. This skid helps. I would use one on the tail too, but it impedes my ability to do 360s. Makes it more likely I’ll drag the tail even more than I do. Other than the grip tape under the nose for caspers, that’s really all I do for using this newschool board for my current freestyle interests. It gives my plenty of room to move my feet around, doesn’t feel tippy, turns just right. I can do 360s on it, spacewalk, footwork. The wheelbase isn’t so long that it hurst my 360 shove-its.

So there you have it. Not saying this will make me any better, but I’m enjoying it.

Wheelbase and Trucks

Below is a picture of the three boards I ride most often right now. As you can see two of the decks are completely the same. However, one is set up with tkp trucks and the other with rkp trucks (slant and caliber respectively). As you can see, the wheelbase with the rkp trucks is clearly smaller than the tkp trucks. Yes, folks, wheelbase given on a deck isn’t really the wheelbase.It is, of course, the distance between the truck holes. A true wheelbase is the distance between hanger and hanger.

I have noticed that the deck set up with rkp trucks FEELS smaller than the truck with tkp trucks. When board walking I go into a wheelie on accident often and the the board feels much smaller than the other board. It is interesting to note in that I could easily have a deck several inches longer with a wheelbase of several more inches on the rkp deck to have the feel of the deck with tkp trucks.

My Bushing Dilemma Continues

Well, not so much a dilemma as a situation and not so much a situation as just another switch in bushings.

After feeling like I’ve talked smack about Bones bushings in both a podcast and a post. . .I’ve gone back to them in my freestyle/dancing hybrid longboard. Yep. I switched back.

You see, the week after I switched out bushings from Bones to Riptide I felt off. I felt off the whole week. I thought maybe skating seven days a week for over a month added into my other workout routines had made me tired. I thought maybe I needed to give my body a rest and promised myself that, after I finish getting ready for the Round-Up Online Showdown, I would take a few days off the board to rest.

And then I realized it wasn’t the weight lifting, running, cycling, and skating adding up to too much activity. I didn’t necessarily feel tired I was just skating as if I was tired. Nope. It was the change in bushings. Sure, the Riptide pump better. Sure, they return to center better (they are barrels after all). But they just didn’t feel right for this board. So, indeed, I am back on Bones Hardcore bushings once again. They are much better for the freestyle aspects of my skating on this board. However, I am about to throw these Riptides on another set up to see how they work. I think they might be just right for a non-freestyle related set up.

Bushing Follow Up

My Riptide Krank Street bushings have arrived this week and I’ve installed them onto my Globe board. As you can see from the photo, they make my set up a double barrel. What that has done is made my board return to center much more quickly than a double cone set up will.

The 94a hardness seems to give it enough stability, and the turn is very nice with this set up. Now, setting up a board with Riptides will cost about double the amount Bones cost, but the real test of value will be how long they last in comparison to the Bones.

Update: After about a half hour on these this morning, I switched out the front roadside bushing to a Riptide 84a red short street krank barrel. It turns/pumps a little better, but still returns to center nicely. I had used the 84a reds on a slalom set up before I bought a bennett vector truck. I had originally wanted to keep the set up exactly the same between the two trucks, but I like the red up front a little better.

Notes on Episode 7

It was my conversation with Bob during this episode that made me conclude that Bones Hardcore bushings aren’t as good as I think they are. Sure, they come out of the package and onto the board feeling great. Sure, they have great rebound for cones up front. Sure they are great at first.

Unfortunately, it is after a couple months of riding that they lose their luster. They bore out too wide becoming sloppy at the bottom of the bushing (where the insert isn’t). I looked into my miscellaneous skate stuff box (containing tons of bushings, bolts, sex bolts etc…) and looked through my used Bones bushings. The hole in which the kingpins sit is too wide on all of the used bushings. They lose their shape. As Bob pointed out, this is the same company’s urethane that I just had issues chunking in a set of wheels. Maybe I’m ready to switch from Powell products?

On the opposite side of the coin, Bob absolutely loves the harder Bones STF wheels. No chunking issues on the harder wheels. It is interesting.

Also interesting is that I can’t seem to keep cone and barrel straight in my mind during conversations. I continually called barrels cones and called cones barrels. Sheesh.

I’ve actually ordered some Riptide Street Barrels and Short Street Barrels in a harder duro to try out on my freestyle/dance board. I’ve added some pumping to it and, yes, the Bones bushings will pump, but I’d like to see if these Krank formula Riptide barrels will rebound to center better than the Bones cones. I have a feeling they will if only because they are barrels. I don’t want to pump long distances and I don’t want a soft bushing up front because I want to continue focusing on freestyle footwork and dance.

Set Up Update: Wheels

In my last post, I wrote about my current longboard setup. In that post, I mentioned that I had changed the wheels on my board from the stock setup to a set of Mini Logo AWOL 59mm 80a ATF formula wheels. The AWOL made it two months, but started chunking this week.

So this was, of course, a bummer. I was hoping this set of wheels would last at least another month, but they were already worn down about 3mm. and I can’t stand skating a chunked set of wheels (I feel the same way about chipped boards).

So, I stuck the wheels that had actually come with the board back on it, and gave it a go.

These are a stoneground white 62mm 78a offset (nearly center set) wheel. They are about 48mm wide and the contact patch looks to be the same width as the wheel. They are about 8 – 10mm wider than the Mini Logo I was riding, and that extra width was very noticeable. The board is much more stable during a turn which made all of my footwork easier.  Additionally, they slid on a ghost ride 360 shove-it with ease, and felt just as fast as Mini-Logo. This really shouldn’t be a surprise because I have been a very big fan of the softer Star Trac wheels, and as I mentioned in the last post, Globe owned Dwindle when those wheels were released.

I’m hoping that these wheels last a good while because I’ve been scoping out a replacement, and I haven’t found anything right in the same size/shape. I may look into finding a set of 60mm Abec11 Noskoolz if those are still around out there.

About My Board: Globe Trucker Longboard

I’ve mentioned my current 40″ longboard setup a lot, but haven’t taken the time to really describe what is going on with it. The board is, in truth, 39″ long (not 40) and is made by the Australia based brand, Globe. I didn’t really know much about Globe before I bought this setup. I researched a bit and found out that Globe also owns the third party brands Stussy, Obey,and Protec. They also own Hardcore distribution which distributes the major skateboard brands across Australasia, and at one point they owned Dwindle (Almost, Blind, Dusters California, Tensor, Kryptonics Star Trac reissues, and Enjoi).

I ordered the board because of a seeming lack of standard shaped boards with longer wheelbases. At one point (as I’ve talked about), I rode Eastbilt longboards almost exclusively. I moved away from longboards for awhile, but when I came back around to riding longer wheelbases, standard shapes had become difficult to find. Dancing boards were available but generally longer than I wanted, and often made with fiberglass (I wanted maple only construction). Other longboards didn’t have nose and tails made for doing any trick riding.

This board measures in, as I said, at 39″ long and is 9.25″ wide with a 21″ wheelbase. The concave is very mellow as are the kicks on both the nose and tail. The tail is slightly steeper, and the one negative I have about the board is the the nose is a little too mellow for my tastes. I’d like to have the board feel completely the same whether riding on nose or tail, but the difference isn’t enough to put me off the deck.

I got this as a complete and it came set up with Slant traditional kingpin trucks. These trucks, when sitting next to a set of Tensor alloy trucks, appear to be exactly the same just with a different branding. This would make sense since both brands were under the Globe brand at one point. I don’t know how the trucks would hold up under grinding and stair drops, but for the style of riding I’m doing with this board, they seem to be just fine. The trucks came set up with what appears to be 5 degree wedge risers, and had some very soft, very turny bushings (more on that in the next podcast).

I didn’t have much confidence in the wheels although they looked good enough. Since finding out they owned Dwindle when the Kryptonics Star Trac reissues were released gives me confidence in them although I have yet to try them. I swapped them out for a set of Mini Logo AWOL 80a wheels. They are  Bones ATF formula and are fantastic wheels. They slide yet only seem to release when I ask them to.

The other change I made to the board is an addition of nose and tail skids. Both are made by Mode skateboards and are saving it from having razor tail on either end of the board. I also cut out a freestyle circle in the grip which makes both footwork and dance easier on it.

Notes on Episode 6

I missed last week’s notes, but here are my notes on episode 6.

Bearings!!!

Rather than go into another rant on bearings, here is the link to a great post on the Stoked Ride Shop website:

https://stokedrideshop.com/blogs/bearings/why-bearing-spacers-really-matter

Also:

G-turns!

I do a sideways stance for G-turns while bob does a more 70s forward front foot stance.

A little more about my BoomBox

Here’s a little video I made when I was out skating today, talking about his setup and changes I’ve made. I need to get the squeak out of the trucks. The pivot cups are squeaky.

Talking about my Bustin Boombox from Bob Loftin on Vimeo

And here’s dorky thing I put on Instagram. You know, I love freestyle and ditch skating and doing tricks, but I also love just rolling smoothly on a really nice board.

Ride along with Pandemic Bob from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

A Deck Rant

Unlike my Frontside360 counterpart, Bob, I’m more unreasonable when it comes to a traditional skateboard shaped longboard deck. Sure, I have drop down/drop through boards (two of them), and I enjoy them for what they are. They are great push machines not meant to flip or ollie. In truth, I find “street” tricks done on a board like that to generally be clunky. If you see me on one of my double drops, you’ll see me putting a few miles on my legs. Period.

So, when I want to trick skate I’m looking for something different. I’m looking for kicks on both the tail and nose. I’m looking for a semi-symmetrical to symmetrical shape. I’m looking for a stretched out skateboard. But I’m not looking for a dancer per se. At very nearly 200 pounds I’m not looking for high flex. I’m not looking for fiberglass. I’m looking for a long skateboard that I can slappy grind should I want. I’m looking for a board I can ollie should I want. I’m looking for a board that isn’t so long that I can’t throw down some walk the dogs.

I found this board several years ago.

The board in the picture is a loco 37 hybrid longboard skateboard deck made by Landyachtz. Why aren’t there more of these types of boards?! This is a Brad Edwards style board. This is a Jesse Parker style board. This is a do anything deck. You can do some freestyle tricks, street skate, cruise, carve, skog, and do some “dancing” moves all on a board like this.

I woke up a couple hours early this morning, and I was searching for the next board like this I could ride. While this thing has given me some good years I know it won’t last too much longer. But none of the “major players” in longboarding really offer a deck like this. Arbor has one, but I can’t find just the deck (I don’t want a complete). Globe has one but the same issue applies (and I’m not sure about Globe’s quality). Landyachtz doesn’t seem to offer one anymore. Gravity has completely screwed up their choices and their website kept sending me to something really dodgy. So, no good choice there and now I need to scan my computer.

The only place I seem to be able to find a deck like this is through funbox distribution, so I guess my next hybrid longboard will be a blank. That seems a shame to me.