Loaded Boards – Basalt Tesseract

Available in select shops worldwide on May 16, we are two days away from the release of Loaded’s latest, the Basalt Tesseract.

 

The Basalt Tesseract builds on what Loaded learned from the venerable Loaded Tarab. Besides the facts that the new construction makes the deck lighter, more damp and freestyle-oriented, it is also environmentally friendly thanks to the basalt based construction.

The fabric in the new deck is derived from the fine fibers of Basalt, a volcanic rock that is found in many parts of the world. It shares many of the beneficial properties we’ve come to admire in fiberglass while being significantly less destructive to produce. There’s some truth in Loaded’s ‘Four Dimensional Lava’ slogan. Now you can have high performance and eco-friendly in a do-it-all package.

The decks are available in 4 colorways to match your personal flavor:

Measuring 39 x 9.5″ (99 x 24cm) and together with the symmetrical shape, you’ll have plenty of room for a multitude of styles and disciplines. If you’re heading out for the day and you’re not sure what to bring, the Basalt Tesseract is an excellent companion no matter what you find yourself doing.

Loaded used a light basalt weave to sandwich two bamboo cores and a bottom cork for additional dampening. Suffice to say that Loaded is on another level in their materials-science department and the combination works well here. After a year of testing in their crew, they’ve determined that the combination of the basalt weaves contributes to the boards freestyle capabilities without sacrificing any of it’s freestyle component.

Welcomed niceties on the Basalt Tesseract include rocker, wheel well flares, W shaped concave, kick-tails and 6 different wheel base configuration options.

Keep an eye on your favorite skate shop for a new Basalt Tesseract on May 16th. Check the specs below and the link to order one from Loaded on release day.

Specs:

Length: 39” / 99 cm
Width: 9.5” / 24 cm
Wheelbase: 24.5” and 26” / 62.2 cm and 66 cm
Nose & Tail: 7.25” / 18.4 cm (tip to inner bolt on 24.5” wheelbase)
Concave: 0.30” / 0.76 cm (at W peak), 0.39” / 0.99 cm (at W trough)
Rocker: 0.33” / 0.84 cm
Wedging angle: 3.5°
Weight: 4.5 lbs / 2.0 kg (with grip)

My First Wheel Love. Powell Peralta Snakes Review.

In my experience (it’s probably just me), a third of my time downhill longboarding has been spent looking for gear that makes me happy. Whether that be trucks, a deck or a set of wheels, so much of my time is spent building my setup to be exactly what I want it to be.

Well, by the time 2017 rolled around, I had been happy about my setup for a long time. I had my choice of a favorite drop deck (a Rayne Reaper, at the time), and well-dialed Paris Savants. This setup made me happy in all ways but one- I didn’t have a favorite wheel. And it was crippling! I was always trying out new wheels, getting used to them, and as a result I’ve wasted so much time that I could have been using to further my skills. Refer to figure 1 to see a representation of my frustration. 

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Figure 1: A representation of my wheel crisis.

And then… Powell Peralta rolled into 2017 with the release of their new wheel, the Snakes. The first in a well-named series of downhill and freeride wheels, the Snake surprised me with an unprecedented amount of control, consistency and an iconic “hissing” sound that I’ve always related to a good freeride wheel.

You see, a freeride wheel that honks isn’t a good one. It means that the contact patch is bouncing across the road, for lack of a better description. Contact with the ground isn’t consistent, and so the slide isn’t either. It makes for a fairly sketchy situation where you can’t trust your wheel to keep up with your shenanigans.

However, a hissing wheel- that’s a good wheel. It’s the sound that results from full contact with the road, with the wheel wearing evenly, consistently over the course of the slide. Since you’re not getting bounced all over the pavement, you can trust the wheel to do exactly what you want it to do. Snakes were very aptly named. They seriously hiss.

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Those are some nice colors!

The Powell Peralta Snakes seem to be designed with a no-bs mindset. The shape doesn’t beat around the bush. It is purely utilitarian, with the square-ish shape and rounding on the lips that’s just enough to be useful when you first get the wheel. Apart from that, there isn’t very much focus on the aesthetics of the wheel. The dyes were all chosen so that each color of wheel (except black) feels similar, and the graphics are made with water-based decals that don’t affect the slide the wheel. The downside here is that the wheel graphics flake off after a couple days, but that’s no issue- they’re skateboard wheels.

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A rounded-but-square lip profile. 

Something cool about all Powell wheels is the use of a smooth core instead of a ridged one that has mechanical locks to the urethane. Instead, they apparently bond the urethane to the core chemically. There’s been a great deal of controversy over this decision, but it seems to make one very evenly supported wheel with great lip support. I haven’t had any issue with it, so I have no negative remarks to make about the use of a smooth core. In fact, I’m a fan. It’s the first set of wheels that I’ve had that don’t cone. They just refuse to cone! I’ve never flipped them, nor have I rotated them. They just don’t cone. I have heard rumors that one singular wheel has slipped off the core, but I believe that to be an isolated, freak case.

The slide of the Snakes is something I’ve never felt before. It’s an incredibly sugary, smooth slide (I don’t feel that it’s quite buttery), but that’s a slide feel that’s not common with particularly durable wheels. Somehow, with how durable they are, they still manage to feel like a mids wheel. (A term used to describe a wheel that dies fast). They’re slippery, don’t kill a lot of speed, but they will kill speed if you need.

Snakes had an issue with chunking when they were first released. Whenever they ran into a curb or hit a pothole, they would chunk severely. Kevin Reimer seems to have fixed that issue now, and there’s a lot less talk about chunked Powell Peralta wheels now.  Again, I’ve had no chunking issues with my set of Snakes.

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Do I look like I’m having fun? Yes it does. Snakes are fun. You could be like this too. 

If you’re looking for an incredibly consistent, durable wheel that will exceed all of your expectations for a freeride wheel, get some Snakes. You will not regret it.

Here’s a video from our friends at SK8YEG reviewing the Snake. They’re a bunch of cool goofs.

Stay safe, wear your helmet! Talk to a turtle.

Ryan

Thanks to Hopkins Skate, Muirskate and SK8YEG for supplementary media. Banner image is Shane Sussman (@shanesuss). 

Season Starter – Helmetposting!

Preface:

It’s been a while folks. I’ve been away at engineering school for a year. I’ve been too busy to function. But now that school is over, I am back at the keyboard, and I am ready to produce good content for you. Great things are coming! Don’t worry, I missed you too.

Even though we here at LongboardEnvy haven’t been writing, we’ve definitely been skating. We’ve used some great gear, amassed great experiences, and we cannot wait to share them with you.

Let’s have a great season.

-Ryan (and JC)


I think safety is important. More than any other boardsport, I’m proud that the longboarding scene puts such a healthy focus on helmet safety. I think it improves the public’s view of our sport, but also prolongs the life and stoke of the scene, since you know, people aren’t dropping from head injuries left and right. That’s morbid, but it’s true- there’s a reason why so many of us are able to stay skating for so long.

I also think it’s the first thing that should be on your mind when you get back into skating this season. Whether you’re cruising or blasting hills, helmets are so, so incredibly important. For that reason, I’m going to start off with an article about the helmets that I’ve been using recently- helmets that I wholeheartedly recommend to you.

The TSG Pass.

This is a relatively new helmet. It emerged onto the scene back in 2014 by TSG, a pretty large European helmet manufacturer. It’s known to the community as one of the safest, most aerodynamic helmets on the market. It’s got a sleek, moto-like appearance that’s a testament to its supreme fit and finish.

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I’ve had a couple full face helmets during my skate career. I’ve had a Predator DH-6 (the older model) and a Triple 8 Racer before the TSG Pass; none of the former can rival how tight and snug the TSG Pass is on my head. It’s a little bit of a pain to get on and off, but when it’s on my head, it’s on there for good. There’s no wiggle.

It’s incredibly light for how burly it looks. Lighter than the Predator DH-6, I’d say. When whipping my head around to look around me, I don’t feel like it’s really on there. It moves with your head and sticks to your head, so it feels like part of your skull.

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The field of vision on the TSG Pass is the best out of any helmet that I’ve had (short of a half-shell). I don’t have to move my whole head to focus on something- just the movement of your eyes will do. The edge of your vision isn’t blocked completely by the helmet either- the viewfield wraps all the way around to right beside your head, so you’ve got all that peripheral vision and some more to spare.

The one complaint I have about the helmet is that I can no longer find different sizes of fit pads! I’d like a smaller sized cheek pad, but I cannot source any of those. I’ve looked everywhere, and it’s completely out of stock. But that’s okay, I don’t wear it incredibly often and it’s comfortable enough when I do.

I would 100% trust a TSG Pass if I was to ever tomahawk off my board into a guardrail. It will save your life.

The S1 Lifer Halfshell.

Literally, the oldest thing I have in my skate collection. Everything else has been replaced, used up, cored. But the S1 Lifer Halfshell (used to be white, now it’s gold), has been a staple of my skate inventory for the past 4 years. It’s the first helmet I bought, and I still wear it on my head daily every time I go skateboarding!

 

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Wow, Ryan can skate?

 

It’s just comfortable. It’s dual-certified, it has an awesome track record for saving watermelons for street and vert skateboarding, and it comes in a huge multitude of sizes for your comfort. It has some great color options too!

That’s all I have to say about it. No complaints, nothing. Just a really good helmet.

Skate safe, skate hard!
-Ryan

 

(banner image by Devon Chambers [@devons_chamber])

Loaded Boards – Tarab

There is no word in English that accurately translates the word Tarab from Arabic to English, which makes it very difficult to define. Tarab is used in Arab culture to describe the emotional effect of music, a word to describe the natural flow, rhythm and evoking composition of music.

I received the Loaded Tarab in the mail a few weeks ago, at the very start of winter, when the roads up here in Calgary were covered in snow. And as such, I had around 700 square feet to test it out in. That’s… not much for longboard freestyle. Nonetheless, I had some time in the middle of my midterm season to test the deck out, and here are my thoughts. I haven’t spent too, too much time on dancing decks. My whole journey, I’ve been a downhill/freeride kind of guy that dabbled in a bit of street skating at the inception of his career. I’ve never done more than one cross-step in a row, I’ve never done a shuvit on a huge board, but let me tell you- I’m in love with the Tarab.

The Tarab- a 47 inch long, 9.5 inch monster of a deck that really puts “long board” into scope, is a flexible, oversized deck meant for dancing and freestyle longboarding. In general, it was easy to handle, damp (not soggy), durable (so far), and aesthetically very pleasing. Steps on the deck were predictable and none of them ever bounced me off- other dancing decks that I’ve tried with camber instead of rocker would bounce me off, most of the time. I attribute that to too much flex, misplaced fiberglass and sometimes, wonky geometries that make certain parts of the deck stronger than others. None of these seem to be problems with the Loaded Tarab. The shape is a straight-cut, simple dancer shape. Nothing complicated. There’s some rocker and the flex is damp, not springy- I think these attributes greatly improve a rider’s ability to stay on the deck after landing a trick. But that’s just me.

The urethane tail and nose guards have held up very nicely. I’ve seen pictures where the whole bottom veneer of the deck has been sheared and shaved away, but the urethane still seems intact and less worn than the rest of the deck. Seeing that the tails are mostly made of that urethane, structurally the deck should be sound for a very long time.

One small criticism that I have of the deck is the slightly puzzling placement of the UHMW rail inserts. They aren’t on the top of the deck, but rather one ply down, covered by a layer of bamboo. Perhaps this was an aesthetic choice, but functionally, that one layer of bamboo doesn’t adhere the greatest to that UHMW and on one part of my Tarab, the bamboo is chipped off. Again, this doesn’t change the shape or concave of the deck and I am sure that the UHMW itself will be very durable. In the long run, one little chip on the bamboo is worth it if the rails are still intact after several weeks of hard skating.

From Kyle at Loaded (we had a discussion!), we’ve garnered this quote that explains the design choices, and it sure does make things clearer.

“In order to maximize the structural integrity of the inserts and keep them bonded to the deck, it’s ideal to have them bonded on both top and bottom surfaces. So on the Tarab, the top of the UHMW is flush with the bamboo core and this entire surface is then covered with the top layer of basalt fabric. Additionally, this “sandwich” construction with basalt skins on both sides of the core provides maximum strength while allowing us to keep the board thin and light.

On the flex 2 the cork layer is placed directly over the top layer of basalt, whereas on the flex 1 there is an additional bamboo veneer between the cork and the basalt. This additional layer is primarily intended for added stiffness rather than as a protective material, although it does ultimately provide an additional layer of material to wear through before hitting the UHMW.”

All in all, I think Loaded will once again influence the landscape of the North American dancing scene with a widely acceptable, beautiful work of art that the Tarab is. It will be received well by new skaters and experienced skaters alike, and I personally look forward to putting lots and lots of time on it when spring comes around. This deck made me fall in love with freestyle. I don’t fall in love easily.

 

Valhalla Skateboards – Berserker

Champion Norse war heroes who put themselves in a rage-like trance and proceeded to overpower their enemies and opponents in a storm of heavy blows and swordsmanship- Berserkers. That’s a little extreme for 2017, but you can be very close on a Berserker, a brand new board release from our favorite anarchist skateboard company, Valhalla Skateboards!

This new creation is unlike anything that Valhalla has made before- it’s a double kick quiver-killer shape with Valhalla’s signature mellow-cave, meant for slashing of all kinds and possible shenanigans in all kinds of skateboarding environments. Downhill, urban, even at the park. It’s slightly more downhill and freeride-oriented than most other quiver-killer double kicks though- it’s slightly shorter, at 39 inches, and on the wider range of boards at 10 inches wide, for all those people with large feet. The width is slightly worrying for people who aim to be freestyle-heavy, but there are other options on the market for those specific people.

The deck has a traditional maple layup enjoyed by Madrid and Valhalla combined- you can expect the same no-frills construction as you’ve seen in past Valhalla and Madrid decks in the past. In recent versions of their decks (Sellout, for example), Valhalla adopted a “shark-bite” style of wheel well. You can find those on the Berserker as well. I’ve heard mixed reports about their utility but I’m not one to make judgements- I’ve never owned a Valhalla board. Hopefully that changes.

All in all though, it’s a fresh take on Valhalla’s widely loved mellowcave and you can be damn sure you’ll see it on your local hills at some point. Get yourself one now!