Chroma Skateboards – Pilot

You know that we always love a new fledgling company- they represent growth and progression in our scene, as they’re the ones filling the gaps where there is a need for a new design. Small companies are also usually run by skateboarders who happened to have the skills and ideas to start a successful company, and that appeals to us, since we at Longboard Envy were just skateboarders who happened to have the skills and ideas to start a magazine. Birds of a feather, you know?

Chroma Skateboards has been in the hype machine for a little while now with their crisp graphics and unique, directional concaves. This year, they’ve released 3 variants on the same mold along with 1 street-inspired double kick.

The first Chroma Skateboards mold is a rocker-heavy, asymmetrically microdropped platform with a medium, cylindrical W pocket in the back. The rocker ensures that tucking is comfortable and that the legs are preloaded for standup slides and similar endeavors. There’s only one microdrops, which is in the front, and that’s well thought out because on many >35 inch boards, the back microdrop won’t be utilized by most people. A microdrop also makes it impossible (due to the folding/creasing properties of wood) to have continuous W. So Chroma took out a rear microdrop and added a rod of W that extends to the mounting holes. They have 3 boards cut from this mold, a topmount cutout, a kicktailed topmount, and a topmount with taper.

The Aurora features a small amount of taper towards the back of the board, and has a variety of mounting options to let you find your favorite wheelbase. Along with large wheel wells, this board is great for those who want to grip and rip and do some compact drifts.

The Aspect is basically an Aurora, with a straight rail (no taper) and a kicktail. This is a do it all board, usable for anything from city slashing, fooling around at the top of the run, and pulling some mad flip tricks.

The Solstice is a classic speedboard shape, with the cutout shape and partial wheel wells to ensure you can get as much lean out of your trucks as possible.

And lastly, the Quintara is an oversized skateboard with decent concave.

Check them out and get yourself one when they release more the next production run!

 

Arbor Collective – Crosscut Series

Hybrid street-slashing is becoming an increasingly popular skate style as both street and downhill scenes start to merge in feature-filled urban environments. Soft freeride wheels on an oversized skateboard has been becoming more and more common to see at both slide jams and city environments alike. It’s a new kind of rush to be able to pull an ollie, some freestyle tricks, and then transition into a banked slope while doing a squat slide.

The folks over at Arbor Skateboards must have experienced this new phenomenon- they have emerged with a new and improved version of last year’s Shakedown 34 and 37, Arbor’s hybrid street-slash offerings, now part of the Crosscut series. The Shakedown offers a friendly, smooth radial concave which flattens out into two generous street-inspired kicktails.

The Shakedown comes in two sizes- the 37 is great for more longboard-inspired freestyle, such as no-complies and slide shuvits, while the 34 is great as a park board alternative for skating pools and all that.

Muirskate – Podiums and Markers Insights and Impressions

A few months ago, LongboardEnvy HQ received two sets of wheels from Muirskate- the Markers and the Podiums, which are Muirskate’s most recent additions to their lineup of proprietary skate products, alongside their many washers, mini-cruisers, beer koozies and other plentiful accessories. We rode them extensively for an extended period of time- parkades, downhill, drifty downhill, and they were then shared with other members of our local community to get a taste of what they could do.

But first- the whole experience. Muirskate has been one of the leading shops in North America for every skater’s various skateboarding needs; they stock street skates, longboards, slalom accessories and various other soft and hard goods that are designed to enrich a skateboarder’s enjoyment of the sport. Scott, the owner, has been very cooperative and generous in our dealings with him. Even though the shop has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, the fact that Scott personally responds to all emails convinces us that the vibe at Muirskate is closer to that of a mom and pops’ ice cream shop than to that of a large corporation. No wonder they’ve created such great products. Look at how friendly they look!

The first product in the spotlight is the Muirskate Marker.

This is the larger freeride offering of the  three shop wheels, suited for long sessions on setups that feature a generous amount of wheel clearance. They’re made of the same urethane as the mini-markers, as far as we can tell. They feel similar to Zombie Hawgs- they slide well, the hookup is mildly pronounced and the slide is moderately deep in the pavement. There’s nothing extreme about this wheel- everything has been engineered in moderation. When sliding at low, 15-20 mph speeds, they feel almost as if they’re dragging into the pavement, but at higher speeds above that, they’re absolutely prime for long stand-ups and squat drifts. The core seems to be a standard Labeda core, but it is satisfactory in supporting the wheel and we haven’t noticed any heavy coning through the life of the wheel. The centerset core ensures that you can flip the wheels to combat any deformation of the wheels during heavy sliding.

I’ve also noticed that the Muirskate Marker is a great contender as a commuting wheel. The narrow wheel profile fits under most boards without sticking out of the side, and the fast roll speed ensures that the commute to work or school isn’t overly tiring. Personally, I use an oversized double kick to get to school, and the round lips have given me the ability to do some mediocre freestyle when I had the inkling to do so. They’re a great wheel to throw on a setup if you don’t know what you’ll be doing that day.

Second, the Muirskate Podiums, which are the downhill, grip wheel offering from Muirskate. These surprised me the most- they reminded me of Phat Deanz! (an older wheel that isn’t made anymore, but used to have a cult following.) They were pleasantly grippy and sticky to garage floors and smooth floors, extremely grabby in paved corners, especially. The large contact patch ensures a very solid, enunciated line between grip and slip. This ensures tight, snappy pre-drifts when the skin is fresh, and pronounced but long, speed-killing drifts when the skin is worn off. These are the epitome of finely tuned race wheels, and I can only imagine that they’re even better for San Diego-local roads. As the name suggests, both prototypes and production models have been on the podium at major races!

The Podiums are fast. They feel hefty under the feet at the initial push, but the weightiness definitely contributes to how fast they pick up speed and maintain it. I’ve noticed myself being shot out of parking garage corners than any of my fellow skateboarders on their grip wheels and rolling farther and faster on flats during long pushes.

All in all, Muirskate has emerged with two of the best shop wheels I’ve skated so far. They’re fast, durable and versatile. Get a set now!

 

Zenit Longboards – Morning Wood Impressions and Insights

About a week and a half ago, the folks at Zenit Longboards, based in Montreal sent me a Morning Wood, one of the new double kick offerings in their new 2017 lineup!

Just a note about the whole experience; Zenit was one of the most wholesome companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with- everything from getting information and pictures for past articles to just chatting and geeking about skateboarding screamed family to me, a dynamic that many companies lack. It was never, “Hey, let me email Phil and ask if we can do this”, it was always, “I’m seeing Phil on Friday, I’ll chat with him about it then”. They all call each other by nicknames and prod each other with jokes all day, it seems. That really impresses me- those who manage to stay friends in the workplace create the greatest businesses, and with that thought, I have no doubt that Zenit will stay wholesome and succeed in the many endeavors that they take in the future. With that said, the product.

Simply put, the Zenit Morning Wood is a street deck that’s be re-thought, re-pondered, and re-engineered to be one hell of a do-it-all board. There are two kinds of quiver-killers in my mind. There are those that are built after a dancer board profile, such as the Zenit Marble 40 or Loaded Tesseract as a more classic example, and those built after a street deck profile, such as the Morning Wood. They’re slightly larger and offer larger wheelbases than street decks, and offer variations in flex to accommodate a rider’s style. The Morning Wood did so perfectly for me- coming from a street skating background, my style has meshed with downhill and freeride to result in a very street-surfy style, using the environment to my advantage in sliding banks, flipping trucks and hopping over obstacles; things that the Morning Wood is a gift from heaven for.

First, we should talk about the concave- because the first thing you do on a board is stand on it. The Morning Wood has progressive concave, meaning that the concave is steeper at one end of the board than the other due to the width being greater at the front than the back. Traditionally for downhill and freeride boards, the concave is steeper at the back for kicking slides out and whatnot- but Zenit decided to take the reverse approach and put more concave in the front. In the beginning, I couldn’t grasp the logic of it- why put concave where you need the least support? However, when I stood on it and cruised around with it for a bit, I understood the concept of it- most of your steering comes from the front foot, and it’s hard to keep leverage on both your toes and heels when carving back and forth. The steeper concave in the front allows me to rely less on a misplaced back foot and do most of my steering over the front truck with my front foot. The result is a much less tired ride, more agile carves, and powerful cornering. This concept is inspired from mid-80s ramp/pool decks, where your front feet really don’t move while the back foot pivots all over the place depending on trick, rotation and happenstance obstacles. 

 

Second, the shape- it’s one of the first things you notice, and it’s one of the most important contributing factors to an efficient, responsive board. The Morning Wood is a classic popsicle shape (sized up), with a little bit of taper towards the tail. This works closely in conjunction with the concave to allow the back foot to go from rail to rail more efficiently, making the board incredibly nimble. Moreover, the taper allows the concave in the back to mellow out significantly, creating a better surface to transition your weight on. The board also features asymmetrical kicktails which visually gives the board a more directional feel and look when riding, and the slightly steeper nose kick is useful for skating park, pool and tranny when it comes to really leveling that board out during intense air. The kicks are the perfect steepness- less steep than a conventional skateboard for sure, but that’s appropriate for the larger size of the board. The shallowness mediates the amount of rotation you get off of twisting and flicking so that you don’t have a hurricane of a board when attempting a shuvit.

Third- the construction, because it constitutes the durability and feel of the board under your feet. Let me tell you about this board- it’s dead stiff. There is basically no play in the construction in terms of torsional or lateral flex- that makes the board feel as if my inputs have direct, clear output, which is an overwhelmingly positive feature on a double kick. After 5 days of absolutely shredding this deck, there’s only minimal wear in the kicktails- in the first few hours, there was some wear, but after reaching the point that it has, the speed of wear seems to have plateaued.

The kicks have tons of pop- I’ve had no trouble clearing curbs or obstacles.

Fourth- the auxiliary features. You know, the stuff that Zenit really didn’t have to include, but they did, being the wholesome people that they are. The squarish wheel wells are actually some of the most efficient, best looking wells that I’ve ever seen. Most wheel wells are circular or oblique- this is because of the convenience of lining up a drum sander and going to town with it in a certain place. This sometimes results in a larger-than-required area of non-graphic. The square shape of the wheel well on the Morning Wood removes excess trim and gives you a wheel well just where you need it, no less, no more.

There’s also the curious quirk of the rounded popsicle shape- if you flip it, it just rolls instead of skidding and ruining your rails. Makes for a very durable board.

With all these great features put together, Zenit has created one of the best, most versatile do-it-all longboards on the market. After doing some research and talking to the guys at Zenit, I’ve found that many people have incredibly diverse setups on the Morning Wood.

My personal favorite setup on the Morning Wood so far is Paris 150s (43 degrees, symmetrical), Free Wheel Co. Ballins, with 90a Riptide Bushings all around. I’ve been using it for commuting to school and cruising around with friends in a variety of situations. It’s great for freeride- the small wheelbase makes for some very nimble turning, and it’s awesome for kicking out 180s and the occasional 360 if you’re feeling ambitious. The smaller wheelbase can be a twitchy at speed, so downhill isn’t exactly ideal for the board, but with an asymmetrical truck setup with upwards of a 30 degree split, the board may actually handle some gnarly downhill!

Other people have their Morning Woods set up differently. I’ve heard of 160mm Kodiaks, 165mm Savants, and one particular setup with Don’t Trip Trippins on it. Adam, the board designer and team manager at Zenit, has a street-esque setup on his board, with Independent 169s and Orangatang Skiffs, a slashy, cruisey, carvey hybrid.

All in all, the Morning Wood is one of the best street-inspired DKs that I’ve ever used. It’s replaced my previous board as my daily commuter, and my park DK for street skating. I am thoroughly impressed with the product and can’t wait for more developments from the guys over at Zenit Longboards!

 

Zenit – 2017 Release

2016 has been the year of fledgling companies going huge in the downhill longboarding scene. Unlike the majority of companies, these few companies made most of their revenue selling quality downhill/freeride longboards, with a few cruiser completes being sold on the side. First it was Moonshine MFG, and now it’s Zenit Longboards.

If you were on the website last year, you would have seen a completely different lineup compared to this year’s. Last year’s lineup was a small, minimalist series of 5 boards- but this year, Zenit turned it around and emerged with a huge release of decks which cover all there is to do with longboards, style-wise and discipline-wise.

But that isn’t to say that Zenit is like any other board company with a diverse lineup- they’re a little different. Upon stumbling onto their website, the first thing you’ll notice is that they have a peculiar surfskate lineup! These are extremely space-efficient, stylish cruiser/slasher hybrids with meaningful concave which unlike many other cruisers, can be utilized to do some more stylish, skill-based riding such as urban slashing and pool skating.

There are three of them- the Hibiscus, the Alaia, and the Choka. They all have more or less the same shape, with the main difference being in the length and width- most of the length differences come from the size and quantity of kicks. The Hibiscus has no nose kick, and Alaia has a small nose half-kick, and the Choka has two full kicktails. The widths increase from 9 inches with the Hibiscus to 10 inches with the Choka, with the Alaia being right in the middle with a 9.5. These small increments make finding a board that’s a good match for your shoe sizes an absolute jiffy. LNV recommends a 9.5 inch width for people with a size 9 men’s shoe size (US standard), so you can scale up or down depending on how big your feet are.

Some of the most hyped boards of Zenit’s 2017 lineup are the downhill/freeride boards. These were released to the team riders and local scenes in small numbers, gathering more and more positive feedback every time.

The Marble 40 is pressed in the CONFO mold, which is a microdrop-flare combination with a delicious amount of medium radial. This makes an awesome foot pocket right where the microdrops meet the flares, where you can really wedge your toes or heels in for toesides and heelsides. Aside from the concave, the 40 has double kicktails and a small amount of flex to help with a skater’s freestyle ability- it’s still stiff enough to do downhill and freeride on. Take the Loaded Tesseract for example with its slight dampening flex. The Marble 40 just does the same with its construction rather than a layer of cork on the bottom.

The Marble 38 is the same, except with just one kicktail, and complete rigidity opposed to the small amount of dampening flex that the 40. Same concave, same shape. The great thing about the 38 is also that each board is painted and “marbled” by hand at the factory. The artists at Zenit layer paint over a base and strafe it down the board to create a legitimate marble look and finish that’s durable and total eye candy to look at.

The Rocket V2 is, as it stands, the most recent iteration of the 2015-2015 Rocket V1 and Missile boards. It features a directional, gnarly concave with some of the greatest gaspedal-inspired concave you may ever see on a downhill longboard. Although the middle features almost no radial, the concave is high and persistently supportive wherever it matters. The small amount of rocker helps to support the feet on an otherwise laterally straight concave profile.

Continue reading →

Kebbek – 25th Anniversary Series

Graphics have traditionally been either flat colors or a heat/pressure transfer from a graphic sheet. And although this keeps creativity open and the possibility of different colors, shapes and designs virtually infinite, it definitely gets old knowing that there’s no real special technique going into the graphics on your boards.

Other companies have tried woodburning, embossing, and staining boards to show off their natural wood grain- but nobody’s ever tried opalescence as a visual concept on their boards (at least, as far as we at LNV are concerned). That is, until now, with the Kebbek 25th Anniversary boards! And it looks absolutely bumping. Each board is painstakingly painted with layers of metallic and opalescent paints to create a visually stunning opalescent effect on each of their boards.

Kebbek has also brought back some throwbacks to their original line, including the Ben Dub Classic, Ian Comishin Classic, and Kalator Classic, each with their special board finishes.

Kebbek’s wallet-friendly economic construction and easy-going staff will make you feel at home again, for the 25th year, with their new 25th Anniversary Series boards.

Check them out at the link!

Bustin Boards – Thermoglass Shrike

Double-kick quiver-killers have been the fad of the decade. Having a board that can freeride, downhill, and also kick around and do some freestyle all in the same session is definitely one attractive prospect.

Through the years, many board companies have tried and tried to create their best interpretation of the quiver-killer. And Bustin Boards is not an exception- the Shrike has been a part of the Bustin arsenal for many years. However, this year, Bustin really knocked it out of the park by solving many common problems with their new Thermoglass construction. Thermoglass includes fiberglass topsheets coupled with urethane bumpers and kicktails. It’s the epitome of durable board technology. 

With their new lightweight, fused fiberglass construction, the Shrike is newly advantaged for freestyle and dancing tricks- a lighter board means that airtime is increased and the setup is more responsive. When doing freeride and downhill, rider input is amplified.

The new 5-0 urethane bumpers are incredibly resilient and are able to take the worst of beatings- Will Royce is no saint to his boards and the shape and layout of the urethane bumpers focus on strength more than aesthetics. A truly utilitarian philosophy previously unseen in longboard production.

The new Bustin Thermoglass Shrike. Get it before it gets away!

Landyachtz – ATV Series

With the success of the Loco series, Landyachtz seems to have gotten hooked on creating skate-inspired decks with a slashing twist. The new ATV series, as revealed in the Landyachtz 2017 line, offers mellow concave with a durable longboard construction, matched in heaven with shapes that are ergonomic, economic and foot-friendly for all-around urban skateboarding. There are three variants in the 2017 ATV series: the Perfecto, the Laguido, and the Presdente. The names pull inspiration from the mexican-themed Landyachtz Loco graphics.

The Perfecto is the widest and one of the two longest in the series, at 32 inches in length and 9 inches in width. This seems to be the most cruiser-friendly out of the 3, with a tapered, retro-inspired shape. The wider front assists in reminding newer riders that leverage should mostly come from the front foot, leading to some naturally stable riding. The pointed nose gives the shape a directional-feel, all the while offering symmetrical concave for comfortable switch riding. While the front kick is shaped, the back kick is utilitarian and shaped like a street kick, maximizing pop and leverage for ollies, shuvits, and blunt tricks. The 9 inch width is comfortable for standing on for long periods of time, and better suited for people with medium-large sized feet.

The Laguido is the completely symmetrical, street skate-esque board in the 2017 ATV offerings. It’s similar to the Perfecto in its 32 inch length, but different in its 8.5 inch width. The 8.5 inch width is designed to be street-friendly; when doing flip tricks, kickflips and ollies, a narrower width translates to better responsiveness and easier rail accessibility. The kicks are symmetrical, so there really isn’t a front or back to the deck, not counting the graphic. It’s also comfortable for people with smaller feet, as the narrow width means the rails are closer to the toesand heels.

The Presidente is practically a Laguido, except with a directional shape. This is a board that’s fit for those who would appreciate a directional shape, but would still enjoy doing flip tricks with a practically symmetrical kicktail setup. The slightly wider width shouldn’t make too much of a difference, but the slightly rear-loaded taper is friendly for those who are surfing the street.

All in all, the ATV series is fit well for a do-it-all, fast-cruising/slashing setup. The stock set ups are also solid. Being the lowest cast TKPs on the market, Polar Bears are an awesome addition to some already incredible boards.

Moonshine Longboards – New Year Releases

Moonshine has been the fastest growing skateboard company this past year- from a small startup making limited numbers of boards to one of the most successful makers of highly engineered longboards, Moonshine has made remarkable progress this last year.

For the new year, Moonshine is releasing 3 new boards to further expand their grasp over the great aspects of longboarding- freestyle and kicktail slashing, and the perfect art of cruising. Introducing the Moonshine Outlaw, Elixir and Proof.

First is the Outlaw- a board that was born accidentally through the filming of xXx: the Return of Xander Cage. The deck was originally designed for Vin Diesel’s longboarding scene, but after riding it extensively during the duration of the filming, Nick Pappas and Brandon DesJarlais decided that the concave was of amicable enough quality to make it into the official Moonshine Catalog. The Moonshine Outlaw features the classic Moonshine trademarks- urethane rails, waterproof construction and flushmounting. With the mellowcave that you know and love, the Outlaw is bound to be a legend just like the Sector 9 Daisy.

Second is the Moonshine Proof- a technical take on a classical pintail shape. This one is special though- it has wheel cutouts to help with leaning and powerful carves, a sharp, crisp shape supplemented by a strong, tanky construction and a sleek graphic that everyone is bound to love.

Lastly, the Elixir brings new meaning to quiver-killer. Whereas other decks have had steeper, freeride-oriented concaves, the Elixir mixes Moonshine’s trademark mellowcave with a combination of efficient shape and shallow kicktails to make a board that’s both great for downhill and freestyle. It features lunchtray-like wheel flares, deep wheel wells and a killer green graphic that’s bound to make any slide a looker.

Get these new treats before they go out of stock!

Deluxe Cruiser Back

DeLuxe Cruiser – Hurtle Skateboards

Hurtle is prepping their new DeLuxe Cruiser for a release later this year. They’ve been kind enough to provide a look of what’s to come!

Hurtle drew inspiration from the the style and character of the Sixties while designing this new skate. They’re made from a piece of solid, European Oak and topped with a sheet of joined veneer. Each deck is shaped by hand and features a color pattern unique to each deck. The deck you get is sure to be the only one like it. To reinforce this idea, Hurtle is individually numbering each deck as well – your deck will be only yours.

The DeLuxe measures 25″ long x 7″ wide. They feature laser engraved markings and are drilled for old-school truck mounts. Truck options include the Gunmetal Pistols or the Tracker Midtracks. In keeping with the old-school-cool theme, Hurtle has chosen 56mm 78a Cadillac Classics for the wheels. They are a reproduction of the first urethane skateboard wheels made available in 1973. Finally, bolts and bearings courtesy of another British brand, Sabre.

If you are searching for a truly special, hand crafted skateboard with some oldschool ‘sidewalk surfer’ flair hit the link to check out Hurtle and keep any eye out for availability later this year.