Never Summer – Superfreak Insights and Impressions

Never Summer is an excellent snowboard company that entered the longboarding scene, utilizing their mastery of raw materials to start creating durable, efficient longboards for all different purposes. They have a roster of unique, useful shapes with all their respectively unique concaves. Through the years, Never Summer longboards have changed in shape and concave to adapt to the needs of the public, like a good company always should. This year, Never Summer gave us the new 2017 Superfreak to test out and write about, and we’ve got a lot of thoughts about it, and we wanted to share them with you!

First, the shape. The Superfreak is one of Never Summer’s long-standing freeride double kick offerings, with a hefty kicktail and a minimalist nose kick. In previous years, there was taper and more rounding to the deck shape, but this year, Never Summer seems to have chosen a more minimalist approach, with no taper and a blocky, straight-edge shape. Whether this is a positive change or not is up to the rider, but we at Longboard Envy thought that the shape could use a little more refinement in terms of cutting away some of the tail to round it out. A rounder kicktail is best for flip tricks as flat-shaped kicktails tend to grab the ground and decrease pop. Same for the nose kick which has a concave cut on the front, which has thrown off flip tricks in our experiences. Otherwise, the sharp rails and the overall finish of the deck was great. The sides started to splinter a little bit as I did more freestyle, but that’s to be expected with any longboard deck that’s getting thrashed.

Second, the concave. The Superfreak has a compound W-flare concave, which means it’s straight radial down the length of the board, with some hefty W in the middle which flattens out before the bolts, supplemented by large wheel flares. The W concave is great for pushing out slides, as it supports the inside of your arch. The flares are comparable to the flares on a Loaded Tesseract, as they come up and give you an extra boost on concave if you ever need it. It’s nothing complicated, and it does the job very well.

Third, auxiliary features. The Superfreak features what seems to be UHMW bumpers on the nose and tail, which extends the durability of the deck by a substantial amount. I’ve found that after a week of heavy freestyle, the tail has worn significantly less than a similar deck of wood construction. I haven’t curbed the Superfreak yet, but I’d expect the deck to hold up well to such an impact. Never Summer did a great job with the bumpers- the fact that they figured out how to inlay UHMW into the board as a ply is an innovative and interesting design.

All in all, the Never Summer is a great board for all-around slashing, mellow downhill and some freeride in an innovative, well-engineered package! Get yours before they sell out!

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.

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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!

Voxel Boards – 3310

At LNV, we like and appreciate smaller board companies who are always innovating. Because they are smaller, small-time boardmakers have more wiggle room, being away from the prying eyes of critics and consumer bases. Instead, they have a clean slate to test their creations and work towards something unique that works.

Many starter companies however, begin producing boards without a strong base and footing in skateboarding and skateboard technologies. These companies never take off, as their constructions aren’t strong and they run into problems while operating the board. Shawn is an exception- a skateboarder for 7 years, Shawn at Voxel Boards knows how important it is to have a strong, tested construction and core before you can experiment with concaves and shapes.

We paired up with Shawn over the weekend and did a little interview with him to really get into the mind of a amateur-turning-professional boardmaker! Check it out below.

LNV: What prompted you to start making boards?

Voxel: The things that prompted me to make boards were all very personal. I had lots of experience growing up around tools, and I knew how to make things. I first wanted to make boards when I was about 14. It took me till I was 20 to realize “Okay, now I actually have the ways and means to do this. I’m not in school, my job sucks…Let’s do this.”

LNV: What do you think is your greatest selling point?

Voxel: I think our greatest selling point is that at our current size, doing limited releases and small batches let’s us improve quickly, and let’s us do weird and niche things that other companies can’t cater to. We have some really cool ideas for limited releases in the future, and the idea is to make sure that something stands out to you in every single one.

LNV: What sets you apart from other boardmakers in the industry?

Voxel: I think what really sets us apart is how we handle our graphics. We have more artists than we have board makers or business people in the company. So, when you go to order a board from our site, we prompt you with options for selecting your board. You’ll be able to choose “Custom Graphic” from those options, and actually work with our artists to commission something that goes onto your board. We also give people the option to upload their own image for use, but I haven’t seen anyone else approach it quite the way we have yet.

LNV: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to upscale production?

Voxel: Well I recently got a job, and so far, it’s changed my life for the better. It’s also shifted my career to be more around woodworking, and craftsmanship. You’re going to see me trying a lot of new things within the coming months. Lots of unique materials and new construction. In terms of production, we currently only stock the 3310 on the site, so we’re going to be doing re-releases of a few of the old boards pretty soon. Lots of redesigns! I’m also going to be implementing a lot of changes to the manufacturing process, so we’re going to get higher quality, and hopefully try to get more recognition in the community.

LNV: What was your greatest inspiration for the 3310 and its shape?

Voxel: The inspiration for the 3310 came a lot from my desire to do better. I was on the like, 5th mould revision on another deck, and I knew that if I didn’t switch projects, I would get burnt out. I had a lot going on in the company at the time too, so I spent time sorting through that, and working on the new design. It took me a few days to design the mould, then I designed a shape. I spent a whole week just making the mould, and when I was done with it I slapped on the veneers a few layers at a time. Finally after two weeks, we had this giant, rectangular double-kick blank. It felt a lot like holding a certain, indestructible phone in my hands.

The Voxel 3310, as the name suggests, is one tank of a board. It’s been curbed, slapped, hopped and smashed, and yet the rails stay pristine as ever. The slightly square-ish, rounded off figure is utilitarian- maximizing the effective foot platform and increasing the amount of kicktail that has an effect on flip tricks.

The 3310 has a hefty tub concave which flattens out near the street-inspired kicktails for a high pop and ollie-able capability. The back comes with a minimalist, stylish wood-grain graphic with a stain to keep it clean and stickers an absolute possibility!

Pre-order on Voxelboards.com now!

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.

Loaded Boards 2016 Tan Tien Complete

Tan Tien – Loaded Boards

New from Loaded is the 2016 Tan Tien! A refresh of one of the most iconic decks from Loaded is welcomed as we near the close of 2016.

Blending lines between the disciplines of cruise-carve and advanced trick riding, the Tan Tien holds it’s own for riders who enjoy more than just a commute. The deck measures 39″ long x 8.75″ wide with a 27″ wheelbase. The weight of the deck ranges from 3.1 – 3.5 pounds depending on your choice of flex. Flex options range from 1-3 and accommodate riders 170-270+, 130-210+ and 80-170+ pounds respectively. The new, engineered wood bottom veneer and an updated grip design add to the aesthetic of an already eye-pleasing deck. Drop through truck mounts, kick tails, concave and camber round out the features of the Tan Tien.

Loaded drops the updated Tan Tien on December 7th. Hit the link to pick one up and enjoy the ride!

 

Timber Boards Tortuga

Tortuga – Timber Boards

Timber Boards is a Netherlands based manufacturer of longboards, by skaters, for skaters. They started in 2011 with the desire to make a board with more character than the then-available mass-produced units. Each year they have continued to push the envelope of while pursuing the idea of creating the perfect freestyle longboard.

Their recently released Tortuga upholds these ideas as a unique, hand-painted and versatile deck focused on freestyle and dancing.  It measures 45.25″ long and just shy of 9″ wide with wheelbase options from 27.7″ – 30.07″. The Tortuga is widest at the waist, slimming down near the truck mounts and then again getting wider at the tails. This gives the rider lots of options on the foot platform while also lending to the perfectly balanced flex. It’s available in three different flex options so you can choose your mix of dampening and response.

You’ll always be aware of your foot position on the standing platform thanks to the shape and concave of the Tortuga. Although mild, the concave varies depending on location on the board with nearly 1/4″ at the bolt holes, slightly more in the waist and 3/8″ at the tails. The variation keeps the tails rigid and the rider locked in. 1/4″ rocker keeps it stable while wheel wells prevent wheelbite. Construction features three pressed layers of Bamboo throughout with an additional layer in the tails. The extra layer increases durability, adds pop and slows the process of razor tail.

Timber stays true to it’s roots with hand painted details in the turtle graphic on the belly. The Turtle here is extra relevant, since Tortuga is the Spanish word for Tortoise. The details remind us that each Tortuga is unique and that Timber is staying true to the ideas it was founded on! Hit the link to check out what Timber offers and pick up a new Tortuga to rip!

Holding Holz

39″ Cruiser – Holz Longboards

Miami based longboard manufacturer Holz Longboards produces unique, hand-made longboards with a touch of electricity. Each deck is individually numbered and features a distinct pattern created by running high-voltage electricity from end to end. Their versatile 39″ Bamboo Cruiser is no exception in and it’s built to keep you smiling while you kick.

The Bamboo cruiser measures 39″ long x 9.5″ wide with 1/2″ of concave and 5/8″ of camber. It’s constructed from sandwiching 3 layers of 1/16″ Bamboo and 2 layers of 1/8″ Baltic Birch around a fiberglass core before sealing it up with an epoxy resin finish.

Holz Shop

Holz Shop

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