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])

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!

Loaded – Pushin Cushion

So you’ve been out skating for a few hours now- pushing around town. Your feet are tired, you dread the next push. Hell, it hurts to sit down! Your feet are throbbing with every beat of your heart and you take your shoe off and massage the bottom of your foot but it doesn’t help! You’re completely pooped! The world turns greyscale and you hear a voice in the distance:

“Are your feet tired from skating all day? Do you wish there was a way to… cushion your feet on your board?”

You nod your head yes. So much yes!

“Well, you might want some of this Loaded Cushion Cushion! It’s what your feet crave! Comfort is a guarantee!”

Uh… we don’t know who that was, but it might’ve been Ethan Cochard.

We can’t be sure, but we CAN be sure about the Loaded Pushin’ Cushion, Loaded’s most recent possibly game-changing creation! Made of special dense, yellow foam, the Pushin’ Cushion is the answer to your tired feet’s screams of existential pain and loathing.

The Pushin Cushion is a pretty technologically advanced product- it’s made of XRD’s PORON foam (http://www.xrd.tech/howitworks/index.aspx), which is the same stuff that G-Form’s pads are made of. It’s made of urethane- similar stuff to the material in your wheels, but of a special cellular structure. Technically speaking, urethane molecules will absorb energy from an impact. When this specific cellular structure absorbs enough impact, it’ll momentarily “freeze”. Since this threshold is quite low, it’s usable in safety applications. Basically, it just hardens on impact and absorbs up to 90% of impacts. Pretty great stuff!

I received a portion of Pushin Cushion a while back, and the first thing I did was to put it on my long-distance pusher (as the name implies, this is what it was designed for). I felt locked in! It’s a small, small difference mind you- the foam doesn’t compress a whole lot, but that extra millimeter or two of being surrounded by foam keeps you in place for sure. I tried it on a stiffer deck, and I found that it had an even greater effect on vibrations from the road. Basically, get the vibration-cancellation effects of a flexy deck on a stiff one! Installation is a learned procedure for sure- the first time I did it came out quite messy, but I did it another time and it came out quite clean. Loaded’s instructions are:

  1. Remove any old griptape and adhesive residue.
  2. Apply the Poron like a sheet of griptape. No need to stretch as it will behave better under minimal tension.
  3. Press down and massage the Poron everywhere, especially along the rails/edges of the board, to ensure good adhesion. Avoid wrapping it over the rails as it will make trimming messier.
  4. Use a fresh razor blade to trim the Poron along the outline of the deck as you would a sheet of griptape. Some tips:
    1. Stabilize the deck and carefully cut by bringing the razor toward you.
    2. Keep the razor sliding against the deck.
    3. Maintain a shallow angle of attack.
    4. Make each cut as long and smooth as possible.
    5. Continuously move the blade vertically (think slicing) while cutting.
    6. Replace the razor whenever it gets gunked up and sticky (you may need at least 2-3 blades for a single deck).
    7. Finish the edges by buffing lightly with fine-grit sandpaper or griptape (if you’re feeling fancy).
  5. Apply the new griptape over the Poron.
  6. Punch your mounting hardware through the Poron just like you would with griptape. Hold the surrounding area down as needed to minimize adhesive separation.
  7. Tighten your bolts down snug enough to eliminate any play; the Poron will get squashed, but that’s okay.

You can also stack Poron like you used to do with Vicious back in the day- this doesn’t waste griptape and it adheres to itself better, in my experience. I haven’t done it myself, but when I was stacking some to put on the inside of my guitar case, it stuck to itself splendidly. Also, it can be used for DIY projects such as my guitar case or baby-proofing your house! How thoughtful of Loaded.

Get yourself a pack and show us what you did with your Pushin Cushion!

PS. Loaded got us real good with that packaging.