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). 

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!

Landyachtz – Cheese Grater

Back when I first started in the scene- 3 years ago, there was a certain skateboarder that I quickly developed a skater-crush on. He was so modestly gnarly- ready to teach me, a beginner, and just really fun and incredible as a person. He was mostly baked out of his mind most of the time, but he was still tons of fun nonetheless. His constant love of skateboarding and push to do better is one of the reasons I am proficient in my drifts today. Seriously.

Well, 3 years ago, I saw how good this guy was at skating (he was already sponsored by Landyachtz at time), I asked him if he had a promodel. And he was just like, “Nah, not yet- I don’t think I’m that important hahaha” and I bet him that he’d get one very, very soon. He still just shrugged it off. And I just sit here and chuckle because… Alex Hannigan, I told you so.

Alex rode a 2013 Wolfshark for as long as I’ve known him- not the newer ones, he just loved the original 2013 Wolfshark. The concave was apparently perfect and he’d always rave about how the w and flares created the perfect foot pockets for his stance. So when I first stood on the Cheese Grater many weeks before its release, I knew at first stand that it was a 2013 Wolfshark mold, with slightly smaller flares, and lots and lots of extra wheelbase options. The concave has got some really nice, juicy microdrops and flares that you can really feel. Continue reading →

Paris Truck Co. – A Rundown.

When it comes to widespread truck companies, one of the oldest and largest is the Paris Truck Company, based (now) in Culver City, California! Named after one of the most romantic cities on earth, Paris has weaved their way into the hearts of many skateboarders, both in street, pool, on the boardwalk, and in downhill. They’re a generous, wholesome company, with policies to make sure the customer and skateboarder comes first, innovation an absolute priority, and progression of the community always in the back of their minds and hearts.

However, written information about many trucks on the market is lacking, and as an investigative writer, I am compelled to put down some information that people will be able to use in the future!

Paris Cast V2s:

To begin, it’s worthy to mention that you have most likely come across a set of Paris trucks in the past. Paris is widespread in the market, to the point of having knockoffs sold on chinese markets and on mall completes. So you’ve most likely either stood on or seen a set of these in the wild. V2s are some of the most loved cruising trucks in the market right now, for their flowy, turny attitudes, relatively standard prices and ease of use. What makes V2s so flowy, surfy and enjoyable? It’s all in the geometry.

To put it simply, Paris V2s have a relatively open bushing seat that allows you to compress bushings further and lean further than many trucks on the market. That doesn’t make Paris trucks inherently better or anything, it just makes them good for certain applications- such as cruising and carving around. The axles are offset from the pivot axis (in a feature called rake), so your turn increases exponentially as you lean. There’s a bunch of science and technical information behind how this works, but that’s what it does, and it makes the truck very lively when you need them to be.

One of Paris’s early advertisements in Concrete Wave Mag.

Paris V2s as they come stock have 89a Divine bushings in them- some come with cones and barrels, some come with dual barrels in them. They’re decent bushings with decent urethane, and anyone from 140-170 pounds will fare quite well on them. Anyone outside that weight range may have difficulty enjoying stock Paris trucks, but aftermarket bushings exist for very good prices and in different hardnesses, so adapting is not difficult in the slightest.

Now, there’s all this information about why Paris V2s are great for cruising and carving around, but I’m sure you’ve heard about downhill skaters taking them to high speeds and pushing out slides. This is where some of my experience pops in- I downhilled and raced on Paris V2s when I was a beginner in the scene. And let me tell you, they are very, very capable of fast, gnarly skateboarding. Before the Paris Savants were released, many Paris fanatics did the same on V2s- like other cast trucks, you can dial V2s to be more stable for downhill through different bushing setups. Some companies, such as Riptide, have emerged with Paris-series bushings which fit the bushing seat more precisely, eliminating slop. Paris is awesome for downhill and freeride because of the rake (what we talked about earlier)- the center is generous, and once you lean outwards, the turn increases exponentially, so it makes for a very surfy, stable setup once set up correctly.

Paris Savants:

Paris Savants are Paris’s most recent solution to their lack of a precision truck in their lineup. Historically they had been working on some Paris precisions, but plans fell through and the release of a precision truck from Paris was delayed by almost half a decade- but that’s fine, because the final product that did end up getting released was something spectacular. They were able to capture the flowy, carvy essence of Paris V2s but also increase the center point and create a more downhill/freeride-oriented truck.

Paris Savants are forged. This means that rather than having molten aluminum poured into a mold, a block of either heated or cold aluminum is hammered in a high-pressure environment into the desired shape of the truck. This creates an incredibly strong, well-grained aluminum structure in a relatively lighter package. They’re also different from CNC precisions, which are cut from a billet of aluminum in a 3 or 4-axis CNC machine. Do note that they’re a fair bit heavier than the Paris V2, so they might not be the most versatile for a freestyle or cruising purpose.

Cruising fast on Savants.

Setting up Savants to be good downhill/freeride trucks is relatively simple, if you are coming off of Paris V2s. You are able to use the exact same bushing setup as in your V2s- but don’t expect to get the same feeling. Savants have tighter tolerances, a different pivot shape and a slightly thicker pivot cup- this will change the feeling of your trucks quite a bit. For one, you have a larger center point- you’ll find that the trucks won’t quite go from rail to rail as quickly as V2s. Rather, they’ll have an area in the middle of your lean where you feel remarkably stable and locked in. Also, due to the added cylindrical nature of the pivot, the truck feels as if it has more rebound. So all in all, the Savant is a downhill-ified version of the V2 and I’ve been very pleased with their performance.

In conclusion, Paris Trucks are great- and you should get a set! Even though they are just one truck in a sea of many, they are dear and close to my heart and I hope they will be close to yours as well in the coming skate season. Happy skating!

Matt Kienzle takes a corner.