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)

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!

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.

 

Earthwing x Muirskate – Muirderer 33 Insights and Impressions

(Note, I know there are a lack of photos, but we will upload them as we get them!)

We did a review of the Muirskate Podiums and Markers a couple weeks ago, and that was an awesome time- the concept of a shop making their own products is definitely new and welcome. Great way for the shop to make themselves some money, and get their own personal tastes into their products. I’m a fan.

Muirskate has always had this tradition of partnering with boardmakers to have a budget board for people to pick up in case they didn’t want to spend too much on their first board or whatnot. In the past it was Rayne with the Muiracle, but for now, it’s Earthwing with the Muirderer!

I talked to Scott a few weeks ago and he was (as always) generous enough to send me a Muirderer 33 (there are two sizes, 33 and 36) to test out and write about. What a wholesome man, I’d totally buy him a dinner. Funny story- it got stuck in Canadian Customs for a couple weeks before it was released to my house and panic ensued, but I did some calling and I found my board and got it to my house eventually. After experimenting with some different truck setups and wheel choices and shredding it for a few weeks as my daily putt board, I’m confident that I have experienced all this board has to give.

The Muirderer 33 is a 33 inch (go figure) long single kick board with pretty generous freeride-esque concave. It’s 9.75 inches wide, which is pretty wide for a board that’s only 33 inches long, but it makes a lot of sense. I’ll get into that later. It’s got some really mellow W concave, wheel flares, a flat kicktail and a bit of a flared-up nose to help you catch those ollies. All in all, a pretty fun shape that’s meant to do a lot of things on a miniature scale. I assume the 37 came first, and then they shrunk it down to make the 33. Great choice, in my opinion.

So, the first setup I had for the Muirderer was Paris 150s and Orangatang Skiffs- I had a lot of trouble with that setup, since I got wheelbite and not enough turn. Pretty bad choice on my part, I should’ve known better, since Earthwing makes a lot of their stuff based off of Independent 169s. So I got myself a set of 159s, and the setup worked a lot better. The wheel wells are perfect for Indys. I had no trouble with wheelbite, and even running a really leany setup on my Indys, I had nothing to worry about. I’d strongly recommend going with either Independents or your favorite TKP (traditional kingpin) truck with this board.

Now, about the concave. I found the concave to be so, so comfortable and appropriate for the board’s size. It’s just straight up, mellow progressive radial concave complemented by some small-ish wheel flares. I like the design cue behind this- since the board is short, there’s nothing that gets in the way of you using the full length of the board as your standing platform. You can realistically put your feet wherever and they wouldn’t feel squished out of form or cramped at all. The board tapers towards the front of the board. Intended or not, it makes it easy to wedge your foot into one of the wheel flares for a nice lock for the front foot. In the back, you can rest your feet near or on the wheel flares as a good reference point for your tuck or slides. The W is very mellow- I usually can’t tell it’s there, but it definitely adds to support when you’re putting out a quick heelside check. For reference, it’s like a Tesseract, but with less concave, smaller wheel flares and much less W. The kicktail! It’s functional, flat like a street kick, and there’s not much else about it. It works and I’m thankful for that.

The construction is of maple, and for the most part it’s been durable. There’s a little chipping on the wheel wells and the wheel flares are definitely seeing some wear from sliding along the ground, but that’s with any skateboard and I’m alright with it. The one thing that’s concerning me is that the board’s gotten twisty since I got it. It’s not warped, but torsionally, it’s not the stiffest board. It’s small, so it doesn’t make that large of a difference, but I can jump in the middle and the board will flex a solid 4 centimeters. Again, not an issue since my feet are near the bolts anyway, but I’m curious about the 37 version since it’s larger and people with smaller stances will definitely be putting a lot of pressure in the middle of the board.

All in all, the Muirskate x Earthwing Muirderer is one of the best small decks that I’ve stood on and used extensively. It will be staying in my quiver as that board I’ll hop onto for beer runs and going out to meet friends. It’s functional enough for some meme-ey freeride at the local outlaws! I strongly recommend it for its price point as well. Get out there and swoop one up!