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.

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.

 

Writer’s Picks: Rayne Reaper V3 Shipwreck

As a skateboarder, I’ve spent most of my time on Rayne decks. I enjoy the steeper concaves, light construction and the longevity of stiffness that comes with Rayne’s signature vertically laminated bamboo construction. I’m aware that the last writer’s pick was a Rayne Exorcist, but that’s only because well, I hopped onto a Rayne Reaper after the Exorcist and feel that I’ve progressed tremendously because of it. Other boards will come, I assure you. But today I wanted to speak a bit about the Rayne Reaper and why I feel that it’s one of the best double drops on the market today. 

(There’s no Reaper video, but the Nemesis is very comparable.)

A little bit on the history of the Reaper- the first double drop that Rayne made was the Demonseed. It was introduced as a push board for long distances- but it soon gained popularity as a downhill deck and so the Nemesis and Reaper were introduced as size alternatives for people with different sized feet and leg lengths. The Nemesis was massively popular for a few years for its large drop and drifty attitudes- but the Reaper was swept under the rug a little when it came to the double drop scene because it was small for a lot of people. 

It’s the perfect size for me though- I have a really small stance (I mean, I used to ride a 34 inch downhill topmount) and I hate having extra board outside of my stance. So large double drops like a Nemesis are a no-go for me- I feel sluggish and sloppy having an extra 4 inches of board all the time past my back foot. The 36 inch nature of the Reaper gave me a compact, defined standing platform for my feet and I could comfortably stand drop-to-drop without feeling too spread out. It was really confidence-boosting as I have trouble finding a comfortable place on a lot of boards. I had the issue on my Loaded Tesseract, Omen Airship, and Vandal. But having a HUGE drop that both my feet could contact comfortably was a source of unremarkable confidence that led to me sending it a significant bit harder in the following weeks. Also, having tiny feet (size 8 mens) meant that most decks are too wide for me, but the 9.5 inch width of the Reaper was perfect for me to keep my back foot in a position where I could go rail-to-rail for comfortable sliding and cornering.

Continue reading →

Cloud Ride – Storm Chasers

It’s been awhile since I reviewed a wheel! A couple weeks ago, I received a set of Cloud Ride Storm Chasers in the mail- they’re the new downhill wheel from Cloud Ride wheels, a popular urethane company affiliated with Atlas and DB Longboards. Historically, Cloud Ride has never had a grip wheel offering. The Freerides were grippier than most, but their shape and urethane was still engineered to give a nice, in-the-pavement slide. However, with the Storm Chasers, Cloud Ride finally has a fully fleshed-out wheel lineup, all the way from cruiser wheels to downhill-heavy grip wheels.

I had heard some rumors that the Cloud Ride Storm Chasers were the same stock core and generic urethane as some other downhill wheels on the market. But I was a little skeptical of these rumors, since Cloud Ride had been advertising their custom core for months now- and it’s true, they’re definitely custom. It’s called the Thunder Core, and it’s actually produced at a facility separate from the one where the urethane is poured; definitely a higher-end process, since many wheel companies just choose from the selection that the urethane company offers them. However, that’s not to say that the Thunder Core is anything ordinary- the recessed design is unique when compared to other proprietary cores such as the Cobra Core or the RAD Crown Core; those are large, but the Thunder Core is small, with support ribs closer to the bearing hub.

This allows for an incredibly gushy, soft-feeling wheel. The small core allows urethane to deform further than other wheels, and the difference is absolutely noticeable. In my time riding the Cloud Ride Storm Chasers, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to grip drift corners and have difficulty putting down small bike paths where I would normally pull off drifts and checks on my other wheels. Naturally, I’ve been riding a lot faster than I normally would.

The slide is definitely in the pavement- the skin takes around 4-5 fast drifts to take off completely (I do wish it lasted a little longer), and the slide is a little choppy with the skin on, but afterwards, it’s wonderful for anything race-esque. They kill so much speed compared to large-contact-patch wheels such as Cult Raptures and Biggie Hawgs because they’re grippy (not to say that they’re bad wheels, they’re great too) and really dig into the ground. I’ve never felt safer going down a hill with cars coming up the other side. I know I’d be able to stop with only a moment’s notice.

Some auxiliary information- Storm Chasers are seriously, seriously heavy and carry a metric crap-ton of momentum. They make some very good commuting wheels if you can get some shorter hangars and make them stick out anything but an inch out the side of your board. Just a personal opinion, Cloud Ride should make a version that’s offset just for commuting purposes. They’re so cushy!

All in all, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Cloud Ride Storm Chasers; if you’re looking for a grippy, responsive, speed-killing, fast wheel, these might very well be for you.

Ahmyo – Akasha FR

Ahmyo is one of those smaller companies that have a fanbase that’s much larger than you would expect- people run Ahmyo wheels at Maryhill, kill dozens of sets at Giant’s Head Freeride, and many use them to get around town because of their efficient, purpose-driven shapes. So it’s no surprise that the next wheel that they release will be heavily hyped as well, just like the Vibez and Protos before these ones.

One of the most ridden Ahmyo wheels is the Akasha- a large, inset grip wheel versatile for both downhill and long distance push alike. The drift is supreme, the roll speed is fast, and the contact patch is large. If only they made a version that was stone-ground and freeridable…. Continue reading →

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!

Subsonic Longboards – Blackout Series

When it comes to manufacturing longboards, not many companies have taken on the endeavor of making custom longboards with custom concaves and custom shapes for the customer- most companies engineer a diverse lineup of boards and sell them throughout the year. This means that in many cases, the rider’s style comes to match the board- not the other way around. Now you might think that it should be that the board is made to the style of the rider, and the guys and gals at Subsonic Longboards feel that way! Since 1999, Subsonic has been creating boards of all kinds for all different people.

This year, they emerged with a new, sexy line of boards that are pre-made, but nonetheless incredible. The Blackout Series features a high-contrast graphic made of a white overlay on a black background. The graphics are then accented by colored side-rails of various bright colors, which really gives the boards a futuristic look.

The catch on these boards is that they’re extremely cheap- that’s because they’re actually cosmetic blems that Subsonic has repainted and refurbished to sell as their Blackout lineup- and if I may comment, that sounds like they’re reducing waste and making sure each longboard goes to a loving place!

This year, they have many variants of two boards- the Shadow 37 and the Talon 37. All boards come with the signature black and white graphic, but are stained on their sidewalls and wheel wells.

The Shadow 37 is 37 inches long with a hefty kicktail on the rear end. The board features slight rocker on the front end to give it a +4 degree wedge, and has Subsonic’s proprietary tri-plane radial, which is a smart mixture of large tub and radial concaves. There’s a small, half-inch microdrop at the front and the board is overall, 9.5 inches wide.

The Talon 37 is a board of the same length, with a unique wedging scheme going on for pumping, dh, and long distance pushing. The +12/-12 degree wedging scheme is extremely powerful when it comes to dh and pumping, and it doesn’t have a bulky drop like some other wedged drop decks. There’s also a slight taper, which is comfortable to stand on. It’s great for drfting, as your back foot doesn’t have to move as much between rails.

 

Rayne Deep V Nose

Rayne – New Year Updates!

Rayne’s been busy for the new year! These past few weeks have been hectic at the factory, and the work has only just slowed down enough for our Rayne Representative to get back to us with a report and wrap-up of everything that’s happened at the headquarters this holiday season.

First off! For Black Friday in 2016, Rayne gave to us 4 boards in Quad-Beam Deelite Technology, the latest and greatest in Rayne’s special constructions! The new construction is hand-made in the Rayne factory, with 4 foam cores meticulously placed into tight chambers CNC’d in-house. Then, it is saturated with bonding agent, and laid over with a sleek carbon topsheet which reduces torsional flex and increases the longevity of the deck. The 4 boards offered in this construction come with a sleek rainbow graphic, newly designed by Rayne artists! As always, these graphics are sublimated under durable topsheets.

The 4 decks currently offered in this Quad-Beam Deelite Technology are the Demonseed, the Darkside V2, the Exorcist, and the Genesis. They are made to order, so you know they’re of top-notch quality.

For Boxing Day, Rayne revealed two very exciting prototype boards- the Rayne Ego and the Rayne Deep V, two incredibly shapes that Rayne’s never tried before- pre-wedged downhill decks.

The Ego is a +7/-7 wedged drop-through board which pays homage to the original days of downhill, when everybody rocked downhill boards with gnarly wedges to them- they’re making a comeback, and Rayne’s new board is a top contender.

The Deep V is a front-wedged deck that gives the rider a nice +12 degree wedge, creating both a large pocket for tucking and a turny front truck to really dive into corners like you mean it. The shape of the board also creates a front-leaning board, which helps relieve muscle aches and pain during long tucks, which many riders will find to be a plus.

Check all of this out at Rayne.com! Some boards may be sold out.

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!