There are companies out there that we’ve talked about (Pantheon for example) who take a lot of their design inspiration from direct community involvement. Whether it’s through word of mouth or through the scouring of facebook pages and forums, the latest concave and shape trends actually end up on the next iteration of whatever board. Rolling Tree is another one of those companies- but Rolling Tree is a tad bit different.
Rolling Tree has this program where skaters- just random skaters from anywhere, can design a deck and upload it to a facebook group where people are able to vote for their favorite designs. When and how a deck is produced is up to Rolling Tree and their schedule, but any random Joe can put up a sketch and have a chance at it. (That being said, it’s advantageous to have CAD mockups and models ready to show and present- that’s a lot better than a notebook sketch.) Anywho, when your design gets approved, Rolling Tree figures out production, does some prototyping, does a run of the decks and slaps them on the page, and slaps one into the designer’s hands. Pretty wholesome process and project overall. The previous one was the Acedia- which sold so well that they even made a carbon version of it.
But now the Lotus.
The Lotus is a directional drop deck that seems to be designed purely for utility and less on aesthetics (even if the graphic is incredible). It has these blocky cuts to accomodate a clean, even taper from 9.7 inches wide to 9.2 inches wide, large, ergonomic drops with clean wheels wells and what seems to be comfortable, crescent-shaped drops. The deck is overall a very manageable length at 37 inches (small dropped decks are the best, you can go drop to drop without stretching!), and a very comfortable but nimble wheelbase of 27-28 inches variable. Anything between 26 and 30 is generously drifty and stable- nimble and responsive, and not long enough to be sluggish and hard to stay on top of.
The concave is very different from the simpler things coming out on the market currently- people seem to be into simple radial concaves and featureless tub concaves these days (see Valhalla Skateboards, Rayne and Landyachtz). And if there is W to contend with, it’s a simple bump in the middle or a strip down the length of the board. The Lotus has something radically different- double W in the back, and bacon cave in the front and back of the board. Lots to work with, so your feet will never really slip off if you don’t want them to. There’s definitely a market though- some people (like me, 2 years ago) really enjoy lots of concave features. Some feel naked without them, and I totally understand.
All in all, the Lotus is a lot of experimental concave features packed into a board, pulled off in a seamless package. Rolling Tree does it again! Also remember that Rolling Tree does truck chops and a lot of various custom work that you can pay for.