Moronga is Spanish for Slide — Orangatang Moronga Review

Moronga is Spanish for Slide — Orangatang Moronga Review

Hello Students of Radness,

The chipper group over at Orangatang recently dropped another wheel sensation; the Moronga. A bunch of people in the community are saying that Morongas are basically Balut 2.0 and they may be saying that with some good reasons. The Moronga and the Balut have the same diameter, the some contact patch, and use the same urethane formula. However, I think that saying Morongas are a just a tweaked version of the Balut is kind of a simplification and that it glosses over the fact these wheels are, in fact, better than Baluts in a variety of ways.

I was lucky enough to be granted not one but three sets of Morongas. Which has allowed me to shred one wheel in each durometer and therefore give you the most complete review and overview possible.

Let’s get into the technical specifications of the wheel. Morongas come in the three signature color-durometer combinations offered by Orangatang: Orange 80a, Purple 83a, and Yellow 86a. The lower number, of course, being the softest and the higher number coming in as the hardest. Unlike the majority of Orangatang wheels Morongas are poured with a Euphorethane formula and not the standard Happythane. The core of the wheel is very large, wrapped in thane, and topped off with a rounded but relatively thick lip. In addition, the bearing seat is centerset which means the wheels can be ridden in any direction. Morongas have a 72.5mm diameter and a 35mm contact patch with a width of 44mm.

Well now that we have got the techy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about how these bad boys handle in the field.

Commute
Morongas are a great wheel for cruising through town and impressing all the soccer moms with your commuting steeze. Coming in at 72.5mm they are a bit taller than your average wheel, which adds to your top speed, but they have a more narrow contact patch. This narrow contact patch translates to a wheel without a lot of weight behind it which means that you can get Moronags up to speed very quickly. I really like the fact that I can slide to a stop for a traffic light and push back up to my regular speed with minimal effort on these wheels. Unfortunately the Euphorethane formula in conjunction with that large core does have a little bit of a downside, that combination makes your wheels feel really hard under your feet. So if you commute over terrible pavement or lots of bumps the vibrations will start to rattle you after a few miles.

I have found that the Purple, or 83a, Morongas are my favorite hardness to push for a long time. Mostly because harder wheels are faster than softer wheels and soft wheels can eat up vibration. Purple Morongas are right in the middle and allow you to achieve a nice balance between speed and vibration dampening. This balance is great for pushing between classes or for my 2 mile push to work every day.

Freestyle
In my opinion, when it comes to freestyle longboarding the lighter the wheel the better. Which is why Morongas kind of rock for freestyle. That narrow contact patch we talked about earlier makes them a hair lighter than other 72mm wheels. It is really noticeable when trying to hit serious flip tricks like bigspins and kickflips. The first time I slapped my Morongas on my Chubby Unicorn,after rocking 4Presidents, I kept over-rotating all my tricks because I wasn’t used to how light my setup had become haha.

 

Another nice aspect Morongas can offer all you freestylers out there is how easily you can pop them into a 180 powerslide. When I freestyle and link tricks I like being able to throw my board in and out of a switch stance through slides (much steezier than pivots) and Morongas let me do that without a problem.

Yellow, or 86a, Morongas are undoubtedly my favorite durometer to freestyle on. Being nice and hard is just so nice for flatland. Mostly because, as I mentioned, I like to kick out into 180 slides like it is my job. The Yellows are definitely the easiest durometer to bust out a slide on the flats with and I dig it.

Downhill
I can tell you this much, while the Morongas are certainly not a downhill shape they can definitely get you from the top to the bottom. The 72.5mm diameter means that these wheels are going accelerate quickly and sustain a slightly higher top speed than your average 70mm longboard wheel. However, these wheels don’t have much bulk to them, which means they are not very massive, so they are not going to get as much momentum going as a wider wheel would.

I don’t think that Morongas are going to be anyone’s go to race wheel anytime soon (unless you’re racing some crazy technical course). That being said, I was very surprised at how much grip you can get out of Morongas when you want to, mostly with the softer durometer. I was surprised because the wheels are so slidey in general but if you really spend some time on them you can easily learn their grip-slide patterns. If nothing else Morongas are predictable, which is fantastic when going fast and you need to know exactly what your wheels are going to do.

If you are looking to downhill on these wheels then I highly recommend the Orange, or 80a Moronagas. They have the most grip out of the three and drift beautifully. I tried going fast on my Yellow Morongas a couple times, it was scary, haha, they cannot offer the predictability and smooth drift at speed that the Orange ones can.

Freeride
I think that we all know what Morongas were really meant for… slides on slides on slides. Morongas eat freeride for breakfast and poop out silly long standies. You might think that was a joke but I am deadly serious.

Having such a narrow contact patch give you less resistance against the ground when looking to hit slides. That’s just plain and simple science. In addition to that narrow contact patch Morongas are rocking a pretty sweet lip shape. The lip is rounded and thicker towards the outside of the wheel relative to the inside near the bearing seat. This allows the contact patch to remain consistent down to the core of the wheel (note: I have not been able to core these wheels yet because they are so durable. I know the aforementioned information based on the design of the Moronga itself). The core is very large, it is the same spoked core as the Balut, and works in conjunction with the lip shape to offer exceedingly minimal wheel deformation while sliding. Which all boils down to a very very consistent wheel and slide.

In addition to being inherently slidey due to their contact patch and lip shape Morongas are also poured in Orangatang Euphorethane formula. Euphorethane is definitely one my favorite thanes out there because it is so freaking durable. The trade off in durability is that Morongas do not dump thane like some less durable wheels on the market, but that is not a problem for me. I don’t need to measure my thane lines to have fun.

How do they slide?
Morongas slide fantastically all the time. However they feel different based on how you are sliding them. If you are using your Morongas without going very fast they are going to be a little noisy. Now, I think this kind of scares people off because they think noisy means chattery, but let me be clear in that they are not chattery. They may let out a majestic call, much like a hawk, when being slide at slower speeds but the slide is still smooth and consistent.

However, if you are going fast enough to hold a slide out for more than 5 feet or so they quiet  right back down. They jump from the noisy zone to what I call the sugar zone. What is interesting about Morongas is that when they truly break free after a few feet of sliding, into the sugar zone, you can hardly feel the transition. I have noticed with many other wheels that the transition between trying to grip and breaking free can be kind of jerky and weird. Morongas have no such problem and are very predictable under your feet.

When it comes down to freeride I think that any color Moronga would serve you well, it all depends on how you ride. If you are just learning how to hold out long slides go with the harder Yellow ones. For those of you who have been enjoying freeride for a while now but don’t hit slides over 25mph I would consider the Purples. People who love to hit a billion foot slides after going 45mph should definitely get the Orange. I personally rock the Purples and love them! However, always remember that I cannot give you a definite recommendation on durometer because in the end it all comes down to preference.

It cant all be good…
Nothing is perfect; and Morongas, although awesome, are no exception to this rule. I would say the only real downside I have come across with this wheel is on the commute. The large core and dense Euphorethane formula makes for a rough ride over bumpy pavement. Morongas can shake your teeth out of your head after a mile of rough pavement, haha.

The Bottom Line
Would I recommend Morongas to a friend?
I think that Morongas are fantastic wheel and that they suit the needs of a very diverse group of riders. If you are into freestyle grab yourself a set of the Yellows. If you like to freeride then either the Purple or the Orange will suit you at whatever speed tickles your fancy. If you havent taken the time to try Orangatang products then there has never been a better time than now. Morongas are killing it!

Thanks for Reading!
Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Hatemail, Spam???
Send it my way!

Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setups:

Commute:
-Bustin Sportster
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 50*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 83a
-Venom Bushings
-Daddies Bearings

Downhill:
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 45*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 80a
-Venom Bushings
-Daddies Bearings

Freeride
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 50*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 83a
-Venom Bushings
-Daddies Bearings

Freestyle
-Loaded TanTien
-Paris V2 180mm
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 86a
-Orangatang Nipples (soft)
-Daddies Bearings

An Illuminating Wheel — Northern Lights Review

An Illuminating Wheel — Northern Lights Review

Hello My Friends,
I have recently started riding a new set of wheels, Northern Lights by Balance Skate Products. Northern Lights are new to the Balance line-up and were designed as an all around wheel with a knack for all of your freeride endeavors. Something really cool about these wheels is that the cores actually glow in the dark. Yes, you heard me right, the cores glow in the freaking dark!

Which means as soon as these wheels arrived at my house, before I even put them on board, I let them sit under a lamp for a minute then turned off all my lights. Northern Lights lay no false claims. They totally glow in the dark, which is just plain old fun.

I know everyone is curious about how well these wheels handle, but before I get into that, let’s talk about the technical specifications of the wheel. Balance Skate Products’ Northern Lights are 70mm in diameter with a 38mm contact patch. The core, aside from being glow in the dark, is slightly offset. Northern Lights come in only one durometer of 83a. They are round lipped and the riding surface is stone ground or “pre-broken-in.”

Downhill
Northern Lights are not really a downhill specific shape, however, I have taken them pretty fast more than a few times and was happy with the results. Coming in at 70mm makes these wheels a very typical size for longboarding but not necessarily for super downhill mode which normally rocks wheels around 75mm. Bigger 75mm wheels have a higher top speed than 70mm wheels so you probably aren’t going to break any speed records on your Northern Lights.

However, these wheels are actually really fun if you like a little bit of slide in your downhill runs. The narrow contact path and the rounded lips make for a very drifty wheel when going fast. If you like to go fast and then slide through a turn the you will enjoy these wheels. That being said, Northern Lights are surprisingly grippy when you want them to stick and held some moderately turny lines when pushing some speed.

Commuting
I do a lot of skateboard commuting (despite the bitter winter cold) on my way to work every day. My commute to work is about two miles long with lots of hills, roads, sidewalks, curbs, cars, and people to maneuver through. I put Northern Lights through these motions every single day, two miles there, two miles back, on every dry day since I got them back in December. Two of the things I really liked when commuting on these wheels were the quick acceleration and the light weight.

Being a 70mm wheel means that you really don’t have to put that much effort into getting these bad boys up to speed. One or two pushes and you are well on your way. They don’t hold speed for a super long time, like a more massive wheel would, but since it takes so little effort to push them it is definitely a fair trade off. Additionally I really enjoyed how light these wheels were when I had to push them for two miles every day.

Freestyle
I mentioned that having a light weight wheel was great for pushing around town, well I think that a light weight might be even more applicable to freestyle skating. If you like to freestyle as much as I do then you probably already know how beneficial a light wheels can be. Northern Lights are great for flip tricks because they don’t weigh your board down very much, especially for a 70mm wheel, which means your spins or flips don’t require a Herculean effort.

Generally when I freestyle skate I throw lots of 180 slides in the mix when linking tricks. Northern Lights are really nice for quick 180 slides on flat ground. You can break the traction very easily and spin them around without a problem. The slide is nice and smooth and the transition is pretty quiet, which is always a plus.

Freeride
Like most people I have been getting more and more into freeride lately and am always questing for a fantastic slide wheel. Northern Lights have definitely hit a sweet spot for freeride. They break traction smoothly and consistently. These wheels do not drop an enormous amount of thane, which means they also do not wear stupidly fast. I can also say that they have been wearing very evenly and uniformly throughout my entire test phase with no flat spots or ovals. Now to answer the question on everyone’s lips, “are they buttery?”

Northern Lights do not have what I would consider to be a buttery slide, they have a very interesting slide that I have really come to enjoy. Once they break traction Northern Lights feel like what an icy slide would be like, however, they are completely controllable. The first time I held out a big slide on Northern Lights I could have sworn they were going ice out right away based on the way the felt under my feet, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find that their slide is super controlled and predictable. I don’t think I have ever ridden a wheel that felt so icy but remained so freaking manageable. Northern Lights are one of my favorite freeride wheels as of late because once you break traction and start sliding they just go without sacrificing control.

It Can’t All Be Good
Every product has a downside or two. I would say that the biggest downside to Northern Lights might be the fact that they look so similar to other wheels on the market. I have heard people say that they are just Metro Motion knock offs. There are in fact many wheels on the market poured in the very same mold as Northern Lights.

However, to these people I would say, “Don’t knock them til you have tried them.” Because while you may have ridden similar wheels I promise that you have not ridden thane like Northern Lights.

The Bottom Line
Would I recommend Northern Lights to a friend?
I wholeheartedly believe that these wheels are a solid choice anyone looking to freeride and freestyle on their board (which is most people these days). They are light, slidey, and very durable. What more could you ask for in a wheel? Northern Lights are a great all around wheel, however, I think that they are at their very best in freeride. If you are looking for a long lasting wheel that can handle pretty much any type of abuse you can throw at, then I would consider Northern Lights.

Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Hatemail, Junkmail???
Send it my way!

Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setup:
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKP 50*
-Venom Bushings
-NORTHERN LIGHTS 70mm 83a
-Venom Bushings
-Daddies Bearings

Kicking it with the Kanthaka — Loaded Kanthaka Review

Kicking it with the Kanthaka — Loaded Kanthaka Review

photo (41)Along with the long awaited Chubby Unicorn Loaded released a second new addition to their line-up. While this deck appears to have a pretty standard popsicle shape, popular in street decks and tech sliders, it definitely has a few stand out features that require a closer look. The Loaded Kanthaka draws from multiple riding styles to create one board that can perform exceptionally well for pretty much anything.

The Kanthaka is a freeriding, tech sliding board with a flare for street style skating. While it may have the appearance of a typical tech slider the Kanthaka handles a little differently due to its dimensions and some subtle construction characteristics. In addition the Kanthaka is a terribly versatile board that can handle parks and traditional street style skating like a champ due in no small part to its fat kicktails and small wheelbase (for a longboard).
photo (39)The Loaded Kanthaka actually comes in two sizes. The sizes on this deck are dictated by the width of the board and not the length (as is typical with most longboards) and gives you the option of a 8.625 in or an 8.875 in. I went with the 8.875 deck because I like to have a nice wide platform for my feet to stand on. Now before we talk about how the Kanthaka handles on the pavement, lets get into the technical specifications:

Loaded Kanthaka

Length

36 in

Width

8.625 in8.875in

Wheelbase

17.5 in

Kicks

7.5 in

Special Features

Rocker, Wheel Wells and Flares, Foot Pockets

Commuting
A first instinct would suggest that the Kanthaka would be very similar to a traditional skateboard when commuting; however, it has these nice wheel wells which allow you to run larger wheels than you would otherwise. Wheel wells can make or break a setup, especially on a longboard, because you generally are riding this type of board with larger wheels than a traditional skateboard would allow. Interestingly, the Kanthaka doesn’t have traditional wheel wells (where there deck is just sanded down for extra clearance); instead it has integrated wheel wells. This lends to a few distinct benefits. First, the board is actually molded up to allow more room for your wheels. Second, the molded wood creates flares on top of the board. Third, by molding wheel wells rather than sanding them out of the deck there are no discontinuities in the fiberglass skin on the bottom of the board; this keeps the deck thick and strong on the wheel well flares. These flares actually end up being super useful, but we’ll talk more about that later.

photo (47)The Kanthaka can take it to the streets like few other boards. It is super light (thank you, bamboo and fiberglass construction), agile as a mongoose, has a little bit of rocker to lower your ride for easy pushing, and has tails that would make even the most spectacular of peacocks envious. The nature of this board lends to equipping it with small light wheels that accelerate quickly and are easy to get off the ground. This translates to a gnarly commute where you can zip through people or cars and then pop up or down a curb with the utmost steeze.

Downhill
Believe it or not, this is not a downhill board. I can already tell you that if you are looking to break the sound barrier on a skateboard the Kanthaka is not the direction you would want to look in (although Loaded has the hookup with the Chubby Unicorn). However, if you live somewhere very hilly you don’t have to necessarily rule the Kanthaka out of your quiver either. photo (13)The wheelbase on this board is small for a downhill board, like really small (17.5in), so it will get relatively unstable at high speeds pretty quickly. I personally have not brought it anywhere north of 30mph for more than a few seconds. However, if you get comfortable on this board I can see people pushing it a little faster. Once you learn the ins and outs of the Kanthaka you can really lock yourself in with the pockets produced by the wheel wells. These pockets and the rockered platform produce a much more stable ride than boards with comparable wheelbases when getting fast.

Freeride
Here is where Mr. Kanthaka really starts to turn heads. Whether you like to spin around with never ending 180 slides or you like to pump out 1000 ft switch toeside slides, you will find something you like with the Kanthaka. Those wheel flares I spoke about earlier make for a great way to lock your feet in place for slides. In conjunction with the kicktails the flares produce a very comfortable pocket for your feet to rest in. When I slip my feet into this pocket hitting slides toeside and heelside without monkey footing (hanging your toe or heel of the edge of your deck) becomes much more manageable. This is an enormous benefit for producing quick spinning slides. I wouldn’t say my 360 slides are by any means beautiful and fluid, but on my Kanthaka they are definitely easier and at least more fluid than on other boards.
photoIf you are more into hitting big long standing slides than just spins the Kanthaka still has you covered. You don’t see many people hitting big standies on most of the boards in its class, however, this isn’t “most” boards. The first and most obvious advantage this board has in fast freeride is the length. Coming in at 36 in the Kanthaka is a little long for an average tech slide or hybrid board which keeps you feeling a little more stable. In addition the rocker-concave combination on this board adds even more stability and lets you get the leverage you need to dig deep enough to hold out slides comfortably by slightly lowering you to the ground.

photo (4)The small size (compared to your average longboard) of the Kanthaka lets you stand comfortably at either kicktail while in the pocket created by the wheel flares and kicktail with your other foot. This leads to one my new favorite things to do when freeriding… Blunt slides. You can blunt slide the living heck out of the Kanthaka on its big ol’ tails. Unlike many longboards (which have smaller tails) where your foot has to hang off the tail, you can rest pretty much your entire shoe on these fat tails without a problem, which I find really nice when trying to hit anything from the tail. Additionally, the tails on the Kanthaka are reinforced with a layer of carbon fiber that actually does make a difference in its durability. If you are just learning how to blunt slide and manual (or if you just know that you tear boards up) the tails on this deck will last a little bit longer due to the carbon reinforcement.

The Kanthaka is one of a rare breed of boards that is just as comfortable on hard wheels as it is on soft wheels. This was my first venture into hard wheels, and I have to admit:  it takes a little getting used to, but it is a whole bunch of fun. I have taken this deck tech sliding on many an occasion and it has handles wonderfully, you feel very in control despite having the iciest wheels possible under your feet. If you have never ridden hard wheels and are interested in trying it out, then the Kanthaka has you covered (worst case scenario: switch back to soft wheels).
photo (1)Freestyle
It was really hard to choose a favorite style of riding with the Kanthaka because it was meant to be such a versatile board. However, I would venture to say that freestyle skating is this board’s bread and butter. The Kanthaka is easily misidentified as a typical popsicle shaped skateboard to an untrained eye because they share so many common characteristics. I have never been very good at traditional street style skating, but this board sure does make me wish I were better at it. Something about the Kanthaka makes you want to start hitting stair sets and rails like it’s your job.

photo (9)With the skills to back it up, the Kanthaka is more than ready to handle this type of skating. The symmetrical shape lets you hit shoves from either tail and feels just as comfortable when the board is backwards or riding switch. The Kanthaka does have a tiny bit of asymmetry to it, but it is not in the shape of the board, but rather in the steepness of the tails. The nose of the board is a little steeper than the tail of the board, however, it is hardly noticeable until you have spent some serious time on this deck.

Everything about the Kanthaka screams, “I want to ollie,” and man alive can this deck get some air. The tails make really solid contact with the ground to generate a very substantial pop that you don’t often find in a longboard. Which is great because while it may take nearly all of my coordination and energy to ollie my TanTien an inch or two high I can get a foot high on the Kanthaka without a problem. Additionally I have ridden quite a few other hybrid decks and none of them generate as much pop as the Kanthaka.

photo (7)The last great thing about the Kanthaka is that it is truly a hybrid deck and can hit the parks and bowls quite nicely. As I mentioned I am not very good at traditional skating but I grabbed the Kanthaka and took it to a makeshift skate park here in Carrboro. Despite feeling incredibly out of my element and kooky the Kanthaka is definitely a good choice for ramps. I was able to drop in and hit the transitions just fine. I let regulars to the park try the board out, and after getting used to my loose trucks, they loved it!
photo (16)Setups:
The Kanthaka is an interesting deck to get all set up. Lots of people prefer reverse kingpin trucks these days, but I think that the spirit of the Kanthaka matches traditional kingpin trucks. I initially ran my Kanthaka with Indy 169′s and didn’t like how restrictive they were, to remedy this I got some of the new Indy hybrid baseplates. These allow me to run a wider array of longboard bushing which I prefer. I am a little biased, but my favorite setup of all time is with Surf-Rodz traditional kingpin trucks; they really suit the board and line up with the wheel wells very nicely.

It can’t all be good
While I think the Kanthaka is a ton of fun, every board has its ups and downs. The biggest downside I would say that the Kanthaka brings to the table is that it has a bit of a learning curve (or at least it did for me). If you are used to riding longboards, which generally have larger wheelbases and smaller tails, this deck will take a little getting used to. It is easy to describe the pockets on the Kanthaka with words but I honestly think that they are something you need to put your feet into to fully understand. I found that the wheel flares and kicktail combination felt very foreign initially and wasn’t sure that I even liked it. Which means it took a little bit of persistence for me to get a feel for these pockets; however, all at once they suddenly felt great! Really, this is only a downside if you don’t want to take the time to get to know the Kanthaka. The good news is that once you get used to the deck you can really do pretty much anything with it.

The Price
The Loaded Kanthaka carries a much higher price tag than boards that would appear similar at first glance. However, the devil (or angel in this case) is in the details and the Kanthaka’s subtleties raise it a cut above the rest. The Kanthaka has carbon fiber reinforced tails, thick durable wheel wells, and a high strength-to-weight ratio thanks to its bamboo and fiberglass construction. These combine to make a board that is not going to give out on you after a few months of serious riding. People may not agree, but I believe that the quality and durability of the Kanthaka merit the slightly higher MSRP.

photo (10)The Bottom Line
Would I recommend the Loaded Kanthaka to a friend?
I would whole-heartedly recommend this deck to anyone looking for a hybrid, tech-slider, or freestyle board. In addition I think that anyone who is looking to make the transition from street style skating to longboard would be smart to consider the Kanthaka.

All in all the Kanthaka is a light, compact, slide machine that can handle whatever may be thrown at it. I commute with this board on the daily, have taken it to parks, tech sliding, and everything in between. It has held up beautifully to all the abuse I put boards through and has helped me learn a few street style tricks. Plus, I really cannot over-emphasize how nice it is to ollie up a curb.  Thank you Loaded for producing another incredibly fun and versatile deck.

Stay Awesome
Wayne

Current Favorite Setup:
-LOADED KANTHAKA 8.875 in
-Surf-Rodz TKP 176mm
-Orangatang Nipples medium (purple)
-Orangatang Fat Free 86a (yellow)
-Loaded Jehu Bearings

Fairy Tales Really Do Come True — Loaded Chubby Unicorn Review

Fairy Tales Really Do Come True — Loaded Chubby Unicorn Review

 Hello Friends,

I come to you today with a review that many people thought would never be written, that of the infamous Loaded Chubby Unicorn. The Chubby Unicorn has definitely been under development longer than any board I have ever heard of and there has been more stoke and hype around this specter of deck than I thought imaginable.  We have all seen the glimpses of the Chubby Unicorn in pictures and videos for a very long time and it will finally be available worldwide on December 4th.

The Chubby Unicorn is a topmount, double kick, symmetrical freeride and downhill board. Despite the seemingly simple shape the Chubby Unicorn, lovingly called the Chubby by many, is a board unlike anything currently on the market. However, before I get into how this thing handles on the road, let’s talk tech.

 

Loaded Chubby Unicorn

Length

42.25in

Width

9.75in

Wheelbase

28.25in

Kicktails

7in (to inner bolts)

Special Features

W-Concave, Wheel Wells and Flares, Recessed Truck Mounts, Grab Rails, UHMW Skin, Urethane Rails

The Chubby Unicorn spent an insane amount of time in development to make what Loaded thought to be the best downhill freeride board on the market. In doing so Loaded added some serious tech to this deck to really make it perform in the manner they wished.

There are several novel features, unique to this board, that are not currently available anywhere else on the market. The most intriguing of which are the Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE)  skin on the bottom layer of the board and the urethane sidewalls coating the rails. These were both added to give the board some extra durability and dampen vibrations when going at top speed. I know that everyone has as many questions about them as I probably did, so I made sure to spend extra time testing every aspect of these new features.

If you have ever read one of my reviews then you already know that I always review a board in each of what I consider to the four main categories of longboarding. This review shall be no exception, so let’s get started.

Commuting
When it comes to a commuter the Chubby sure can make a run to class or work a whole lot of fun. Especially if that run to class or work includes some nice terrain to tear through in the process. I personally find W-Concave to be kind of hit or miss with me in many aspects of riding, but commuting is generally where I don’t like it. However, the W on the Chubby is nice and flat on top so it doesn’t make my feet sore when pushing on it for a long time. Another nice thing for me, because I’m a mongo pushing kook, is the concave. While it is definitely there, like the W, it is not crazy steep foot cramping concave. Finally, I would say that the weight on this board is just right for a commuter, I have ridden dozens of boards that are composed of like 20 plies of maple and they weigh a ton, coming in at less than 5lbs makes the Chubby pretty enjoyable to push around.

Favorite Commuting Setup:
-Paris 50*, Orangatang Nipples (Hard), Orangatang 4President 83a

Freestyle
Well the most obvious trait this board has for some freestyle action are the two giant kicktails on either end. I think that most boards keep their tails a little too short, well the Chubby said screw that! Loaded beefed their tails up with big ol’ 7 inch kicks which is great for freestyle and for freeride alike. There is enough tail to actually pop a significant ollie (not the 1inch ollie you get with most longboards) and you can get plenty of leverage on the tails to do things like shoves, big spins, tiger claws, you name it. Some of the more subtle freestyle bonuses are the urethane sidewalls and the UHMWPE skin on the bottom. They are really nice because if you’re like me, and you don’t have perfect manuals on lock, you will often drag the tail of your board along the ground. Of if you are constantly hitting ollies or big pop tricks off the tails you scrape your tail up pretty fast.  The problem is that on a board with a price tag as daunting as the Chubby Unicorn getting super fast razor tail would be terrible. Fortunately, that urethane sidewall and UHMWPE skin have done wonders to keep my board in tip top shape (despite the fact that I have been intentionally trying to thrash it to give you the best review possible).

Favorite Freestyle Setup:
-Paris 50*, Orangatang Nipple Bushing (Soft), Orangatang Stimulus 86a

Downhill
The Chubby Unicorn is one fast moving son of a gun. I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever felt as stable on a board as I have on the Chubby. To be fair, this board was designed with me or someone very close to my height, weight and shoe size in mind. I am about 5’9”, 160lbs, and wear a size 10.5 shoe and this board felt like it was meant to be. I am the first to admit that downhill is my weakest skill in longboarding, but I can at least get pretty fast if I try, and I took this board to some of the biggest hills Chapel Hill has to offer and it performed very well. It made me feel more confident going fast which was great because as we all know that person who is the most sure of her/himself is generally the best at downhill, haha.  I probably maxed out in speed at around 40mph on some 45* trucks and I didn’t feel even a slight wiggle under my feet. It is seriously like riding a on a magic carpet, or actually, just like riding on a big fat Unicorn. The wheelbase is long enough to keep stable but not so long that you lose maneuverability. The concave keeps your feet where you want them to be without being overbearing and restrictive. In addition I really liked have the wheel flares on the board as a reference point I could feel without looking down at the board. Finally the recessed truck mounts lower the board just a tiny bit and takes your center of gravity down there with it which adds a little more stability to your runs.

Favorite Downhill Setup:
-Surf-Rodz RKP 45*, Venom Bushings, Orangatang 4Presidents 80a

Freeride
I am aware that the Chubby is downhill/freeride board, but I would like to make the argument that it is actually a freeride/downhill board. Mostly because this board, in my opinion, is at its best during some freeride action. I like that the Chubby retained a wheelbase of only 28.25 inches because it makes the board so freaking nimble on the hills. If you like 180 slides you can spin until your heart’s content with this board due to that small wheelbase and the multifaceted uses of the concave. I have mentioned that the concave isn’t anything super serious, but it is in its simplicity that it shines. The rails and W have enough to grab onto with your feet no problem when transitioning between slides or holding out long slides. I’m no pro rider and cannot hold 16453 foot slides for days, but I have definitely hit my longest slides to date on this board. Additionally I really like to use my tails when I freeride, so I like having the enormous tails on the Chubby when hitting the slopes. The tails have a little bit of concave in them  and are so beefed up that you can definitely keep your foot locked in on the tail in any situation. Finally, let’s talk grab rails. If you are a fan of early grabs or stalefish/indy slides you will be a fan of these grab rails. They are definitely deep enough to grab into with your fingers and get a little more grip on your deck. The only time I ever had an issue with them was if I were wearing slide gloves with finger pucks on them; but then you can’t really grab anything anyways so I can’t really call that the grab rails’ fault.

Favorite Freeride Setup:
-50* Calibers, Blood Orange Bushings, and Orangatang Stimulus 83a or Baluts 80a

Check that Skate Face!

Durability
I don’t normally devote an entire section of a review to the durability of a board, but I think the Chubby merits this special adjustment. I know that everyone wants to know if the Chubby Unicorn is really worth the extra money and the durability of board definitely plays a role in that. I have actually been attempting to thrash this board; I have treated it like absolute hell. I have been taking it off stair sets, curbing it, flipping onto the rails, trying to razor the tail… you name it, I have put this board through it. Through all of this my Chubby still looks better than most of the boards I have and that I take way better care of. I haven’t even been able to scrape through the urethane sidewalls to see the wood on the tails or the rails yet.

It Can’t All Be Good…
Every board has its up and downs. There is no silver bullet longboard that will be a perfect fit for everyone. I believe the Chubby Unicorn has come incredibly close to being a do it all board, but I also acknowledge that this board won’t be it for everyone. My main reasoning is the concave. Some people are really big fans of very extreme and elaborate concave and some people just do not like W concave. This is simply a case of not being able to please everyone because everyone looks for something a little different in a longboard.

The Price
I also happen to be a pretty gifted mind reader and I know the other downside everyone is thinking about right now. The whopping price tag. The Chubby Unicorn is going to set you back $360 for the deck. That is a freaking investment right there. I know that this has ruffled a lot of feathers with people who have been waiting forever for the Chubby to come out only to find they can’t afford it. While I am in no way saying this board is cheap, I do think it is worth the price.

My background in sports started with cycling and surfing which both carry a much larger pricetag than longboarding does. A decent surfboard, even used is going to be at least 300 big ones and the price only goes up from there. Now, to get anywhere near a decent road bike will cost you $1000 and to get a bike that is competitive at the racing level we are talking well over $4000. The Chubby Unicorn is a professional level board using the most innovative manufacturing techniques on the market; it is the crème of the crop, and you really do get what you pay for.

Bottom Line
Would I recommend the Chubby Unicorn to a friend?

Yes, this board has received the Wayne Capps Seal of Approval in pretty much every way. I would however, encourage anyone looking to purchase a Chubby to try one out before you buy. This board does require a significant investment into the sport of longboarding so you need to be sure that you’re in it for the long haul and that you feel comfortable on the Chubby.

I think this board would best suit someone who is looking for one board to do everything. Many people out there now have quivers of boards (myself included) and I think that the Chubby might be a great alternative to a quiver. It costs less than getting more than one board and, in my humble opinion, can do the job of many boards better than any two boards combined.

If you know someone with a Chubby, give the board a try and see if you like it. I am fairly certain you will be impressed and I have to give mad props to Loaded for making such a solid board.
 Thanks for reading! Any questions, comments, concerns!?!?!?

Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setup:
-LOADED CHUBBY UNICORN
-Surf-Rodz RKP 50* Trucks
-Orangatang Stimulus 80a
-Venom Bushings
-Daddies Bearings

Talk about a Good Omen — Omen TKO Review

Talk about a Good Omen — Omen TKO Review

Hello There World of Skate,
Omen Longboards was recently kind enough to send me over one of their new decks the TKO. The Omen TKO is a topmount freeride board with double kicks that is designed to meet the challenges of a rider who wants a board that can do everything. However, this isn’t just your run of the mill commuter board with kick tails, this board is meant to do everything and do it FAST! This isn’t your Mom’s do anything board, it’s more like Evel Knievel’s board if he is feeling reckless and dangerous. Yeah it can go that fast.

The Omen TKO comes in two flavors, a topmount and a drop-through. It’s nice having some options and being able to choose between a topmount or drop-through because most riders have a preference. I am personally a topmount kind of guy, especially when they have a drop, so that is what Omen sent my way.

However, before I get any further into this review let’s talk about the technical specifications of the Omen TKO.

Specs:

Omen TKO

Length

39.75 in

Wheelbase

28 in

Width

9.5 in

Concave

0.45 in

Drop

0.5 in

Special Features

Double Kicks, Drop, Flat W Concave

Commuting
The TKO is an interesting board to commute on. I mentioned that my board was the topmount version of the TKO which makes commuting on it a little strenuous because, like with all topmounts, you are higher up off the ground so each push takes a little more work. Which is why I feel like if you know that you are going to be doing a whole bunch of commuting on your TKO you should consider the lower the ground drop-through version. However, both the drop-through and the topmount versions have that 1in drop which is great. It helps the board ride lower and keep you a little more stable since your center of gravity isn’t way up in the air.
I normally find commuting on boards with W concave to be a little awkward. However, the team over at Omen had the right idea with the flat W concave. When I am pushing around town the flat W is nice and comfy and doesn’t make me want to die like most do.

Freestyle
I mentioned that the Omen TKO is a symmetrical double kick board, which makes it nice for freestyle applications. You can flip your board around and it will feel the exact same as when you started, which is great for all sorts of freestyle and freeride applications. The kicktails on this board  were obviously well thought out. They balloon out so that you get that nice compromise between wheel clearance and a big tail to put your foot on. They really are quite big tails for a board that has a narrow neck, not to mention the fact that they are about 3in long. I haven’t been able to actually ollie the board very high (just like an inch or so) but the tails do actually generate lots of pop. They are mega functional and I am quite a fan of them.  Finally, if you are into doing any kooky dance moves on your longboard then you may like the TKO. The platform has that nice flat W concave which makes it easy to move your feet around on and get groovy.

Downhill
The TKO does not have any flex to it and is nice and thick, making it pretty freaking stable when going fast. The drop in the platform is great for keeping your feet in one place. The unique platform on this board is really nice because you can tell where your feet are without ever looking down, this is due to the way the W concave, the drop, pockets, and waist all fit and work together. If you ever get in a bind and need to footbrake while downhilling the nice waist on the board makes it just a little bit easier because you don’t have to spread your legs very far apart to get your foot on the ground.  I have taken this board down some of the steepest hills around and haven’t had any complaints.

Freeride
This board was literally designed as a freeride board. No matter how long I talk about how good this board is at other disciplines of riding, where the TKO truly shines is in serious freeride. The pockets lock you feet in place so you can slide from the platform. The flat W concave gives you just enough of a lip to slide your board toeside and heelside very easily without having to reposition your feet. It is nice and thick so it doesn’t warp under you feet when sliding. The drop in the platform also doubles as a footstop which is just another great way to lock your feet in place. If there one thing I can say about this board is that if you don’t want to move you feet you do not have to. Finally, you can even bluntslide this board all day long with no problem thanks to those lovely kicks.

It can’t all be good…
The biggest downside I have found with the TKO is the weight of the board. It is definitely not a light board and it can make freestyling kind of difficult. Being so thick definitely made the board nice and stable but it is one of the heavier boards I have ever ridden. That being said, weight is in no way a bad thing for all types of riding. For example, if I am downhilling or freeriding the weight of this board is inconsequential and all I care about is how it performs when going fast.

Bottom Line: Would I recommend this board to a friend?
I would recommend the hell out of the board to anyone looking for a serious freeride board. If you like to go slideways then you will not just like this board, but love it! I have really been enjoying this board and it has helped me step my freeride game up considerably.

The Omen TKO is a board that is meant for stepping your freeride game up. Not just stepping your slides up, but really kicking your fast and long slides up like 10 notches. This board has the platform and stability that allows you to push slides out with repositioning your feet, heck without even having to look down at your board. If you are interested in a board that can really freeride like a madman but also has the versatility to be useful in your daily commute then check the Omen TKO.

Any questions, comments, concerns, dialogue, hatemail???
Send it my way!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

Current Favorite Setup:
-OMEN TKO (TOPMOUNT)
-Surf-Rodz RKPs [50* Plates]
-Orangatang Baluts 72.5mm 80a
-Daddies Board Shop Bearings
-Orangatang Nipples (Medium)
-Holesome Slidepucks and Helmets
-of course my party shirt

Kicking it Up a Notch — Apex 40 Diamond Drop Review

Kicking it Up a Notch — Apex 40 Diamond Drop Review

Oh Hello Adoring Masses,

   I have been rocking a new deck for the past couple of weeks the Apex 40 Diamond Drop. Most people were pretty surprised to hear that Original released another Apex 40 after already dropping two versions not too long ago. However, the new Apex fills some gaps left by the older models.

   The Apex 40 now comes in three models. Each one has the same basic shape but is designed slightly differently to lend itself better to other disciplines of riding. There is the Apex 40 AVRockerConcave which has the flattest platform with the most sharply angles kicktails and is designed for some serious freestyle and flip tricks. Next in line is the Apex 40 DoubleConcave which has a micro drop in the platform and is meant for the intersection of freestyle and freeride. Finally there is the new Apex 40 Diamond Drop which has a full on drop platform and tons of concave to help keep your feet locked in. This board is intended to have a focus on freeride but remain just as comfortable on the flats.

   I have really been enjoying the Apex 40 Diamond Drop but before I get into all the reasons why, let’s go over the technical specifications of the board.

Specs:

Apex 40 Diamond Drop

Length

40.75 in

Wheelbase

28 in

Width

9.75 in

Concave

 Tub

Drop

0.925 in

Special Features

Double Kicks, Drop, Carbon, Kinky Tub Concave

 

As far as construction goes, the Apex 40 Diamond Drop is something else. My favorite part of the construction is the layer of carbon fiber. While carbon is definitely heavier than wood (making the Apex 40 a little heavier than other boards of the same size) it is also incredibly hard to break. I like that I can take my Apex off big ledges or do a million flip tricks without worrying about the board snapping ever. I have intentionally tried to beat my Apex to hell and it doesn’t look any worse for the wear.

 

Beyond the construction of the board my Apex 40 Diamond Drop is also outfitted with the new Original Kicksavers. They are thick plastic pieces that fit over the noses of the Apex line (any Apex) and protect your board from an array of damage inflicting sources. Having these on your board keeps it safe and sound from razor tail and the dreaded curbing incidents that are known to kill longboards.

 

The Apex 40 Diamond Drop can really hold its own in a variety of riding situations and styles.

Commuting
This board is freaking fun to commute on! It really has everything you could look for in a campus crusher or store runner. The drop platfrom makes the Apex 40 Diamond Drop super duper easy to push. It keeps you lower to the ground so that you don’t have to squat really low every time you want to push like you do with most topmount boards. Another great feature for a commuter is the presence of at least one kicktail, and the Apex 40 Diamond Drop has two of those bad boys. They make dropping curbs or popping your board up nice easy so that you can zoom around town in style.

 Downhill
The Apex 40 Diamond Drop is not the best board in the whole world to downhill on, however, there are a few nice things you notice when going fast. The best downhill aspects for me both have to do with the drop platform. The full drop in this Apex gets you down low and keeps your center of gravity close to the ground which always helps with speed. The other thing I really like is the concave of the Apex 40 Diamond Drop which is very comfortable and keeps you locked in, the angle of the drop in the platform also gives you a nice spot to tuck up against if you’re ever trying to your full tuck on.

Freestyle
If there has ever been a board that is ready to freestyle it is the Apex 40 Diamond Drop. I have only ridden mine with the Original Kicksavers on it and they make this board all the more dope for freestyley goodness. The kicksavers give the board a little added pop and a little more width for your feet to grab onto. I was worried they would feel kind of awkward before I actual rode it, however, I actually prefer having them on there. Also when I fall freestyling, which happens sometimes, I don’t have to worry about my board because the kicksavers keep it nice and safe. I thought that the drop platform would make flip tricks kind of weird but was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t at all. I really enjoy this as a rough and tumble freestyle board that I can take through anything.


Freeride
This is the discipline that the Apex 40 Diamond Drop was designed around. I think the other decks in the Apex line fall short in the realm of freeride, however, the Diamond Drop picks up all the slack and then some. This board is freaking great for freeride and I take it out to the steep hills on the regular. All the angles and concave in the board lend themselves to long slides like nothing else. The concave keeps you locked in so that you can slide from the platform but, if you’re into it, you can also wrap your heel or toe around the edges of the board. I also really like that the Apex 40 Diamond Drop has kicktails on either side because I really like symmetrical boards and I have been trying to learn how to hold out blunt slides, which has been nice and easy on this board.

Let’s get to the bottom line:
Would I recommend this board to a friend?

I absolutely would. Normally I recommend a board to someone looking for particular traits in a board, however, I think that the Apex 40 Diamond Drop would actually make pretty much any longboarder quite happy. Unfortunately, some people seem to have personal vendettas against Original, but I think this board might be enough to change to their minds if they would actually take one out for a ride.

All in all the Original Apex 40 Diamond Drop is one board to rule them all. It is symmetrical with double kicks for people who like spin and freestyle, it is a topmount which is nice for freeride, but it still rides low which is great for commuting and going fast. To top it all off the black dip and the Pink Floyd-esq graphic is quite the head turner when cruising through town.

 

Any questions, concerns, loveletters, spam, comments?
Send them my way!!!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

 

My Current Favorite Setup:
-Original Apex 40 Diamond Drop
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKPs 50* Plates
-Orangatang Baluts 72.5mm 83a
-Daddies Ceramic Bearings
-Orangatang Nipple Bushings Soft
-As always Holesom pucks and a Helmet

Smelly Slidey Goodness — Holesom Slide Puck Review

Smelly Slidey Goodness — Holesom Slide Puck Review

Hey Longboard-Life Enthusiasts,

I have been known to write the occasional review on longboard related gear and I have hit decks, trucks, wheels, ect… well today I have something special lined up for you, my first ever slide puck review! Holesom was awesome enough to send me over some super awesome pucks to try out and I have been putting them through the motions of every day use.

People who skate with me regularly know a few things about me:
1) I skate every day possible
2) I love standing slides
3) I am actually not too good at glove slides

Well one of those facts has recently changed! I have been practicing up with new Holesom pucks and have picked up a few glove slide to add to my arsenal of skate knowledge.

Now, enough about me, this is a review after all so let me talk about Holesom slide pucks.

The first thing I want to touch on is just how damn stylish these pucks are. The Holesom logo is built into them (which has a purpose we will talk about shortly) with three holes in the pucks which immediately sets them apart from every other puck on the market. In addition they also come in a whole bunch of awesome colors from brown to pink to glow in the dark which also sets them apart from other pucks which are predominantly black. However where Holesom pucks really get the most points for uniqueness is that they are SCENTED! Yes you heard me correctly these pucks actually have different flavored smells (my favorite are the bubblegum ones).

Alright, I know what you’re thinking now, “these pucks sure do look nice, they even smell nice, but do they perform just as nicely?”

The answers is a definite yes. Holesom pucks are kind of spectacular for a few reasons beyond their smell.

The first reason is that they don’t wear down very fast. I have taken my Holesom pucks on everything from super smoother fresh pavement to old janky cheese grater pavement and they have rose to the challenge. The pucks I use the most often still look brand new and still smell great. The formula used in these pucks is quite resistant to scratching or wearing down and I really like that.

The second reason they rock is that those holes I talked about earlier are awesome. The website says that the holes are in the pucks for less resistance when they hit the pavement. I initially thought that there really couldn’t be that much of a difference between pucks with holes in them and pucks without. Therefore, I put them to the test.

I set up a pair of gloves with Holesom pucks (which have holes in them) and a pair of gloves with regular pucks (which don’t holes in them) and took them to a favorite hill. To test them I chose a spot on that hill to start at each time and rode down without pushing so that only gravity gave me momentum. Then I executed a glove slide with each type of puck. I did that a whole whole bunch of times and in the end I came to the conclusion that Holesom pucks actually do offer up less resistance then regular pucks because I slid further each time.

The final thing I wanted to touch on about Holesom slide pucks are the confidence they add to my rides. I didn’t really ride with gloves that often before I got these pucks (hence why I couldn’t glove slide) but now I ride with them every time I go out to skate. I do so because having gloves on helps keep you safe and whether consciously or not you are more confident when you know that you are riding safe. There is just something about knowing that if you fall while hitting a big standy you will have something safe to land on that is very comforting.

Would I recommend Holesom slide pucks to a friend?

I would do so in a heartbeat. They keep you safe, they look great, they handle very well, and to top all of that off they even smell nice. I honestly cannot think of a bad thing to say about Holesom pucks. Their great reputation is well earned and I know that anyone who picks up a set will not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading!
Any questions, comments, concerns, recipes, hatemail?
Send it my way!!!
Thanks, and Stay Awesome,
Wayne

Making My Heart Go Boom — Bustin Boombox Review

Making My Heart Go Boom — Bustin Boombox Review


Hello Friends,
I dropped a little sneak peak of the Bustin Boombox on the blog a little while back and I am officially ready to give you my thoughts on this board. The Boombox is a symmetrical topmount freeride and freestyle board meant to dope in every situation. It is the second longest board in the Bustin line-up but remains super nimble and incredible agile. Let me get into the nitty gritty details of Bustin Boombox real quick.

Specs:

Bustin Boombox

Length

42.5 in

Wheelbase

29.5 in

Width

10 in

Concave

9/16 in

Drop

1/2 in Radial

Special Features

Double Kicks, Radial Drop, Wheel Wells

The construction on the Boombox is something else. This board was built to be an all-around thrasher that can handle any situation you can throw at it. The concave on the board locks your feet in enough to hold out long slides without being so extreme that doing freestyle tricks get awkward. The radial drop on the board gives your feet a nice little bubble to rest and hit slides with. This bubble results in a more fluid transition between heel and toeside slides because you don’t have to rearrange your feet for every slide or do crazy monkey toe things.

This board is very similar to the Bustin EQ and I have mentioned in a previous product review that I LOVE the EQ. One of the main differences between this board and the EQ are the giant kicktails on either side. A more subtle difference between the two is that the Boombox has one less ply of maple in it than the EQ. This gives the board a tiny amount of flex and makes it nice and light which is great for freestyling.

Enough about the construction, let us talk about how the Boombox handles in the concrete jungle.

Commute
If you already know that you need to skate to work or to class every day and want to look steezy doing it, then grab yourself a Boombox. It has everything and anything you could possible need to take your commute from painful to pleasurable. I ride this bad boy to work (it’s about a 2 mile trek from my house) and enjoy every second of it. The radial drop makes the board a tad lower which is great for pushing and the flex give you just a tiny bit more rebound out your carves, making the Boombox nice and pumpable. The addition of kicks means hoping off curbs is a piece of cake, and hey if you’re good enough you can even pop up the curbs too.

Downhill
While the Boombox is certainly not best board for a strictly downhill rider it certainly isn’t terrible at it! I mentioned the little bit of flex on the board and it I wouldn’t call it speed stiff by any means, but I have taken it pretty fast on some of the bigger hills around here with no problem. The concave is enough to keep my feet locked in place when they need to be and the radial drop feels really, really nice when haulin down a hill.  My only problem when I start going really fast on this board is that I am always so tempted to take it sideways instead. If you’re looking for a Bustin that you can tear down a hill on check out the Ratmobile,  their new directional topmount speed board.

Freeride
Which brings us to how rad this board is for some serious freeride action. The Boombox is currently my favorite freeride deck because it has everything I could possible need. The concave doesn’t just keep my feet in place when going down a hill but keeps them nice comfy when throwing out slides. The bubble created by the radial drop on this board is great because, although I definitely do it out of habit anyways, you don’t have monkey-foot like a madman when kicking out a slide on this deck. You can sit your foot on that bubble and have enough leverage on the board to hit your heel and toeside slides without a problem. In addition the nose and tail kicks make it awesome for hitting blunt slides, which really just max out your cool points.

Freestyle
The last style of riding I wanted to talk about with the Boombox may be where the board excels the most and that is in freestyle. The kicks on this board are everything I could have hoped for and then some. They make manuals, no complys, shoves, and tigerclaws easy as pie. The effective platform is long enough while the rocker and concave are mild enough to hit some nice cross-step-y board dancing action. Which basically means you can link trick into trick into trick like it is your job. Having 8 plies of wood has made this board very light without sacrificing strength. I flip trick this board hard and have taken off some serious height without so much as even a sign of cracking.

 Bottom Line, would I recommend this board to a friend?
I would actually recommend this board to a wide variety of skaters. It is a great board for learning on and then progressing your skills on to a very high level. There really isn’t much you cannot do on a Boombox. The concave locks you in for slides and going fast the kicktails make the board versatile as hell. The only person I would reconsider recommending this board to would be a downhill racer, but for anyone and everyone else this is a great board.

I happen to have a whole bunch of boards in my quiver and I find myself consistently reaching for my Boombox. On days I don’t know where I will end up I know that my Boombox will more than capable of handling anything I can throw at it. If you want a board that can do it all, and make you look steezey as hell while doing it, then grab yourself a Boombox, it is literally impossible that you would regret it.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, musings, or fortunes… Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

 My Current Favorite Setup:
-BUSTIN BOOMBOX
-Surf-Rodz 177mm Indeesz
-Orangatang Nipples Orange
-Daddies Bearings
-Orangatang Stimulus 70mm 83a

the Reckless Vandal — Rayne Vandal Review

the Reckless Vandal — Rayne Vandal Review

Hey Party People,
I recently got my hands on a Rayne Vandal a board so ready for steeze that it may make you feel like going way bigger and harder than normal… one might even say it makes you feel like a reckless vandal. (see what I did there?) The Vandal really is an awesome board for both freeride and downhill and it has all sorts of nooks and crannies to keep your feet nice and comfy no matter what type of situation you might find you and  your board in.

However, per usual, before we get into how the Vandal handles on the ol’ black top let’s get into the technical specifications of the board.

Specs:

Rayne Vandal

Length

35.5in

Wheelsbase

25.75, 26.5, or 27.25in

Width

10in

Special Features

Tub Concave, 3D Wheel Wells, 3D Gas Pedals, Mounting Options

The Vandal is a direction topmount board with everything you need to go fast and go sideways and even some surprising attributes to make it pretty fun in other applications.

Commuting
This board is a pretty dope board to cruise through town on. It is small enough to be nimble on sidewalks but has more than enough room to steeze things out with. Something I really like about Rayne construction is the use of bamboo and pre-tensioned fiberglass. This combination makes their boards both strong as an ox and light as a feather. Being so light is really what makes this board so nice to commute on because it takes like no energy to get moving.

The Vandal also has some nice adjustable wheelbase options, so if you know that you are going to be riding through some close quarters pretty frequently you can dial the wheelbase in nice and tight. This allows you the ability to whip 180 and check slides with little no effort.

Freestyle
Most people would be kind of surprised to know that the Vandal, although definitely not intended to be a freestyle board, has some nice traits for tricks. You can reel the wheelbase down real low to give your Vandal a little tail. Now the tail is not kicked but it is super functional. you can boneless, tigerclaw, shove, and manual with this little tail all day long. In addition something one of my buddies did that was kind of cool is put a footstop on his vandal. This footstop was meant for intense freeride/downhill time but it doubled as an “ollie block.” He would pop an ollie and then slide his foot up against that footstop to get a little more leverage on the board and add height to his jump. There’s a little pro-tip if you’re ever trying to take you Vandal up curbs, haha.

Downhill
The Vandal is fast. There are no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it. This board was built for speed and lots and lots and lots of it. Having never actually ridden a Rayne before this Vandal when I heard that it was made of bamboo and fiberglass I immediately thought of more flexy cruiser type boards and couldn’t picture it being stiff. However, the second I stepped on the board all my thoughts of flex dissolved. The Vandal is nice and stiff and has super comfy foot pockets. The board was molded with such thought and foresight that I felt very comfortable going at about my max speed on this board the day I got it.

Freeride
Where does a Vandal truly shine? Well, to be perfectly honest it was quite a close call between downhill and freeride, but in the end I think the Vandal’s true forte is going sideways (and feel free to disagree with me). The platform on this board is something else, the wheels wells form awesome 3D gas pedals that you can really dig your feet into for slides. They feel great for spinning around and transitioning between heel and toeside slides and also make you feel really confident when leaning into bigger slides. The shape of the wheel wells is so intuitive and natural that you don’t find yourself needing to monkey foot (when you wrap your toes or heel on the rail of a board to get more leverage) hardly at all. I still do it out of habit when I am going slow (check out some of my pictures), but at high speeds my feet stay on my platform at all times even when switching my slide direction.

Let’s Get to that Bottom Line:
Who would I recommend the Rayne Vandal to? I think that this board is great for all those folks out there who are looking to go fast and go sideways. While the Vandal is pretty good for commuting and even has some nice feature for some light freestyle, it is really all about speed. Speed while downhilling and speed while pulling off impossibly large powerslides. The Vandal is currently my topmount of choice because I know when I step on the board I am going to be locked in for any speed I might hit and ready to hit a slide at a moment’s notice.

If you are looking for a directional topmount board that can do a little bit of everything but really excels at downhill and freeride then I would humbly recommend the Vandal. It has everything you need to go super fast and slideways. Plus, to top all of that off the construction on the board is great and I know that my Vandal will last me a long long time.
Photo Cred: Flerine!

Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Loveletters, or Memes???
Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setup:
-RAYNE VANDAL
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKP Trucks
-Orangatang Baluts 80a
-Venom SHR Bushings
-Daddies Board Shop Bearings

Flash Back, Flash Forward, Flash Sideways? — Abec 11 Flashback Review

Flash Back, Flash Forward, Flash Sideways? — Abec 11 Flashback Review

Hello Public,

I have been taking the past few weeks to work on some wheel reviews and it has been awesome. The first wheel I want to review is a classic among freeriders… the Abec 11 Flashback. Now Flashies (as they have been lovingly nicknamed) have generated a sort of cult of followers over the years and I was curious how they would feel as I actually reviewed them. However, per usual, before we get into how they handle on the pavement let’s talk about the technical specifications.

Flashbacks are 70mm wheels with a 43mm contact path. Abec 11 says that Flashies have square lips and they do have a definite angle to them, but I would say they are ever so slightly less than square. They come in a wide range of durometers from 75a all the way to 84a, so really soft or a little harder, pick your pleasure. Finally they have a sideset bearing hub so they aren’t meant to be flipped backwards (although I did put that to the test too).

Like all the wheels I test I put Flashbacks through the motions in most major disciplines of riding…

Commuting
Flashbacks actually make a pretty nice wheel to ride around town. If you’re looking for a chill glide around town with wheels that absorb vibrations and bumps grab a set of the softer Flashies and you will be golden. If you are more of an agressive commuter you bump the durometer up a notch or so to make kicking out slides a little easier.

Downhill
Flashbacks are not intended to be a downhill wheel but they do have a few admirable qualities for going fast. The first is that if you are on shorter runs being a 70mm wheels allows them to accelerate faster than a larger, say 75mm, wheel would which means you get up to your top speed faster. The other nice thing for downhilling is that you can drift super predictably on Flashies, however the downside of that nice drift is that they don’t have very much grip. If you are running a softer durometer with the mold release still on you should be fine taking most turns but trying to take something sharp while going fast may result in you sliding out.

Freestyle
As far as freestyling goes Flashies have got you covered. They aren’t too heavy but they are big enough to give you some nice roll from one push. This is great for trying to linking up tricks or board dancing. Another interesting freestyle trait of Flashbacks is that have a nice range of hardnesses, so you can go with the really soft or a little harder based on your preference.  I feel like with these wheels you can really take your freestyle from the parks to the streets and be equally at home.

Freeride
This is it for Flashies. I learned why they have such a huge fanbase when I started to freeride them really hard. The set I reviewed were 78a in durometer so they were pretty soft and also pretty dope. Flashbacks has a super smooth slide. They are the definition of what you might call a buttery slide. Since my wheels were a little softer they took a little more effort to kick out into a slide than a harder wheel might but once you break the wheels free they just glide. In addition they drop super thane if you hold your slide out for long enough. Some people don’t like seeing thane and some do, but regardless its always kind of cool seeing some lines left on the run you just took as you’re walking back up the hill. My Flashies have also worn very well don’t have any flatspots or ovaling which is always something to look for in a good freeride wheel.

Alright well, even though I have been loving Flashies to death (literally almost to the death of the wheels) every wheel has its trade offs. Dropping those cool thane lines on the ground means you are leaving your wheel on the ground when you slide so Flashbacks are not the most durable wheel on the market. However, coming in at a cool $36.00 a set they are also one of the cheapest wheels out there, so replacing them doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

If you are looking for a wheel that is ready to hit the hills and go super sideways then I wouldn’t look any further than Flashbacks. Any dedicated freerider knows that he/she is going to need to replace they wheels they burn through in a few sessions and Flashies are probably the best bargain out there. I have loved my Flashback and will continue to love them to the core. If you ever get a chance pick up a set and try them out for yourself!

Any questions, comments, concerns, cooking recipes, parables????
Send them my way!

Special Thanks to Tyler and Alex for appearing in these photos!

Stay Awesome,
Wayne

Current Favorite Setup:
-Loaded Dervish Sama
-Paris 180mm Trucks
-Orangatang Nipples (Purple)
-Bones Redz
-ABEC 11 FLASHBACKS 78a