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