Connections

Posted: 2017-12-27 in Uncategorized

I’ve commented before about Silverfishlongboarding.com.  As internet forums are in their waning years, I felt like it was appropriate to reflect upon what they’ve meant to me.

Being such a niche hobby, something like longboarding is just a little farther out of the mainstream than say cars, hunting, or skiing.  From what I can see, longboarding as a dedicated discipline (the other 99% of skateboarding) began coming into its own with Web 2.0 in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  Websites were built, forums were formed, and things like Yahoo! Groups congealed out of the primordial goo of the early internet.  These sites, blogs, and groups were started by the movers and shakers of the industry…movers and shakers that stayed fairly active up until the past 5 or so years, as everything migrated off of forums and onto Facebook and Instagram.

I follow a couple of these guys on Instagram, and it’s weird thinking that we were online buddies back in the day…and not in a weird fanboy way either.  The guys I’m thinking of were just high school dorks trying to make their way into the skateboard world.

The one guy was an East-coaster from NYC…if memory serves, he went to a prestigious private college, and was old money.  He rolled with Earthwing skates, and traded me some stuff on a few occasions.  He moved out west, Colorado then Los Angeles, and has become a VERY prolific skate photographer, with his own pro model on Madrid skateboards.  He was very cynical, and had quite the dry, blunt sense of humor…he still does, but some of the off-the-cuff comments he would make in Silverfish’s chatroom still give me pause today, all these years later.

The other guy was an OC, California local, with a heart of gold and a mind going a mile a minute.  He was always, constantly, tweaking his board trying to eek the most speed or grip out of any given setup.  Like me, he could analyze any given set up and improve upon it.  And, he had a good way of explaining things.  I still remember a few conversations we had over drop-through boards versus drop-decks versus top mounts, and our collective experience with each type, and how our experience differed from the community zeitgeist.

If I’m completely honest, I am a little bummed…jealous, even.  Besides these two specific dudes, there were dozens, maybe hundreds, of other guys who had discovered longboarding at the same time I did, were on the same websites that I was, and had the same long-term drive for results that I did.  The key difference is that those other guys were at different points in their lives (or had families in different positions than mine), that could maneuver themselves to dedicate their lives to something they truly loved, in a way that I couldn’t.

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Roots

Posted: 2017-10-09 in Uncategorized

My fist memories of longboarding harken back to the Gravity Games. Per Wikipedia, the Gravity Games were held from 1999 to 2006. They were aired on NBC, kind of a rival to ABC and ESPN’s X-Games. But, what set the Gravity Games apart was the inclusion of gravity sports – specifically, downhill skateboarding and street luge.

These racers had wild leather suits, spaceman-looking helmets, and had gnarly wipeouts…bales of straw flying everywhere! They were on exotic looking skateboards; hell, some of ’em didn’t even look like skateboards, as they came in funky teardrop shapes, some with dropped decks, and all had these giant wheels on ’em. The guys I liked most were the guys on “normal” looking skateboards…come to find out, this was Gary Hardwick; the only passing resemblance that his board had was double kicktails.

Once I got into longboarding properly in 2007, I spent a ton of time online, at forums like Silverfish, NCDSA, and Skullandbonesskateboards.com. In participating in these communities, I was actually able to interact with a few of the racers I had watched on TV, so many years previously. Or, if not the actual racers, at least I got to interact with shopkeepers, enthusiasts, or other people involved with the events. Before Biker Sherlock’s unfortunate death, I exchanged a few private messages with him on Silverfish. I’ve sent Mark Golter a few messages on Youtube. Biker, of course, being from Team Dregs and Golter from Terminal Velocity Streetboards. Other guys like Andrew Mercado and Danny Connor were active on Silverfish, and many other folks were active on NCDSA.

Sometime around 2010 and 2011, I decided that I wanted to begin building a few boards to emulate what the guys were riding a decade prior. I scoured the internet, watching Youtube videos, diving deep into Ebay auctions, placing want ads in classified sections, and reading as much as I could about product evolution. I found an online skateshop that was opened around 2000, went under around 2006 when the owner ran into some legal issues, then reopened as the owner’s brother tried to clear out the stock and recoup some money…Score! My first historical board began taking shape when they listed a TVS Lady Cruiser for sale. It was a red board painted with flowers that was the same shape as the regular TVS Cruiser – the same board that Gary Hardwick had dropped through to race one of the early Gravity Games competitions with. I tracked down some period-correct Randal R1’s (known as Randal DH’s), and slapped some red Kryptonics on there. Not Hardwick’s favored wheel, but it at least got me in the ballpark for being ‘period correct.’

My second board was a 2006 Dregs Race, purchased as new-old stock from…well, the shop I started this blog about. It came complete on Randal DH’s with red Dregs wheels, that looked a heckuva lot like the Exkate Cherry Bombs that Gary Hardwick loved. Using an old picture of Biker Sherlock as inspiration, I quickly ascertained that I had the Kryptonics on the wrong board, so I did a quick wheel swap between the Dregs and the TVS. Eventually, this board was given to my cousin as a graduation present.

Later that year, a buddy approached me with a trade proposal: My Faltown slide deck for his Sector9 Raceboard. I jumped on it, and armed with a forum post on Silverfish from Andrew Mercado himself, set it up on Independent 215’s and Sector9 Goddess Of Speed wheels…Not strictly a Gravity Games setup, but one that would’ve certainly been ridden between 1998 and 2004 – the exact time period I was trying to emulate. I don’t believe Mercado himself skated in the Gravity Games, but he certainly hung out with guys that did.

I hit the jackpot in 2013, as Dregs Longboards declared bankruptcy and put their assets up for auction, including many personal skateboards from the collection of Biker Sherlock! I was fortunate enough to win an auction that contained a set of 3 complete boards. One was a mini, one was a pool board, and one was a Dregs Race. Jackpot! Again, I scoured Youtube and the forums for any information on the boards I had acquired, and found a very interesting video: One that, when compared to my board, showed that Dane Van Bommel rode a board with the same griptape and sticker placement in the 2002 Gravity Games. I was floored. When determining the provenance of a skateboard, collectors look at old videos and magazine spreads of pros skating, and look at (among other things) sticker placement…If a board, say on Ebay, claims to have been ridden by a certain skater in a certain video, the stickers and woodgrain should match what is in the video…and the Raceboard that I purchased matched! The board had been changed slightly; it came to me with first-gen Abec11 Flashbacks (in an uber-soft 72a…Thane lines for DAYS, if you’re into that kind of thing).

Currently, my Gravity Games boards are as follows:
TVS Lady Cruiser…Randal DH trucks…78a Abec11 Flashbacks
Sector9 Raceboard…Indy 215’s…81a Sector9 Goddess Of Speed Wheels
Dregs Raceboard…Randal DH Trucks…81a (amber urethane) Abec11 Flashbacks

I would love to pick up a Madrid Pin Missile or a Madrid Roger Hickey to round out my collection, though that’s not exactly a priority. I have a stencil of both Mark Golter’s pro model on TVS, as well as Gary Hardwick’s actual pro model. I’m okay with the boards as they are right now. I have some Hesher Snowballs, modeled after white Kryptonics, that will probably find their way onto the TVS in the future.

What’s interesting to me is how much longboarding had evolved in the decade between the Gravity Games and my journey to build those completes. Gary Hardwick favored a flat board (as in, no concave) with the justification that no concave reduced steering input…reduced steering input means less speed wobbles. The first few years of the Gravity Games banned hands-down turns, and most of the wheels were SUPER drifty…the grippiest wheels ever used in the Gravity Games were most probably Abec11 Flashbacks, which are uber-slidey in today’s (well, 2014’s) marketplace. Trying to ride a board in conditions (drifty wheels, no hands) like that is incredibly difficult! The fastest I had taken anything set up like that couldn’t have been more than 30 MPH, so I can’t even fathom the 50+ MPH that Biker, Leemo, Gary, and Rat were doing. These boards are still a blast though, and while I know my riding can’t hold a candle to the late Biker or Gary (both guys, RIP…I hope their boards are made by the most famous carpenter of all time as they skate hills paved with gold), I hope I can honor their memories by enjoying their boards as much as I do.

Orangatang Onsen Review

Posted: 2017-10-06 in Uncategorized

Cross-post from http://gnarwheels.proboards.com/thread/65/orangantang-onsen-review and http://www.skaterscafe.com/showthread.php?115978-Orangantang-Onsen-Review

Take a quick peek at the links above for my initial forum reviews.

I’ll be straight – I don’t skate street or parks.  Most of my on double-kicked, shortish boards comes from downhill slides and ditches.  Nyjah Huston I am not.  I’m like an inflexible, awkward Sergio Yuppie.

Having said all that, I’d like to begin this review with other wheels I’ve slid on, just to give a little basis of comparison:

-78a Dregs Labedas…that’s right, at one point, my slide wheels were the softest in my quiver.  These were used under the idea that, for tech sliding, it’s better to learn on less-than-ideal wheels to teach proper form and build up muscle memory.  I could never get these to kick out in a Coleman, but I did accidentally do a few toeside standies.

-80a blank “Noskool” clones…Being centerset, these actually released a little better than the aforementioned Dregs wheels, but I found these to be much better suited to a controlled drift than an all-out slide

-First generation Earthwing Slide A’s…These are the wheels that made me fall in love with hard-wheel slides.  In a word, these were intuitive…you thought, and they slid.  By most new standards, these were icy, but I’d more liken the feel to water.  So thin, so flowing.  The release and hookup were both defined, but not abrupt or harsh.

-Kryptonics “upgrade” wheels from Target…Hands-down (ha…haha…) the best slide wheels I’ve ever used.  Snappy release, smooth hookup, and had a very smooth slide.  Durability was absolute shit though, and I killed these in 45 minutes (also the first time I’ve had the cops called on me for skating).

-Abec11 96a Noskools…I went through a phase when I was pissed at mainstream longboarding, and these were my “rebellion” wheels.  They’re wide, they’re center set, and the urethane was good for 2002, but not for 2012.  If the first-gen Slide A’s were watery, these Noskoolz felt greasy…thick, not super controllable, and took a lot more effort than it should’ve.

-Spitfire Numero Unos…Another wheel from my “rebellion” phase.  These were harsh on the release and the hookup, and just kinda stuck in the slide, making it hard to maneuver properly.

-Second-gen Earthwing Slide A’s…These had a harder core for more precise bearing alignment, and a slightly altered formula.  The slide was still intuitive and controllable, but lacked the magic of the first-gens.

-Gravity Super Sliders…Very early tech-slide wheels, dating from maybe 2000 or 2001.  Harsh release, ill-defined hookup, and these fuckers just SHOOT out from under you.  Very thrilling!

Now, onto the main event:  Orangatang Onsens.

I haven’t had this much fun on a wheel in a LONG time!  There’s the tiniest little bit of grip on the release, as well as the hookup, which adds a little bit of “chew” to the slide and lets you know that they’re still there.  The slide itself is fast, predictable, and smooth.  The brains at Orangatang are good at 2 things:  Marketing, and making wheels.  I have no idea which OEM makes the Onsens (most O’tangs are done at Labeda, but these seem to have an AEND core…), but these are something else!  58mm diameter, 34mm wide (at the widest point), 19mm contact patch, advertised at 100a durometer “Perky ‘Thane,” with a “high-strength, heat-resistant, glass-free urethane” core (whatever the hell that all means).

Durable Goods

Posted: 2017-10-05 in Uncategorized

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m getting over it, but I’m still not sure how to fully wrap my head around the apparent longboarding collapse that I’ve witnessed.  I know I touched briefly on the mass migration from forums (in general, not just skateboarding) to more open social media like Facebook and Reddit, but I didn’t delve into the economic forces that drove the market underground:  Specifically, durable goods.

When I was employed by the skateshop, even as far back as 2012, I made a pilgrimage back to my college town, and visited the skateshop there.  Their bread-and-butter was snowboards, but skateboards kept ’em afloat in the warmer months of the year.  They got into surfboards and SUP after a they had built up the capital to support the inventory.  But, I got chatting with them in a semi-official skateshop capacity, and asked why they began diversifying into clothing, scooters, and Penny boards.  Their answer was simply put, that longboards don’t wear out as much as skateboards do.

Let’s paint a picture:  Chad comes in to buy a longboard.  Great, the shop made one sale.  A year later, Chad sells the board to one of his fraternity brothers, Jesse.  Jesse gets drunk and leaves his board outside the bar, where it’s picked up by TJ.  TJ skates it for a semester, finds out that longboarding is harder than it looks, and sells it to Vladimir the Serbian.  Vladimir tries it for a hot minute, then sells the board to Marshall.  Marshall notices that the bearings have gotten crusty over the years, so he returns to the aforementioned skateshop to buy some new ones.  Now, that very board that left the shop nary 2 years ago has changed hands 4 times, and is still in relatively good shape.  So, instead of the shop selling 5 boards to 5 customers, exposing 5 different people to longboarding, they only sold 1 (and a set of bearings).  That’s 4 board sales that the shop missed out on!

Compare that to a street skateboarder…Everything on a street skateboard is expendable.  It’s something of a badge of honor to snap a deck or blow out a bearing (due to the high-impact of aerial stunts).  During the 2 years that the longboard listed above was making the rounds like a 50 cent hooker, Melvin (the street skater) was in the shop once a quarter buying a new deck to replace the one that he snapped, some new trucks to replace the ones he broke, or some new wheels to replace the ones that he flatspotted to hell.  There’s no good way to pass on a street skateboard to your bros!

It’s not just about the local shops, either.  While longboarding isn’t super expensive, the vast majority of longboard kids will never own more than one or two…that’s just the fact of the matter.  So, when the market becomes saturated, there’s far too much supply for the market demand…When everyone and their duck are pressing longboards in their garages, there’s no reason to support any one brand, when you can go three websites down and get the exact board you want, at the exact price you’re willing to pay.  But, once that one board is sold…then what?  Small businesses rely on repeat customers, but when you’re only going to see your customers one time, that eats into any chance of a new sale.

There was an anecdote about The Great Depression that I recall from history class…basically, the newly-minted consumer-driven economy was set up so that household appliances didn’t wear out.  So, nobody was buying new ones.  Same goes for new iPhones and planned obsolescence:  They’re forcing market turnover.  This is something that’s nearly impossible to do in a niche like longboarding, especially one as tightknit as longboarding was.  If your brand of board wears out and snaps after a few runs, word gets around that you make shoddy products, and you lose any chance of getting new customers.  And that’s what drove longboarding into the ground.

On September 21, 2017, the website Silverfishlongboarding.com went dark.  It’s not the first skateboard forum to go bye-bye, and it won’t be the last.  But, I’ll be honest, it was hard for me.  I wasn’t involved in running the site at all, but Silverfish was my very first introduction to longboarding, something that’s become a vital part of my life.  Hell, people know me as “longboard guy,” and that’s something that can’t be faked.  I’m not super skilled or anything, but longboarding is something that I’ve grown up around, and something that I’ve taken from college adolescence into post-graduate adulthood, all the while having my loving wife at my side, encouraging me the whole time.

Sometime between the 28th and October 3rd, even Google removed any links to Silverfish from their cache.  Whoever said “The internet is permanent” is only partially correct – the Internet is only permanent if anyone cares enough to save and backup all that data.  The thing with Silverfish is that the site dated to the year 2000…the site in its most recent iteration began a couple years later in 2002.  So, there’s over 15 years of information that went *kaput* in the blink of an eye.  Sure, there were millions of posts of drivel, asking which wheels were best for sliding, or if I can cruise on this board, but an online community like Silverfish is deeper than that.

A community like the one that grew around Silverfish transcended longboarding.  Relationships form, local skate crews used to congregate there, events were organized, people even fell in love and developed romantic relationships using Silverfish.  That’s not to mention the humongous exposure that brands got through word-of-mouth, product demos, and genuinely stoked users.  There were brands that existed solely within the confines of Silverfish, and while that’s not necessarily a long-term sustainable business model, people made a frickin’ living selling boards on this one website!  There were at least 2 brands I can think of offhand whose owners actually quit their 9 to 5 jobs to make boards full time!

I’ve been in contact with the owners of Silverfish for years…again, the relationships that form are pretty real.  I’ve got at least one of ’em on my phone, and the other on a few other sites.  Looking through texts and emails to me, as well as a few “in memoriam” pieces that I’ve read, it seems like the site’s demise was a long time coming.  I’ve touched on the longboard EXPLOSION of 2009 a little before, and that brought about dozens of new companies.  I liked to say that everyone and their duck had a board, truck, or wheel company.  With that came most of these brands looking to establish an online presence – what a better tool to use than Silverfish?  By 2009, they had over 10,000 daily page views, and at their peak, over 100,000 active users (making it, for all intents and purposes, the largest skateboard site on the whole internet).  Some of this was due to the great recession, no doubt.  Cabinet makers could keep their carpenters busy during the downturn by cranking out boards; machine shops could keep their employees busy knocking out precision skateboard trucks; urethane manufacturers could keep their guys busy by producing small batches of wheels.  Once the Recession was over, and they could go back to doing their own thing, they dropped longboards like a bad habit.  As a result, brands folded, and advertising dollars to Silverfish decreased.  As revenue decreased, so did the support for maintaining such a huge infrastructure…as support decreased, malware and spam attacks increased, which drove away page views, which drove away ad dollars, and repeat ad infinitum.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Reddit were also exploding in popularity, and forums in general were declining…I mean, who wants to remember a different username and password for 18 different forums when you can just go on the Facebook that you’re already checking 48 times a day and check on those 18 different interests in one stop?  The problem is that Reddit and Facebook don’t have the history, nor do they have a meaningful way of organizing what they have like a forum does.  And, in my experience, pseudo-celebs don’t really respond on Facebook or Reddit…I can’t tell you how many movers and shakers of the sport and industry I personally dealt with either by private message or in the chatrooms at Silverfish…most of whom have generic corporate accounts set up on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and don’t get involved personally.

It blows.  It blows hard seeing the former largest skateboard site on the internet just evaporate into the ether.  But, with that, I’ll close with a few inspirational quotes from the owner:

We knew the best wheel for sliding all along, but people have to find it for themselves.

The sage, Longboard Buddha, once said “A tree spends 100% of its lifetime in a static environment and only after its reincarnation as a deck is it allowed to move at fast speeds. When allowed, the wood will give thankless service if allowed to flow”

Online Questions

Posted: 2014-09-24 in Uncategorized

As I’ve alluded to before, I’m fairly active in a number of online communities.  Since I haven’t actually typed a post here in nigh on a year, I’ll do my best to keep this one as cogent as possible.  But, these communities have their ups and downs.  Every fall, there’s an influx of newbies going back to school.  Every holiday season, there’s an influx of parents or kids researching gifts.  During the doldrums, things get a bit nutty as users get stir-crazy in the winter months.  Every spring, a bunch of know-it-alls and Educated Idiots come out of the woodwork and argue with everyone.  Summer begins with more newbies asking questions, and then forum activity slows as folks are out skating.

This year, however, has brought out a new type of user.  Similar to the Repetitive Customer Quote entry I made earlier, there are a LOT of forum n00bs (used in a detrimental manner to show that one is unwilling to put any effort into research and helping themselves) asking the same darn question.  They’re not asking which wheel is best for sliding, what the best board is, why this board is so big/small, or if longboarders are poseurs.  No sir, they’re constantly asking which board is best for cruising.

Fact of the matter is, YOU CAN CRUISE ON ANYTHING!  The term “cruiser” as it applies to skate- or longboarding is simply a product of the mainstream skate market.  I’ve touched on it before, but to the mainstream skate industry, “longboard” is a 4-letter word.  Even though nearly every skateboard company under the sun has started making some form of ‘longboard’ over the past 5 years, there’s still an air of negativity.  I have no idea where all these cruisers are coming from…but, daily, there are at least one or two threads over at the ol’ Silverfish forums asking if this board can be cruised upon, which board is best for cruising, or what wheels are best for cruising, ad nauseum.  I can only speculate at this point.

In the days before longboarding was a thing, I had friends that cruised for miles on their “normal” skateboards, hard wheels and all.  A few years ago, distance skateboard races and skate marathons really took off…competitive cruising, if you will.  Then, Penny boards became en vogue.  The best I can tell is that Penny boards, and other nonsense plastic POS’s, ushered in a new era of retro ideology, and more people discovered what the rest of skateboarding discovered 40 years ago:  Tiny boards are fun, but really suck to get around on.  Couple that with a few trends within longboarding; symmetric drop-through designs, “bricked” boards, and double-kick designs that resemble a more traditional street skateboard; and everything about skateboarding seems to have come to a common intersection…being that longboards have evolved into a more traditional shape, and traditional skateboards have trended towards bigger and wider.

But, that’s just my opinions at this point…I’m just connecting the dots as I see ’em.  But still, the fact remains:

YOU CAN CRUISE ON ANY FUCKING SKATEBOARD YOU WANT TO!

This is the end…

Posted: 2013-10-01 in Uncategorized

My days at the shop have drawn to a close.  I had some fairly big personal events going on that required 3 weekends in a row off, and being that I was only there on Saturdays anymore, I decided it wasn’t fair to the shop to take that much time off, and I asked to be moved to the sub list.

I won’t go into specifics, but I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.  My “big kid” job is all about customer service, so going into the shop on weekends felt more like a chore than a fun side job.  Plus, with my daily schedule, I lost all of the time I had to skate, so it really wasn’t even worth it.  Then, to top it all off, the store owner kept asking me for input on how to improve things, which I gave him, but he then just ignored me.  I had given him advice on what brands to carry, how to set boards up properly, and even how to create a successful skate team.  He carried what he wanted, set up boards to look cool (rather than perform well…gotsa have dem color-matched wheels and bearings, homeslice), and absolutely hated the idea of a team that would require any amount of startup time or money.

As I mentioned in my Parents post, some middle-age folks are really cool to deal with.  The coolest are the Stoked Old Guys.

So, a guy came into the shop, who looked kinda like John Cardiel (and talked like him too, minus all the sporadic swearing).  The Stoked Old Guy (SOG) threw his board up on the counter and started asking me about building up a new cruiser.  The board was an OG Powell/Peralta Tony Hawk:

Image

I, of course, quickly snapped a picture, and began helping him.  He was looking for a reissue pig board, sort of an old-school board for him and his son to cruise around on.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have the board he was looking for, so we had to special order it for him.  Unfortunatelier, the one we got in wasn’t the right color.  Unfortunateliest, we couldn’t find the board he wanted from any of our distributors.

But, he was absolutely cool as hell, and was very impressed at all the random tidbits of knowledge I had about old-school skateboarding.  I even shared a few links with him.

Changing griptape

Posted: 2013-06-02 in Uncategorized

I don’t know what it is about longboard kids these days that think they need new griptape.  Like, they’ll actually want me to remove their existing griptape and apply new stuff.

 

Seriously, if your board outlasts your griptape, you need to skate harder!

This weekend brought out a new customer stereotype.  I don’t want to say they were Cluelessly Curious, because they weren’t really curious at all.  They were just plain clueless.  Not a big deal, since it’s my job to decipher what the customer wants, and set them up appropriately.  But, it was a bit shocking having two doozies dropped on me in one afternoon.

The first girl gets a bye, since she was 10ish years old.  But, the story’s a gem, nonetheless.  It seems her and her father had purchased a blue, cheap, Krown complete from us last year.  It wasn’t keeping up with her brother’s Z-Flex longboard, so she wanted something faster.  I gave my whole pitch, going over all the various shapes, and trying to get her a board she’d like.  Of course, dad was right there making sure she didn’t make a poor purchase, and over-analyzing everything about every board.  The girl had picked out a drop deck with purple wheels, since she loved the purple wheels.  But, the quality wasn’t much higher than the Krown board she already owned, and the board was vastly inappropriate for what she wanted to do anyway.  I showed her several options, but she kept going back to that board (that was nearly as large as she was) because she liked the purple wheels.  Naturally, she just couldn’t get the same Z-Flex board as her brother, so that was out of the question…And, her dad wouldn’t let her spend any more than that.  So, after much hemming and hawing, they settled on keeping her existing board, and upgrading the wheels and bearings.  This was a whole new ordeal in itself, since the girl wanted purple wheels.  We sell Orangatang wheels, which I don’t personally care for, but they come in purple.  The dad was asking me exactly which wheels I’d recommend, so I pointed them towards Abec11 wheels, which I absolutely LOVE.  But, that was a no-go because they were green.  By this time, I was growing weary of all the shenanigans, so I began fudging some things.  The dad asked if the purple O’tangs were fast, and I said that they were…When asked what made them faster than the aforementioned Abec 11’s, I sorta stammered something about how they’re higher rebound and give more energy.  By this time, the girl had decided on the complete board again, so her dad peeled her off of it, and they eventually did purchase the wheels and some new bearings, and left the store.

The second group consisted of 2 sisters, a mother, and a grandmother.  The two daughters looked all angsty, and didn’t say anything, so the grandma did most of the talking.  She simply asked me what wheels were the best.  “For what?” I replied.  “For just learning,” said the grandmother.  I asked “What kind of skating?  Are we doing tricks, or just cruising around?”  The grandmother retorted “Just learning,” before telling her granddaughters to pick out some wheels.  The one said “Oh, I want those blue ones,” pointing to some Bones SPF’s, which are some of the slipperiest wheels I’ve ever ridden, and not good for anything but the smoothest, cleanest surface out there.  I told her that, and the granddaughter said “Oh, I want those then,” as she pointed to some more appropriate Spitfires.  Again, I asked if they were going to be doing tricks, or just cruising around.  The granddaughter replied “Just learning,” which left me back at square one.  After going through about 6 different sets of Spitfires, and telling her the advantages and disadvantages of each, she finally settled on some Streetburners.  The mother was getting anxious and tired of being around that dumbass behind the counter that obviously couldn’t magically read her daughter’s mind and tell them exactly what they wanted, so it was great that the second daughter just pointed at “those blue wheels in the case.”  Unfortunately, we had about 3 sets of blue wheels, so naturally, it was the last set I picked up to show her.  The mother was getting more and more visibly irritated, so they all left, with the mother nearly in a huff.  I was sitting there, dumbfounded, at why these 4 ladies were so angry, seemingly at me.  I honestly don’t think they knew how deep the ‘rabbit hole’ of skateboarding truly went, nor did they want to hear it.  But, I had to remind myself that they weren’t angry at me personally, they were just angry at the idiot behind the counter.