I was going to write a review of my new Earthwing  And I Hope 36″ but realized, as I was making some mental notes, that I was going to be comparing the board to my Rolling Tree Nimbus, which I haven’t yet reviewed either.  How was I going to compare the two when I haven’t written about one?  It didn’t compute, and caused vast amounts of cognitive dissonance, so I decided to just do a double-header.

The Nimbus is 36″ Long, 9.5″ Wide, with an 18″ Wheelbase.  The Hope is 36″ Long, 8.75″ Wide, with a 16.5″ wheelbase.  The Nimbus has 5.5″ nose and tails, and the Hope has 7.375″ nose and tails.  Both boards are asymmetric shapes, but have symmetric dimensions.  By all means, these are very similar boards.  But, they’re both coming from different approaches, which makes it kind of cool for me to do this comparison/review.

To distill it down to a couple lines, the Nimbus is a street board adapted from a downhill board, and the Hope is a downhill board adapted from a street board.  I mentioned in a previous post that Earthwing came from a street skating background, a fact exemplified in the ride of the Hope.  Because the wheelbase is shorter and the kicks are longer, there’s a bigger “pocket” for your feet to lock in right above the trucks.  There’s something about this board that exudes energy and aggression; it’s more than a board, it becomes part of you.  Steve Olson would probably kick my ass for saying this, but the Hope feels how this picture looks.  The Hope is a little more flexy…I hesitate to even use the word “flexy,” since it’s not.  Maybe compliant?  Energetic?  Flexy denotes a floppy, noodly ride, and the Hope certainly isn’t floppy or noodly.  It’s a standard 7-ply street skateboard, stretched out to 36″, so it’s going to have just a little more give.  The Nimbus, on the other hand, has smaller pockets, but more aggressive concave.  I found it substantially easier to break into a Coleman slide on the Nimbus than on the Hope.  The Nimbus, being more of a downhill-oriented board, feels so rock solid and surgically precise underfoot…confidence-inspiring and encouraging.

I’m riding the Nimbus on Bennett 6.0’s on flat risers with Orangatang Onsens and Zealous Bearings.  Bennetts are a little high and divey, but they’re based on the original Indy geometry, so it’s good enough.  The Hope is on Indy 169’s on second-generation (black core) Earthwing Slide-A’s with Abec11’s Biltin bearings.  The Bennetts have blue Tracker Stims on the bottom and red Khiro Bitches on top; the Indys have yellow Bones Hardcores all the way around.

My typical session is pointing my board down a hill and doing some lazy hands-down slides.  Tech sliding is something I’ve always dabbled in, even though I’ve really never been able to nail the multiple rotations, flatspins, or fliptricks that those Brazilian dudes do.

Oh, and another interesting little tidbit:  The Onsens wear down into a fine powder, which sprays up into the bearings, on the truck hangers, and onto the board itself.  The Slide-A’s don’t leave visible urethane dust, and seem to chunk a little easier.

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Don’t Overthink Things

Posted: 2018-04-27 in Uncategorized

The numbers back me up on this one…my article on bearing lube is the #1 post on this blog.  I’ve got an entire section dedicated to skate diagrams.  I’m a nerd, and I know it.  I embrace it.  What drew me into longboarding was the fact that it’s very easy to make noticable changes in the way a board rides – every little thing you do can alter your experience, from new bushings, to griptape, to wheels.

Since Silverfish died, longboarding has scurried into little holes on Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, and many other disjointed sources.  The absolute largest impact from losing Silverfish is that there’s no one, central source of information anymore.  I don’t tend to follow any of the aforementioned social media in an active capacity…in fact, I’m rather disconnected from the entirety of longboarding these days.

What I’ve ascertained, while speaking with a few Redditors, is that there are whisperings of a new bearing conspiracy.  Not Ron Foster’s, as I had posted previously, but something more nefarious.  And again, I haven’t actually read this, and don’t have a primary source; I’ve just compiled this from speaking with a few Redditors:

The Great Bearing Lube Conspiracy.  This is rooted in the idea that bearing companies need to make money.  How do they do that?  By selling bearings (obviously).  I’ve often subscribed to the idea that bearings are cheap and disposable.  608 Bearings aren’t designed to have 200 pounds of rider pushing onto them, let alone the impact of ollies, tricks, and slides.  As soon as a rider steps onto a board, it destroys any advantage that a few ten-thousandths of a millimeter of precision give.  According to Reddit, this is the first leg of of The Great Bearing Lube Conspiracy.  They posit that “buy cheaply, buy often” was promoted by bearing industry insiders to boost bearing sales, as skaters were encouraged to not take care of their bearings properly and, therefore, destroy them prematurely.

The second leg of TGBLC supposes that the skate bearing industry posted hundreds of tutorials online on cleaning skate bearings, only to do so improperly.  The method I’ve used to clean hundreds of sets of bearings, inspired by several dozen tutorials and how-to’s, is as follows:  Remove the bearing shields or seals; shake the individual bearings in a container of acetone (to break down the old lubricant and shed the dirt and debris inside the bearings);  rinse the bearings in 91% isopropyl alcohol (to remove the acetone, which could leave a residue detrimental to the future lube);  then apply oil and reassemble.  TGBLC says that this does not do a good enough job, and can leave dirt and debris inside.  TGBLC says that the proper way is to completely disassemble the bearings, including the plastic or metal cage, brush them off, and then lay a thick bead of grease around the outer race to hold the balls in place while you snap the cage and inner race back in place.  This provides 100% coverage and absolute protection, while using a proper grease (impregnated with polynanoborate, nano-ceramic, molybdenum, or calcium…basically any tube of grease costing more than $10) can chemically bond with the metal surfaces inside the bearing, and actually repair imperfections and damage.

But wait, Shopmonkey, won’t all that grease create a ton of internal friction and bog down your ride?  You see, dear reader, this is the third leg of TGBLC:  The “myth” of free spin is spread around the Interwebz by bearing industry insiders to promote use of Bones Speed Cream, which according to the first leg, wears the bearings prematurely and in the end, sells more bearings.

TGBLC theorists seem to think that there’s a huge, looming bearing market behind longboarding and skateboarding.  My experience and counter-arguments are as follows:

-Having purchased (and currently own a few) several professionally-used downhill, slalom, pool/park, and freeride setups; including Dane Van Bommel’s 2002 Gravity Games board, Biker Sherlock’s H-Street reissue pool board, B-Pizz’s Revenger from Danger Bay, and a board from Silverfish’s test section, the common thread is that bearings don’t fucking matter!  The late Gary Hardwick has a video somewhere online talking about his Guinness record-setting speed run, and had gone on the record as saying that he doesn’t know what bearings are on his board.  Every other complete referenced in this bullet point came with a mishmash of many different bearing brands.  One might argue that professionals aren’t going to let it be known that they use swiss-ceramic uberbearings of doom, and that they just put cheapies into completes when they sell them, but that’s a bit of a stretch for me.  I can’t quite buy that one.

-I’ve dabbled in nearly every aspect of skateboarding, period…streets, parks, freestyle; all sorts of gravity sports; distance pushing; urban cruising.  It has been my experience that yes, heavy grease does create a TON of fluid friction and drag inside the bearings.  It’s absolutely noticable, and generally not worth the increased energy expenditure.  Having said that, I did buy some good grease this year, and cleaned/lubed them to my own standards, just for preservation purposes…I put grease on the boards that get ridden less often, just to keep them fresh and clean longer.  But, by and large, I’ve found much more benefits to cleaning bearings every few months, and keeping them lubed with light oil (3-in-1, Bones Speed Cream, etc.)

-Reddit LOVES their conspiracies, and like most of ’em, TGBLC requires the cooperation of thousands of industry insiders over the past 50 years of skateboarding.  Skaters are a creative, inventive, intelligent group…gimmicks get weeded out quickly, and stuff that works sticks around for the long haul.  There’s an absolute reason that acetone bath -> alcohol rinse -> light mineral oil has become the ingrained truth in skateboarding:  It fucking works.

What I’m trying to get at in this post is exactly what the title says:  Don’t overthink things.  These are fucking skateboards.  They’re simple toys, not complex machinery or some sort of high-tech equipment.  Bearings are far down the list of parts on a skateboard that’ll make or break your ride.  Grab your favorite oil and go nuts, don’t overthink things.

A wise friend once opined that “if an activity or sport is popular enough to have poseurs, it’s probably mainstream.”  The word “poseur,” in this instance, means someone who uses technical jargon, lies or embellishes about accomplishments, or even lies about participation in a given activity.  We’ve all seen the guys…claiming their ’98 Volkswagen Jetta can pull a 10-second quarter mile; or that they’re the “next big thing in UFC,” and that they were slated to box against Floyd Mayweather instead of Conor MacGregor; or that their beer-league hockey team beat the Philadelphia Flyers…despite the fact that that Jetta leaves puddles of oil everywhere; that UFC guy is gangly and out of shape; and the beer-league team finished 7th (out of 8 teams) the previous season.  Cars, UFC, and hockey are pretty mainstream.  You’d never hear a guy bragging about selling propane and propane accessories, pencil-sketching scenes from 1980’s sitcoms, or winning the 2018 POG world championship…simply because nobody cares!

Now, circa 2011, right as longboarding was gaining steam, we began to see longboarding poseurs.  People were wearing longboard clothing or putting longboard stickers on their laptops and cars, just because the logos looked cool…people would lie and brag about their 30′ ‘thane lines, or going 65mph through that subdivision outside of town…et cetera, et cetera.

While the longboarding boom of 2009-2013 was a great thing, in many ways, it brought a lot of negativity into the realm.  As stated above, dudes were outright lying about their accomplishments.  Certain skate “crews” would vandalize subdivision streets with their logos or tags, or be obnoxious and loud to the residents of the neighborhoods.  Some crews would ride arm-in-arm across major city streets to “raise awareness” of longboarding, doing nothing but disrupting traffic and pissing off citizens in the process.  I’ve posted before about major buzzkills, harshin’ others’ mellows.

Along with the popularity boom also came hundreds of new brands, branching out into the niche of longboarding.  While longboarding had been slowly simmering in the background for years, cultivating its own scene, built by the riders, for the riders, it had been largely ignored by mainstream skateboarding.  You could rest assured that every brand, sold by every vendor, had a vested interest in keeping the sport alive.  Once longboarding boomed, everyone wanted a piece of that pie.  Global mega-corporations were buying into longboard properties, making their own boards; small-time brands were pushing generic shapes; the likes of Target, Walmart, and your local mall got into the game.

All this did was dilute the sport and push the small-time guys out.  Penny won’t sponsor a local event; Globe Cruisers won’t sponsor a downhill event; Krown won’t sponsor a slalom race.  But, those are the brands that every grandmother bought every grandkid for Christmas in 2013…so there are millions more Penny, Krown, or Globe boards out there than there are Earthwings, Pavels, Sk8Kings, Rolling Trees, or Clutch boards.  Yet, Earthwing supported many casual push races; Pavel and Sk8kings are heavily involved in the slalom scene; Rolling Tree is still (in 2018) keeping things alive in Minnesota; and Clutch was another key player on the East Coast.

And, by lowering the barrier to entry (by selling boards cheaper than a decent set of trucks), it set the expectation that longboarding was a cheap sport.  It’s certainly one of the more affordable sports, but a $70 Penny complete or $50 Krown is a much smaller investment than a $120 Clutch deck, outfitted with $60 trucks, $25 bearings, and $55 wheels…as a result, newcomers scoffed at the idea of spending $200 or more on a complete, when a cheapo shop blank would suffice.  Every sale of a Penny, Krown, Moose, or whatever blank, was not a sale to a core brand that supported the scene.  Similarly, I touched before on the booming used market of longboard stuff.  Each time a used board changed hands, that was also not cash in the pockets of a core brand.  All of the above culminated in the complete cheapening of the activity.

In longboarding’s race to the bottom, encouraged by a meteoric rise in popularity, the corporate fatcats diluted, and cheapened the market, to a point where it was no longer sustainable by part-time hobbyists and other small-time brands.

RIP Earthwing Skates

Posted: 2018-04-24 in Uncategorized

Last night, Earthwing Skateboards posted the following on their Instagram:

This drifter, 169’s, and Slide-A’s, like a party that never ends! Until I sell out of it all I guess. Hope I can bring it back someday.  The numbers say it’s over, but my mind won’t stop.  #earthwing #tootoughtodie

Now, it’s not exactly a secret that longboarding (and skateboarding in general) is going through a downturn…not the first time it’s happened, but certainly the first time in my memory.  Earthwing has been posting some weird, cryptic stuff on their social media for around a year now, and as bolded above, seems to be completely done for at this juncture.

Earthwing had their roots planted in the 1990’s, when street skating was HUGE in New York City.  They exuded Brooklyn toughness in everything they did.  Despite being a longboard brand, because of their street skating roots, they made excellent boards…everything was ollie-able or kickflippable, exceptions being their boards lacking a kicktail (Supermodel, Belly Racer/Carver, Roadkiller, etc.).  Because of this, every board in their lineup was SO much more than “just” a cruiser.  Their flagship boards, the 38″ Superglider and 44″ Supercharger, were designed to be nimble urban cruisers.  The front was slightly wedged, to give your front foot a little pocket to push into.  This also dropped the board just a little, giving the rider a touch more stability.  All of the boards in their lineup worked very well on Independent trucks; in fact, early on, the entire lineup was designed to be run with Indies.  Later on, that changed (The Supermodel is the first board I know of that was specifically designed for different trucks:  The Bear Grizzly).

For a little dweeb in Michigan, Earthwing showed me that longboarding was NOT contained in a little imaginary bubble in California.  Everyone’s got their own image of a longboarder:  Probably a shaggy blonde surfer dude, saying things like “cruuuuuuUUUUIIIIiise the boardwaaaaaaaaaaaaalk, braaaaaa…….” with flip-flops, a puka shell necklace, and a rainbow poncho optional.  Earthwing broke that mold, and brought a certain aggression to longboarding.  Longboarding, for them, wasn’t necessarily about sun, surf, and sand:  It was cold, gray, and industrial.  And, they were super supportive as well, supporting scenes in Toronto, Lansing (MI), and parts east of the Mississippi river that other west-coast companies wouldn’t touch.

Anyway, I’m the proud owner of the last orange 36″ Earthwing board, And I Hope.  I’ll certainly get a review posted up (as well as all the other Earthwing boards I’ve ever owned) as soon as my schedule opens up and I get some free time.  It’s currently sitting on some Indy 169’s and old Slide-A’s…while the wheels have been discontinued for nearly 2 years now, I had a spare set on a board that I cannibalized to make an indo board out of.

My previous post dealt with a question posed in 2002 about skateboarding’s status in 2022.  Today’s deals with something that we’ve already seen through to completion:  The question posed today was posted in 2007, asking about where skateboarding will be in 10 years…in other words, 2017.

Before I dive into the Silverfish post itself, 2017 and 2018 thus far have seen an inordinate amount of sunsets.  Silverfish itself closed up, and brought with it Soda Factory.  Quite a few online skateshops closed up; those that remain shifted gears substantially.  Malware attacks and lack of general interest have stifled forums.  Somewhat ironically, the very same social media monoliths that killed forums are stumbling in the wake of data leaks.

Now, away we go!

As mentioned above, the following questinos/posts were written/posted in 2007, and retrieved in 2017

 

My post opens the discussion:  yes, i did just get done reading the george powell article and Ebasil’s question about where he sees skating in the next 10 years…so it got me thinking and i decided that i’d like to throw this question out into the forums.  maybe i’m out of line doing this (as it was basil’s question), but i’m curious as to what everybody else thinks…okay so i’ll start:

i think right now skating as a whole stands at a crossroads…powell said something in his article about how skateboarding has a lot of great talent that could potentially skyrocket the popularity soon.  but, all things go in cycles, and i’d say we’re about set for another recession in the popularity in skateboarding. although if skateboarding continues to reach out to the MTV community (like bam did), the market will grow for skateboarders, albeit most of the purchasers will be posers and stuff.  but i think the most likely thing is that within a few years, skateboarding’s gonna cycle back into a little recession.

While I can’t furnish the George Powell article, nor Ebasil’s response anymore, I would like to pat myself on the back for getting a pretty accurate shot back in ’07.  A LOT of new talent got sucked into longboarding.  A LOT of poseurs got sucked in as well (see…well, nearly every early post in this blog).  It had to happen, but I’m very sorry to see longboarding contract again.  We had a good run though…nearly 20 years, marked at the beginning by The X-Games and Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and at the end by Penny Boards and downhill jams.  Things certainly reached peak MTV with Rob Dyrdek and all of his shows, as well as The Life Of Ryan (Sheckler).  I was ecstatic to see Sheckler’s skate game step up, before he faded off into obscurity.  Dyrdek is still doing his shock-jock reality TV thing.

User Greenamtern: Technology is getting better, pumping out new and cool equipment.  More and more people are getting on board to put in their great idea. Skateboarding has their new recruits ranging from kids who want to try a new hobby to college students looking for neato torpedo transportation to geezers finding that fountain of youth.  California seems to be the only place in America that has the closest thing there is to a full blown skate scene. Yes we have our brothers and sisters riding with passion in every state, but nowhere else comes to mind where skateshops aren’t slowing going out of business and boards spend more time in the garage.  But we find our crews regardless be it through connections through networks like the Fish or by creating a group of your own.

Equipment is getting more and more expensive and less accessible to those who just want to get a beginner board for cruising and messing around.  Skateboarding in all of its variations is getting more well-known. What’s missing is the recreational crowd, the folks who just skate from time to time but don’t really care about all the politics, scenes, latest gear, etc.  There’s a very “you’re either really into it or you’re not” sort of attitude that I get some of the time.

All that said, I think we’re at a point where things have stagnated and can really go both ways.  Companies have been churning out with new gear like I’ve never seen before. Maybe I’m just more aware of it all.  Maybe more people are getting on board the business. If the public picks up and the interest exists, then we’re in for a boom.  If the public maintains its mostly anti-skate/ambivalent attitude, then there’s going to be far more supply than demand. So let’s all make sure we got the people willing to pay the big bucks for our junk before setting up that board shop of yours.

Circa 2007, Greenamtern completely nailed it.

User Wells:  I’m actually kind of astonished that skateboarding hasn’t died recently. In the past the skateboard industry has been sort of a lagging economic indicator-when the economy tanks, skateboarding tanks-but we haven’t seen that since the end of the nineties.

I think we’re going to see a resurgence of park and ramp riding on the strength of all the parks being built these days and possibly some new vert pros. Street is going to continue to be ridiculous.

Pro-model skateboards might get a little bit more interesting in construction and shape, but will probably continue the trend, originated with the Element featherlight construction, toward construction techniques that make decks a little lighter and a lot more likely to break.

The great bearing hoax uncovered by Ron Foster might collapse, but probably won’t. Zaino brothers car-care products still are’t in auto parts stores everywhere, so don’t expect to find Rockets in CCS any time soon

Wells is an OG east coast guy, keenly in touch with trends.  His opening sentence echoes the same sentiment as mine above…briefly, skateboarding typically goes in 10-year boom cycles.  Given that, in 07, the wave of skateboarding had harkened back to the mid-1990’s, they were due for a recession even in 2007.

As I touched on in the previous blog post, parks, ramps, and street got big.  I can’t exactly say that skateboard construction changed any, between 2007 and 2017, apart from a couple of small-time brands that pushed the envelope with fiberglass, carbon fiber, and even repurposed cardboard!

Ron Foster’s Great Bearing Hoax gained traction and took off!  To quickly sum up Ron’s article (posted on Everything Skateboarding), we’ve been duped by skateboard companies into believing that you can quantify speed.  In reality, a truly ABEC-rated skate bearing would be prohibitively expensive; upwards of $10 per bearing.  The tight tolerances required by a true ABEC-rated bearing would be completely destroyed by the radial load of a skater simply standing on a board…add in rolling, and the damage increases.  Add in ollies and other aerial maneuvers, or hard carves and downhill slides, and any sort of precision flies right out the window.  But, what we saw between 2007 and 2017 is the sub-$25 bearing market EXPLODE.  Skaters grew to accept bearings as disposable wear parts, and began demanding cheap, fast bearings moreso than expensive, flashy bearings.  Toy Machine and Independent (of skateboard truck fame) came out swingin’, making some of my absolute favorite bearings of all time.  Magic Bearings were community-designed on Silverfish, custom ordered directly from the manufacturer.  Zealous raised the bar by custom ordering bearings directly from the manufacturer, and added extended inner races (to replace the bearing spacer), and a custom grease that filled in low spots, cracks, and fissures in the balls and races.

During the waning days of Silverfish, I accumulated (by copy/paste) the contents of many dozen threads and discussions.  What I found to be very interesting, going back through the years, were the postulations and predictions of how skateboarding would evolve over the years, and looking back at how skateboarding actually did evolve.  Take, for example, the question posed in 2002 about where skaters thought skateboarding would be in 20 years (2022):

User LoNgSkAtEr asked: What would 20 years from now be like with skateboarding?  20 years earlier, as we call oldschool, they were using weird looking boards. I know that longboarding takes place after oldschool style, but I’m talking about how that boards 20 years ago look different than the mostly used “popsicle board”.  So what I’m asking is…20 years from now, are we going to be considered oldschool by the new aged skaters? and will they think that the boards that we now use look very weird to the ones that they will be using? What do you think the boards will be like in 20 years?

 

User Preacher7thDay responded: Functionality is never out of style.  As many communities are now putting in skateparks with bowls, pools, and lots of vert, many of the popsicle decks (which have no personality at all, in my opinion) are being found to be useless.  Alas, along comes the Dogtown movie. Now, we are seeing Oldschool shapes again with Alva, Bulldog Skates, Factory 13 and others. To skate the real stuff, you need a beefy stick. If you are a one trick wonder and spend more time with your board tucked under your arm than under your feet as you walk around looking for stairs to hop, then you could always go to Sam’s Club and get that $29 thing I saw last night.  At least it had two sets of wheels. Longboards on the other hand, have been a defining factor in serious skateboarding from the beginning. Guys like Barfoot, Sims, Economy, Lonnie Toft, and others jammed the concrete waves on longer boards to our amazement. Let’s not forget Bruce Walker from Florida! What we will see in 20 years is a lot more equipment, but as this is America, a lot will be junk. That is what happenned in the seventies.  Companies came and went overnight. My suggestion? Support the companies with a good reputation for quality and longevity, give some dollars to the new guys who have the guts to roll out new sticks, trucks, and wheels, and don’t forget the oldschool guys and gals who are the true Apostles of the urethane wave. 🙂

Interesting bit of prophecy bolded above…When the thread was posted in 2002, traditional street decks were on the narrower end:  Between 7.5″ wide and 7.75″ wide.  Narrow boards made it easier to flip faster, and do the complex combos that were en vogue at the time.  Over time, this trend evolved, and by 2009 or so, traditional street decks were trending wider; 8″ or larger, to meet the demands of “bangers,” or one-trick hits off of large obstacles.

Secondly, I’ve posted about this before, but there was a HUGE proliferation in new skate and longboard brands between 2008 and 2012, and several of those brands rehashed failed ideas from the 70’s and 80’s.

User ol’dude posted:  The most immediate change I’m seeing is the latest addition to “pool” boards; Formica. That’s right, boys and girls, now your Mom’s kitchen isn’t any safer than Dad’s workshop. Formica bottoms on two companie’s boards. (That I’ve seen. There may be more.)  8)

Formica and other composite laminations were more than a flash in the pan, but not the long-lasting trend that he expected.  I myself built a board or two using formica, but I couldn’t reconcile the insane stiffness that formica added, which was the big complaint from bigger brands:  It took any and all “feeling” out of the board.

User Docter M:  20 years from now, we’ll definately be old school, and damn proud of it. i think the actual design of the skateboard won’t change much for a long time to come. the biggest advancement in the design will be the equal nose and kick on shortboards, which only two people on this earth endorse. longboarding will continue to be the soul of boarding. trucks will get even better, wheels will get lighter, and griptape will become grippier. the designs will also get even more…eh…retro (?) than they are right now.

 

and i’ll be a skategeezer… so… yeah

He definitely nailed the gear aspect.  During the longboard boom of 2008-2013, we saw fantastic new advancements in truck technology, wheel technology, and even griptape.

 

Now, this thread was bumped in 2012…halfway through the 20 years posted in the initial thread:

User Simboarder:  i think the skateboard evolution is exponential , materials and hardware will always evolve , but i think we are running out of shape possibility..

i think the next step would be something like :magnetic frictionless bearings, build in speedometer or effective and very light braking systems

Gravity experimented with an on-board speedometer, and it proved to be a gimmick.  Frictionless bearings were experimented with at one point as well, but proved far too expensive for most skaters.

My first response, from Silverfish:  It’s funny…20 years ago today, people were rockin’ the popsicle stick board.  20 years before this thread was started, kicknoses were fairly rare.

Anyway, 20 years from now, I see board shapes stabilizing and reaching some kind of static equilbrium, much like shortboarding did 20 years ago.  It’s already happening in today’s market; just look at all the 38-40″ symmetric dropthrus and drop-decks on the market. Whereas the pintail used to be the “default” shape that every company out there made, nowadays, it’s the symmetric dropthru.

Over the past 20 years, skateboarding has sort of evolved itself into a corner…I know I’ve mentioned this in other threads, but due to the inventive nature of skateboarders in general, most everything that can be done on a skateboard already has been done.  There are only so many ways a board can flip, and there are only so many positions to put your hands in when you grab the board…the only thing left for skateboarding to do is to go bigger.

We’re at an odd time in longboarding right now, where things are being re-invented into longboarding, and it won’t be long at all before longboarding stabilizes and evolves itself back into regular skateboarding.  I was just reading a thread about how longboarding has staying power on college campuses, simply for the cruising aspect, so I think longboarding is going to be around for a good long time, just for the convenience of kicking around short distances.  But, downhill and freeride will eventually be legislated out of existence, and forced back underground in the near future.

Reflecting on my post above, and going back to what Preacher7thDay said above, yes, skateboarding did go bigger.  I’m glad my prediction of “longboarding folding back into skateboarding,” didn’t come true, but at the same time, that would’ve been far preferential to the eventual death of both sports.  And, unfortunately, downhill and freeride have been legislated to near extinction.  In the hotbed of Southern California, the City of Malibu got the ball rolling in banning skateboarding down the mountain roads; several other municipalities in the area followed suit.  One of Governor Sarah Palin’s key points was a statewide ban on skateboards in Alaska (never went through).  In Michigan, many private subdivisions had “no skateboarding” bylaws passed, due to the unfortunate actions of some longboard crews (leaving ‘thane lines everywhere, spray painting their logos on the roads, etc.).

User snozzboarder55:  i was looking through some old Skateboarder Mags the other day from the late 70’s. the impression i got is that the progression of skating is very cyclical. there were a bunch of “innovations” that i saw in these mags that were “innovative” a few years ago, or that people are trying now.

if you think about it really, the technology of skating hasn’t changed a whole lot since then. they’ve just cleaned up some areas. expect skating to change but not leap into the future.

and epic bump!

Not a lot to say here, just reflecting on how similar the 70’s were to longboarding in 2012

User Irwin:  It’s pretty cool to find this thread and realize we are already halfway to “20 years from [then].” I just hope that foolish people never cause DH and Freeride to be ‘legislated out of existence,” as Bucksaw87 fears, and I think it is important to mention that we are not helpless in the matter. We (at least we Americans) live in a country where the government takes far too many liberties at federal, state, and local levels, and those in power act unilaterally with no respect for the wishes of the people. I have always refused to involve myself with politics, and don’t want to get up on my soapbox,  but if my municipality tries to keep me from using my streets to longboard (remember, they belong to us, not the government) is the day I go to war.

We need to be careful and make sure that we do not give bureaucrats reason to ban our sport, and if we come up against opposition we need to bear in mind that (at least in the US) we are not doomed – bureaucrats hate doing work, and sometimes all you need is properly organized resistance and to sustain it until they get tired of you and give up.

Wear a lid and don’t be an asshole, and hopefully we will not revisit this thread in another ten years and commiserate about how a few reckless fools ruined the best parts of our sport for us.

PS does anyone know the status of the proposed longboarding ban in Vancouver?

The key point in this post is bolded above:  Don’t be an asshole.  We’re already in a nanny state where busybodies can ruin our fun, so don’t give them a reason to.  When a cop shows up to your skate spot, remove your helmet and gloves, greet him with a warm handshake, and ask what the problem is.  Respect goes both ways.

User dxo has doubts about longboarding being legislated out of existence:  I wouldn’t be so sure. Cliff Coleman said that downhill will be an Olympic sport before long. I think we can thank guys like Mischo for making sure the sport can’t be ignored. I think it’s coming. Sure, municipalities are going treat it like any other skateboard. That’s just part of the game. And really, anything is better left underground anyway. But serious downhill is here to stay…and since every downhill race has an associated slide jam, I would say it has the same potential to be a recognized sport.

Many “sports” like figure skating and such are just like skateboarding, in that they are expressive and really come down to style and form. It’s all about the swag. The difference between and 8.75 and a 10, ya know? Plenty of people can freeride, but can they do it and look like James Kelly or Fernando Yuppie? These guys are artists. They don’t just ride. Freehide, baby. 😉

How many people said skateboarding would be “legislated out of existence”? I’m sure quite a few and I’m sure many worked diligently toward that goal. We’ve all heard of “No Skatebaodring” cities and towns. But, that’s not the norm. The norm is every town is finally giving and and building kids a skatepark. And as long as we keep working the transportation angle and get longboards treated like bicycles, then we could expect similar accommodations…ie: access to bike lanes, etc.

The cup’s half full. Actually, the cup runneth over. 😉

Yes, they’re opening up freestyle skateboarding as a trial sport in the 2022 Olympics, but there’s the issue of the entire sport collapsing.  Skateparks are closing, longboarding is all but dead, the online shops that were once a core part of our community are shuttering.

My response to DXO:

…skateboarding has been legislated out of existence…once in the 70’s, and another time in the 80’s.  Insurance got too high to support skateparks, so the skate scene died in the late 70’s. The same thing happened again in the late 80’s and led to the street revolution.

So yes, it’s already happened…and is already happening again, but this time aimed towards bombing hills.

 

User distractingphoenix:  Well we’re already half way there. We’re going to need quite a bit of progress to electronically controlled boards.

I certainly won’t be buying electronically controlled components. Most of the thrill of skating is being able to adjust to whatever the environment throws at you, not sitting back and letting the computer do the work. I particularly dislike those who put motors on their bikes or skateboards. Defeats the purpose of having a manually powered mode of transportation.

I’m guessing the furthest we’ll progress is have carbon fiber components, like the board and trucks. It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with an easier, more efficient way to create carbon fiber within ten years. I hardly think the wheel’s going to be reinvented, or ditched altogether.

This is the greatest thread bump I’ve ever seen. Hopefully there’ll be another one in ten years and we’ll check our progress.

Surprising that he picked on electric boards.  Even as of 2018, electric boards are holding steady.  They haven’t seemed to die as hard as manual skateboards have.  We’ll see where we are in 2022, I guess.

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Below, we have an example of centerset and sideset from Abec11’s wheel lineup:  Left to right, we have the Noskool shape, the Grippin shape (basically a Noskool shape with square lips…move the core to the very edge of the wheel for a Flashback shape, as seen in the red sideset wheel above), a Striker or Freeride shape, and a Flywheel core.  Though, looking at the diagrams from SteveC, it looks a LOT like he borrowed from the Abec11 diagrams as well.

coresHi-Im-a-wheel-6Hi-Im-a-wheel-7Hi-Im-a-wheel-8Hi-Im-a-wheel-9Hi-Im-a-wheel-10Hi-Im-a-wheel-11Hi-Im-a-wheel-12

Below, we have some heavily worn wheels from Mig at Fullbag Skates, so you can see how wheels wear directly under the bearing seat.

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If I can briefly pause right here, the following panel is one that I have trouble with.  For 30 years or more, the distance between the innermost bolt holes was known within the skateboard industry as the “wheelbase.”  The technical engineering term “wheelbase” refers to the distance between the center of the wheels.  Problem is, (see the diagram immediately below) different skateboard trucks have their axles located differently in relation to the innermost holes.  Caliber trucks are notorious for “shortening” the wheelbase compared to Paris, Randal, Grizzly, etc.(despite being a similarly-designed RKP truck) which is a perfect example of the idea I’m trying to illustrate…same goes for Bennett, Indy, Tracker, or Element in the TKP world.  I don’t like the word “truckbase,” or the idea that it represents…it’s a word that caters to the lowest common denominator, and dumbs down skateboarding by making up a new (rather meaningless) word that sounds more complicated than it is.WHEELBASE_DIAGRAM

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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into shapes, with this handy little diagram from Silverfish:

Board_Guide

There’s a lot of crossover between board shapes and purposes…for instance, the Landyachtz Evo is one of the original drop-deck speedboards; though going simply on the silhouette and this diagram, it would likely be lumped in with a “freeride” board.  Don’t overthink things too hard, this is just a general guide.

 

Thanks to SteveC and MalakaiKingston for assembling these graphics!

Gallery  —  Posted: 2018-03-10 in Skate Diagrams
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