Posts Tagged ‘best for sliding’

Purchased from your local hardware store!

What will you need?
-5/16-18×2″ bolt
-5/16-18 wingnut
-Two old skate bearings
-Skate Tool

But why?
Sure, you could just mash the wheels into the bearings using your trucks…but that has the drawback of putting all of the force onto the inner bearing races, which can cause brinneling, and lead to increased friction, premature wear and tear, and ultimately, slower speeds and less longevity. A commercial, shop-quality bearing press works on the principle of pressing the outer race into the wheel core, which means that there isn’t any inadvertent wear-and-tear on the innards of the bearing, and that the bearings will be properly seated, as perpendicular as possible to the axle. Oh yeah, that’s another thing too: Mashing the wheels onto the bearings, especially when using high-quality wheels like Spitfire or Bones can mean that the bearings don’t sit perpendicular to the wheel core. Using a press will alleviate that concern, at least a little. I like buying quality and taking care of my goods, so I devised this bearing press of my own accord.

Take your old bearing and slide it onto the 2″ bolt…This will act as a support for the new, good bearing that you’re going to install:

As pictured above, when the old bearing is on the bolt, get your good bearings (the blue ones) ready to go. We’ll be including a spacer here for good practice. Slide the good bearing onto the bolt, so that the blue part is touching the old bearing, then slide the bearing spacer onto the bolt as well. This provides an interface for the wheel to slide onto as well. Don’t worry about tightening the wheel too much at this point.

Once you get the wheel snugged onto the first good bearing, slide the second one onto the wheel, as pictured above. If you spend some time getting these lined up properly, that’ll provide a good, solid, secure interface between the wheel core and the bearings. What this translates to is faster speeds and less wear and tear on your bearings.

Get your second old bearing set up in place on the bolt, then get the wingnut snugged into place Shouldn’t be too hard, the length of the bolt should allow a thread or two to stick out and grab onto the wingnut.

From there, bust out your skate tool. My trusty Alpha Micro helped out taking these pictures. Use the leverage from the skate tool on the bolt’s head as well as the wingnut to press those good (again, blue) bearings in place. When they’re properly seated, remove the wingnut and enjoy your handiwork.


Randals put hair on your chest.

Having a set of Randals in the house will make your butter soften faster on the countertop.

Randals keep soda from going flat.

If you have an erection after riding your Randals for more than 4 hours, don’t call a doctor, call more ladies.

Besides that, a Randal a day keeps the doctor away.

If Chuck Norris were a longboard, Randals would be the only acceptable truck.

Randals keep your plants from wilting (yes, even those plants )

Unbeknownst to the world, The Beatles rode longboards bearing Randals across the sidewalk on the cover of Abbey Road. The Queen, fearing riots in the streets, had the longboards removed.

An unknown German skater jumped the Berlin wall on a board with Randals. This set into motion the events that brought it down.

Miley Cyrus was buying a longboard and asked Chad Kroeger which trucks were best for sliding. Chad told her that Gunmetals were, and that he rode Gunmetals every day.

Ben Franklin invented bifocals in the hopes that one day, someone would use them to make Randals.

Randals are not allowed in The Virgin Islands. To bring a set of Randals ashore would render them as simply The Islands.

The Rocky Mountains didn’t exist until skate pioneers crossed the Great Plains. The Earth said “This continent is much too flat for trucks like that,” and from the loins of its union, begat the greatest mountain range on Earth to honor Randal trucks.

Aliens exist. They shy away from this planet because they just can’t compete with Randals.

I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look. No, I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night, I just ride Randals.

really, they’re overpriced and over hyped on this site…sure, they are good wheels, but they’re not THAT good


Equipment Review

How long have you ridden them?

a few months

What Setup are you running them on?

Revenger, Zealous proto trucks, rock’n’rons

Superglider, RTX/S, reds

Typical Discipline?

drifting or cruising

How much did you pay for them?


Where did you buy them?


What are their weaknesses?

when you’re not drifting a corner, they feel weird like they can’t hold a line. their durability is not worth it, and they’re quite overpriced.

What are their strengths?

really good and solid feeling while pushing; clean, smooth drift

What similar equipment have you ridden?

zigs, flywheels (yeah i’m throwing these in there), 66 and 76mm EW superballs

Would you recommend them?

The Silverfish Hype Machine was a very powerful force on the market for several years there, much like Reddit and Instagram are today.  These wheels were one of the first hypeworthy products that I bought, and found out that there’s no possible way for them to be as good as they were hyped to be.  Thus began my long, bitter crusade against anything new and exciting.  And, as a result, this entire review isn’t fair.  I was reviewing the wheels through a lens of disappointment, instead of giving them an objective look.  They’re a drifty urethane that’s poured into a grippy shape, so as mentioned in the review, the front wheel tends to push out and cause ‘understeer’ in certain downhill situations, but that was truthfully the only negative I’d ever experienced on these.  Hell, they were good enough for me to put them permanently on my Superglider, which as noted in that review, is the one board I’ve been actively trying to buy back since I sold it.  If you take one thing from this post, please take away that the review is skewed and is not my best work.

As i alluded to earlier, the ends are flared and have a spoon-type concave to REALLY lock your feet in…the “waist” of the board is about 9″ wide, and the ends flare to 10″.


Longboard Review

How long have you ridden the board

a little over a month

What is your setup like?

indy 215’s, spitfire shortboard numero uno wheels, speedy lunatic bearings

Typical Session Discipline


What were the strengths of the deck.

very unique shape, really locks your feet in where you need it. it’s got a stiff construction, so it doesn’t feel floppy like the earthwing drifter sometimes does.

What were the weaknesses?

due to the flared ends, the board basically needs 180mm trucks…and it’s assymetric, so there’s definitely a “Front” and a “Back”

Similar decks you have ridden?

Earthwing Drifter 38″, blank 34″ poolboard

Would you recommend it?


Straight outta Falmouth, United Kingdom came this Faltown 3.2 Slider!  This was a cool fuckin’ board, with a very unique shape:  Whereas a normal board has even concave throughout the length of the board, the Faltown had hemispherical or spoon-shaped concave on the nose and tail, where your feet would go.  It still had a functional nose and tail, and pockets where the concave transitioned to those kicks, but I can’t describe the 3 dimensional shape where your feet sat…No matter how your feet fell before, during, or after a slide, you were locked in securely without having to use shoe-shredding griptape.  This board was a vital part of my growth as a longboarder, but I can’t say that I regret selling it.  I was in a place when I bought it where I was pissed off and sour at the ‘mainstream’ American longboard market, and wanted to break out of the norms as much as I could.  That’s when I bought this uniquely British board, and right around when I began seeking out historical longboards (historical being a relative term, in this situation, meaning from about 1998 to 2004).

Excellent board, i regret getting rid of mine


Very good deck, it’s a good length if you like longer boards for tech sliding…otherwise, the size is GREAT for cruising…also, it’s great for “freeriding”


Longboard Review

How long have you ridden the board

A year

What is your setup like?

Tracker sixtracks and Slide A’s for sliding, Indy 169’s and soft noskool clones for cruising

Typical Session Discipline

Sliding or drifting

Where did you purchase it?


What were the strengths of the deck.

Great beefy size, easy to lock into hands-down slides, multiple wheelbases, VERY versatile and durable

What were the weaknesses?

a bit flexy, if you’re into standup slides…the concave was a little weak too

Similar decks you have ridden?

Faltown 3.2, 34″ blank pool deck

Would you recommend it?



The Earthwing Drifter of this generation was made with Watson Laminate’s Fiberlam technology, seen on quite a few brands, including Tum Yeto (Foundation, etc.), Earthwing, even Sector9 and Arbor.  In the context of this board, a 38″ double-kick, the Fiberlam layup allowed a sort of diagonal torsion on the board, which was great for sliding as it allowed for a little sloppiness; it was very forgiving, as it kept all 4 wheels on the road at the same time.  I had the limited edition colorway from Milehighskates, which was green and turquoise, as opposed to the ‘standard’ version which was red and orange.  To this day, more than a decade later, I still regret selling this one…it was really THAT good.

I’ve had a few thoughts rollin’ around between the ears since my last post.  With the trucks and wheels I purchased, noted in my last post, I also ordered some slide pucks.  Slide pucks, if you don’t know, are skid pads on a set of gloves used to deweight your board, get the board out in front of you, and slide to a stop.  Otherwise, when I broke my wrist back in 2014, the orthopedist said that some hard plastic (like slide pucks) can be used to alleviate wrist injuries.  He was shocked when he was describing some specific motorcycle gloves, and I knew exactly what he was talking about.

My first pair of slide gloves was an old pair of mechanic’s gloves with Corian glued onto the fingers and palm.  That was an old trick from Silverfish:  Using Corian samples as slide pucks.  Walk into your favorite kitchen store, say that you’re renovating your kitchen, and you’d like to see 4 or 5 different color samples of Corian, then the shop gives you 2×2″ chunks of Corian to take home and compare.  I killed that pair of gloves and made a second, but the pucks were still intact.  I was fortunate enough to be hooked up with the infamous Ninja Bomb Squad out of San Diego, who were developing some pucks with Loaded Longboards…they sent me 6 or 8 4″ palm pucks, out of the goodness of their hearts, and I wore through one pair (and the gloves), gave one away, put one on my wife’s slide gloves, and wore out another pair.  I was sliding a LOT.  I bought my first pair of slide pucks in 2010 or so, and made another pair of gloves with some Sector9 pucks.  Well, those pucks burned through one pair of gloves, then another, and currently sit on their third.  So, that leaves me on my sixth pair of slide gloves, meaning I replace the gloves about every other year, and the pucks just as frequently.  My sixth pair are high-vis, and I bought some fresh Sector9 pucks to use.

That leads me to my main point:  Sector9.  They’re entering their 25th year in the business, and to say that they’ve changed the game is putting it lightly.  When nobody had ever heard of longboarding, skaters still knew Sector9.  They didn’t change the game, they invented it, and they’ve kept up with the game ever since then.  But, with ubiquity comes a great deal of publicity, and by sticking your neck out that far, you’re exposing yourself to haters.  2007 me was a hater.  Sector9 was for posers, kooks, untalented hacks, and clueless n00bs.  The reason I bought that first set of S9 pucks was for nothing more than to support my pals at the local skateshop.  Even when I got a job at my own skateshop a few years later, I could never shake the idea that Sector9 was somehow inferior.  Sector9 hate is one of my most deep-seated biases in longboarding, and it’s unfair, and it’s unwarranted.  They’re a great company, and yeah, they’ve done some shady things, but I wouldn’t be into longboarding (neither would you) without their influence.  I owe my life’s passion, and the greatest hobby I’ve ever had, to them.

Part of my bias came, no doubt, from the forums at Silverfish.  Legend held that in the early days of Silverfish, Sector9 actually did make an inferior product.  My only experience with a S9 board circa 2002 came from riding an old roommate’s board.  S9, if I understand correctly, had some cheaply made OEM trucks during that time frame.  My roommate’s board had bent axles (I may have, and probably did, imagine this part, but I would swear the axles were aluminum and part of the hanger), and simply would NOT turn.  The geometry of the trucks was so dead that you’d lean, but not turn.  He’d always complain of sliding out and losing traction on the sidewalks around campus, so the wheels were really crappy quality as well.  So, stories like this pervaded the forums on Silverfish and were giving Sector9 a great deal of bad publicity.  So (according to legend), S9 asked SFL to remove not just the bad reviews, but all reviews period.  This had the unseen consequence of getting the rumor mill fired up:  They said you’d be banned for discussing Sector9 gear, they said there was a feud between S9 and SFL, they said that there was a conspiracy to conceal just how bad S9 gear was.  There was no banning, there was no feud, and it was a private website, so what use would a conspiracy be?  All of this BS was just hivemind, and was probably more detrimental to Sector9, as Silverfish (throughout its entire existence) housed one of the most comprehensive, user-submitted review and rating sections on the entire internet.  By not having their name in there, S9 was missing out on a big chunk of publicity.

I’ve mentioned previously that my entire longboarding experience was shaped by Silverfish, so this whole S9 drama (no doubt there was drama) formed my opinions to be very negative towards them.  Fact is, in 2019 they’re survivors.  Other brands are dropping left and right, but Sector9 has stayed afloat.  Their capacity has shrunk, of course, but they’re still kickin’, so they’re quite obviously doing something right.

Over the years, I have acquired a few pieces of Sector9 gear:  I’ve got one of their fabled Raceboards (reborn as a DHD Daisy, if I’m remembering their names right) set up on Independent 215’s and Sector9 Goddess Of Speed wheels, for some great late-90’s downhill/freeride fun.  I bought some Sector9 Butterball wheels and while they’re currently in my spare parts bin, they did some pretty cool freeride and bike-path duty on my Earthwing Supermodel (on Randal 180’s)…gotta get those back out this summer.  And, I can’t reiterate this enough:  I was unfairly hating on this company for years.  They make decent gear, and they’ve cultivated the scene to an epic degree.  It’s time to live and let live, and this post is a step in the right direction for me.

I’ve always wanted a scientific analysis of which pavement is best for sliding…which, I’ve done myself, in a non-scientific way, when I was working in an asphalt lab. But, I presume I’m one of about…oh, one longboarder in the entire country who cares about such things. Based on what I saw in the lab, coupled with my own observations after skating all kinds of roads, the best asphalt is “theoretically” a 5e10 aged about 10 years due to the aggregate content (better for sliding on) and how the binder wears off over the years.  There’s a LOT to grapple with, between the oil-based asphalt binder, and the oil-based urethane of a skateboard wheel.  So, let’s unpack this a little:

Urethane, as shown in the Bushing and Wheel posts, is a complex compound made up of chains of molecules.  It’s the result of a few chemical reactions, similar to baking bread or frying an egg…you can’t just re-heat it and mold it into something else.  You gotta chemically undo those changes, which isn’t exactly possible.  But, that’s what makes urethane so bouncy, slidey, and wonderful.

Rebound is an important aspect of urethane.  The durometer (hardness) of a urethane product, be it a wheel or a bushing, measures how much it’ll deform under a load.  Lower durometer means it’ll deform more…and, as a wheel deforms more over a rough road surface, it’ll dig into all the imperfections and GRIP!  But wait, you ask, what about those molecular chains?  Well, with a soft urethane formula, with weak chains, that’ll make the wheel disintegrate easier…which means it’ll break into a slide easier than a wheel with tougher urethane chains.  And, those weak chains are key to leaving those ‘thane lines on the road that the kiddies love so very, very much.  As far as rebound goes, that’s how fast the original shape reforms after the initial deformation…that’ll make bushings feel a little harder, and wheels feel a little faster (as the wheel deforms and squishes on the front edge, rebound helps the wheel spring back into it’s original shape on the back edge of the wheel, returning energy to rolling, and ultimately feeling faster).  Per the Wheels post (linked above) the “Great wheels” are going to be high rebound, grippy, racing wheels…something akin to an Abec11 Zigzag or a Seismic Speedvent.  And, because urethane plays into retaining the original shape, they’re typically grippier, since the durometer allows them to deform over a rough road surface, but the rebound snaps it back into shape before it begins sliding.

Confused yet?  Hold onto your fillings, man, we’re just getting started!

Wide wheels grip like a mofo…look at Abec11 Centrax, Sector9 Steam Rollers, or Nersh Money Hax.  More real estate between your feet and the road means that more urethane can deform over the road and give you, dear rider, more grip.  So, given that assumption, common sense says smaller contact patch is slidier than a wide one…yet, it’s incredibly difficult to slide an inline skate wheel. Seriously, try it sometime! Fast as fuck, squirrelly like you wouldn’t believe, and grips like there’s no tomorrow.  Comparing rollerblade wheels to longboard wheels, the bearings are the same, the spacing of the hub is the same, hell, the damn core is the same…Labeda’s big money-makers are rollerblade wheels. The first runs of Orangatangs had the same hubs that were in my rollerblades in high school (and people were PISSED at coring their wheels within 10mm of use). I know for a fact that several other longboard brands use rollerblade hubs; there was even a rumor that Earthwing‘s Slide A formula was borrowed from an inline company. So, at least component-wise, rollerblade and longboard wheels are pretty identical. The big difference is shape, which affects the contact patch and overall ride feel.  The rollerblade wheels I used were a fairly typical longboard size and duro (76mm, 80 or 81a), fairly similar to Zigzags or Orangatang 4Presidents. I hit my local hill and tried to slide the board.  I’m sure we’re all familiar with trying to force something to slide and going *TURN*TURN*TURN*HOLYSHITI’MBACKWARDS*.  The rollerblade wheels, at least on the setup I tried, simply would not slide. It was *TURN*TURN*TURN*IFELLOFFTHEBOARDBECAUSEITGRIPPEDTOHARD*   On a rollerblade wheel, the contact patch is only a few millimeters, but it’s located directly underneath the bearings (where the rider’s weight is concentrated), so there’s an immense amount of pressure under that little tiny area. Once you add a sideways component (from sliding), that’s still not strong enough to overcome the insane PSI under the wee little tiny contact patch, so it grips like a mofo…if we extrapolate that out, there’s a going to be a constant battle between the sideways pressure, the downward pressure, and the whole darn wheel oscillating, which probably means it’ll slide like a wet fart…er, not in a good way

So, if wide-ass wheels grip like a mofo, and so do narrow-ass wheels, surely that leaves the shape of the wheel to account for.  Centerset wheels are grippiest, because the rider’s weight is centered exactly in the middle of the wheel, leaving both the inner and outer lips to dig in and grip on the road.  But, sideset wheels are grippiest, because the rider’s weight is concentrated on the inner edge (as we learned from the Wheels post, that’s where the grip comes from), and the outer edge deforms to dig in and grip the road.  But, offset wheels are the grippiest, because it’s got a little flex and deformation to dig into the inner lip, as well as a lot of flex and deformation to dig into the outer lip.  Buuuut, centerset wheels slide the best because the inner and outer lips deform equally and lift up to shed urethane nicely on the road, with the added benefit of being able to rotate the wheels to ensure even wear.  Buuuuuuut, sideset wheels are best for sliding, because the rider’s weight is only concentrated on the inner edge, leaving the rest of the wheel free to glide sideways over the road surface.  Buuuuuuuuuuuut, offset wheels are best for sliding because there’s a little give in each direction, allowing the wheel to dump urethane off of each lip.

Now, where does this leave us?  If every shape of wheel on the market is simultaneously the best and the worst for sliding, how can you know if the wheel you’re looking at is good for sliding?  The answer, not surprisingly, is rather complicated.  But, it’ll help to look at it from the opposite point of view:  Identify what makes a grippy wheel, then eliminate those characteristics to find a slidey wheel.  Grippy wheels are typically (not always) offset or center set, with sharp, machined inner and outer lips, and are made with a long-chained, high-rebound urethane formula.  High-rebound urethane (grippy) is brightly and uniformly colored, while low-rebound (slidey) urethane is a little more subdued, and maybe even a little milky looking.  In Abec11’s line, their Reflex stuff is high-rebound and grippy as hell, identified by bright lime green, lemon yellow, or atomic orange; whereas their Classic urethane in green, pink, or amber, is almost translucent.  Sector9’s Race Formula is high-rebound, and available in bright yellow, orange, or blue; whereas their classic Ghost Thane is very faint, Butterball or Skiddles formula has the same milky quality as classic Abec11 ‘thane.  Orangatang’s purple and yellow offerings are higher rebound than their orange 80a urethane, which is why the 4President and InHeat wheels don’t work as well as they should in 80a (the shapes are grippy as hell, but the urethane formula is slidey)…80a 4prez’s are the only longboard wheel that I’ve ever experienced understeer on, where the back of the board wants to turn, but the front keeps going straight.

And, onto durometer, as though this blog post isn’t convoluted enough already.  Generally speaking, lower durometer (being softer) will grip harder, and a higher durometer (being harder) will slide out easier.  But, when a wheel is too soft (below 77a or so), it’ll just deform and dump ‘thane…meaning, that it’ll slide easier.  On certain perfect surfaces (such as a smooth sidewalk, or a manmade skatepark), a higher durometer (85a or above on a sidewalk, 99a or above in a skatepark) will hold its shape against the perfectly smooth riding surface and grip hard!  When you get a rough surface, the hard wheels will bounce and glide across the surface.  The “sweet spot” for soft wheels is between around 78a and 85a…below that range, you’ll get the urethane dumps and lose grip, and above that range, you’ll get the skidding and sliding.  Between 86a and 94a, wheels are too soft for perfect surfaces, yet too hard for imperfect surfaces.  95a and above is great for ditches, street skating, park skating, and downhill techsliding.

A wise man once told me “If you can ride it, you can slide it,” which is absitively, posilutely true…but, there are myriad options of wheels out there that’ll make it easier on you to slide.  The most important thing is experimentation, and finding what works for you.  Longboarding is still relatively cheap, so save your lawnmowing money and buy a few sets of wheels.  I can’t tell you which specific product to buy, as there are SO many other factors that we didn’t even explore here, that’ll impact grip/slide characteristics.  Wheels are important, yeah, but they’re a small fraction of the chaos that is a longboard.  So, take some of the general guidelines I’ve set forth above, and attack the skateshop with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!

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.

On September 21, 2017, the website 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”