Many will tell you "any deck can be pumped."
And while this statement is basically true, it's not complete.
What you should know is that some setups can
be pumped far more efficiently than others.
Many other factors must be taken into account
as well. You wouldn't buy a BMX bike for an interstate bicycle
race, as you wouldn't ride a park board to pump a longboard marathon.
Even a high-tech slalom board would be debateable for a marathon,
because your pumps will be far shorter and faster. You're best
off considering a board with a much longer wheelbase, and a touch
With all the gimmicky new "surf-like"
trucks and gadgets that pop up on the market each year, there
is an important element of getting back to the basics, that should
always be kept in mind.
All that said, the most efficient Long Distance
Pumping setups are made up of the following elements.
1. High-rebound wheels in a durometer that suits
the terrain. 84a is fine for good surfaces, but 78a is probably
the best all-around durometer.
2. Wheel size that matches the terrain. Short ride? 66-70mm is
fine. Real distance, like 10 miles or more? Bump it up to 75/76mm.
You'll appreciate the added momentum and ability to maintain a
faster high-end clip.
3. A very turny front truck with excellent, snappy rebound back
to center. Good bushings make all the difference.
4. 10-15 degrees of wedging in the front truck (and sometimes
5. A stable rear truck with excellent rebound to center. Again,
choose bushings wisely.
6. 5-10 degrees of de-wedging in the rear truck.
7. Simply clean, oiled bearings, in the Abec 3-5-7 range. The
differences are trivial. Ceramics can be overkill for harsh trail
riding conditions in LDP.
8. A deck that is wide enough in the nose to enable the full width
of your foot, to transfer more subtle movements directly over
and down into the front truck's pivot.
9. A wheelbase in the range between 26" to 31".
10. Some degree of subtle flex in the board. Not a soft noodle,
and not stiff as a rock.
Realize that shorter setups, such as those used
in slalom, can be much easier to learn on, though it is not absolutely
necessary to do so. These have wheelbases in the 17" to 22"
range, are usually in the 8" to 9.5" widths, and are
not always of the flexy variety.
A longer board will give you both. You can ride
the nose and experiment with smaller pumps to accelerate, then
step back, widen your stance, and get into some long, deep, driving
An LDP with "hips", this sexy shape
helps you power pumps off the rear foot more, and adds overall
rigidity to the deck. The subtle concave option adds even more
strength and function if you like your feet to be 'cupped' into
The design of the Mermaid was based initially
on function, and we worked the style and shape around several
important aspects of long distance riding. Gareth tested the design,
and John Stryker cut and finished the final shapes, the end result
is truly a combined effort.
Ride testing has been rigorous, literally thousands
of miles have been poured into this animal to get a shape and
flex just right for LDP excursions. During the years I've ridden
Roe's I've mixed in distance riding on all other kinds of boards
whenever possible, yet the magic of the Roe deck recipe, and the
consistency and craftsmanship, is still unsurpassed.
It does take a while for a Roe to be built and
shipped, as they're built to order, so allow several months. But
when it arrives, you'll know why.
Alan and Kimmy on the Burke
- August 2007.
Kris's description over on silverfish says it
"Looks like a chinchilla-lined waterbed for the rear foot
to complement the pure-silk rotating circular bed for the front
The Pulse Rev 2.0
With camber and a little more concave ... currently
With a carbon fiber SNAP, and some influence
and ride testing that will make this one of the most versatile
LDP boards to date. Scotty truly understands the value of testing
and building boards consistently for performance. I've been blown
away how much work he does by hand and gets it perfect, the guy
is an artistic technician!
John Stryker has influenced this one in design
(helped on the nose reshape and the core construction), it's been
tested by many on the CSA crew, and Sheldon Lessard has been out
riding a proto all over the country.
All impressions so far concur - lightweight,
snappy and fast. Concave, straight across the middle from nose
to tail, and nice wide pockets for getting your pumping feet locked
in and cranking turns!!
I have always dug Scott's amazing woodwork and
finishing touches, and over the years he's been researching and
refining his blends of concaved fiberglass and wood. When the
first proto arrived, before I even stood on it, was once again
blown away by the craftsmanship and the very unique beveled edge
he tossed in, which these pictures just don't do justice.
Back in 2000 I bought one of his first Swerve
boards, owned a couple of his slalom boards since then, and over
the winter worked out a shape with him for LDP.
I've been splitting my rides up with some mileage
on this one and sharing it with some other local rippers.
He also threw in the tiger stripe grip tape job
as a surprise and it suits the deck perfectly!
Scott's got so many great options like colors,
wheel wells, and alternate grip designs.
This board is named for
the distances it's destined to travel. Inspired by the aboriginal
rite of passage, when young men "go walkabout" on the
same paths as their ancestors -- it's also a blend of a lifelong
passion for music. It was sheer dumb luck to have attended the
UW Music school when Stuart Dempster taught, I took his didge
class to learn better breathing techniques for trumpet. Nearly
20 years later, out cruising and listening to some mp3's this
summer, there were these great tracks of techno beats mixed with
the rhythmic drone of the didge, and the Walkabout name just popped
into the uber-subconscience and that was that. Now just need some
plane tickets to the Land Down Under to make this journey complete!
Snappy flex with a slight camber, a gradual concave
throughout the length of the deck, and a smooth pocket for the
front foot for when you're moving around, switching up stances.
Most common question: "What's the kick nose
for?" I don't use the kick nose all too often, except I've
found when riding backward it's a comfy place to position the
heel. Also works great in those times when you've been riding
a while and might otherwise end up stepping off the nose of the
board-- something I've done a time or two! It's really a functional
add that was requested by many LDP'ers out there who prefer to
ride the nose more, and it works! I suspect some of the tricksters
might find they can nose manual more easily on this one, though
I find that pretty tricky with an uber-loose front truck!
Below pic: equipped with RED 81a Bennetts, a
nice balance between a sticky turny slalom wheel and something
that you can feel shred the asphalt as you commit hard sliding
I had been asking Larry for a "back to roots"
wood board on the outside but with some technical adds, like a
fiberglass and carbon fiber Oreo cookie. You can even see the
glass in some of these pics if you look closely. Larry's getting
The LBL Walkabout in action...
John Stryker putting the LBL Walkabout through
6-foot cyber course!
The CAMBIAR (modified pump
Eric Lowell who lit up the LDP Ultraskate scene
in Seattle in 2008, also made it over to the UK to inspire their
long-distance crew and spread the LDP love,
Just after the Ultraskate in Seattle, he began
working closely with Mark G of "G-Bomb" longboards,
to find a cool compromise between the low
efficiency of a dropped push-board, and the over-the-nose leverage
of a topmount pumper.
Details on the progression
of Mark's invention, which originally started as "G-Bomb
Longboards" is on this thread:
APR 2006 37.75" Roe Pavedwave LDP board,
next to its heavier 2005 prototype:
RoeRacing LDP 2006
After several years of long distance pump testing
a wide range of setups on the trails, this formula rules them
It's lightweight and snappy, using just the
right amount of birch plys, triaxial fiberglass, and RoeRacing
carbon fiber for extra pop and an extra long life, but not so
much to weigh down the ride. The excesses from previous models
have been removed. Gareth got this board DIALED -- it makes for
effortless pump sessions!
Original template surf-shape, wide in the nose
and cutaway shape at the tail. The overall 37.75" length
of the deck is not as important as the 28.5" / 29.5"
wheelbase that works perfectly on this setup, for half- and full-
flatland pump marathons, or all-out cruise sessions along the
The wide nose enables full foot placement across
the width of the deck, making it easy to leverage power and quick
pumps over the front. Step back just behind the front truck and
the low camber returns a snap like no other.
The camber is subtle -- and it needs to be subtle
for distance rides. Boards with higher camber look cool, and do
snap nicely on short pump sprints, but the cumulative effect of
"hyper snapping" camber is a feeling of being tossed
off the nose of the board. With Roe's mellow camber, when more
power is needed its there by pumping down hard with the back foot,
but when you're in the "cruising gears", your weight
naturally presses the camber to a flatter plane and thus, far
more comfortable for many miles and miles of road ahead. This
isn't a discovery that would become obvious after just pumping
cyber sprints, or even a mile or so. Try 10 or 20+ miles at a
time -- and listen to what your feet start telling you!
The cutaway in back is just before the rear truck,
so the back foot can still be placed far toward the rear of the
deck, when you want a full width stance and a long trail cadence
pump, powering off the rear and steering with the nose.
With trucks placed nearly at the nose and tail,
and a wide platform, it practically makes for a Super GS board
-- that can also double as a nosewalker -- there's enough room
for cross-stepping and switching stance easily. But this is obviously
far from your standard surf plank.
Pictured here with 90mm Split Fire Phase III
up front, heavily wedged with Khiro wedge kit, and Khiro white
bushings. Rear is 107mm Split Fire Phase I with Tracker Stim on
bottom and Khiro cone on top.
The Carver CX front + rear combo runs sweet on
this deck as well!
Typically I'm running either 76mm Retro Gumballs,
or 75mm shaved Avilas of various duros, depending on just how
gnarly the terrain is.
The previous LDP protos had been requested several
times over (as Customs) by people who've been similarly bitten
by the long distance trail riding bug. Gareth and Michael have
been instrumental in coaching on pumping techniques and asking
the right questions at the right time, sometimes when I had even
crazier ideas about the deck's shape and how to create more leverage
where its needed. The first templates were cut out, then pressed
and shaped by Steve, and the latter models were shaped and refined
with tweaks by John Stryker. Thanks to all of them, and to those
who've recognized and contributed to this unique and steadily
Much energy has gone into these boards -- and
waiting to be unleashed on the trail!!
A perfect hybrid pushing / pumping setup like
this has been elusive, but the Evo-Bennett combo is working pretty
I love Bennett Truks, and I've always liked the
intelligent wedging of the Evo. After several commutes on the
Evo-Bennett Pumper, and a lot of winter garage sessions, some
other modifications are in the works to get this thing dialed.
A lot of other guys have been riding it at our
garage bombing and cyber sessions, and really digging it!
This setup is now a candidate for the 2008 Seattle
to Portland in July, in fact I'd say it's been inspired by that
course. The first day of the STP has a lot of flat and pumpable
terrain, but the second day, the highway into Portland has tons
of rough chipseal asphalt, and more inclines to push.
I've been wanting to find a middle ground board,
knowing that the topmount is still always going to be a better
pumper overall, and that the drop-deck saves your energy when
you just have to push.
Other lowrider pumpers I've tried so far are:
- park boards converted to schlongboards and
mounted with Seismics
- Afroman 38" deck with Randal 150 front and conventional
- Bustin's lowered setups with Randals front and rear
- Lush Samba with Seismics
None of these really worked out the way I'd hoped,
mainly because in order to get the wheels big enough and the trucks
turny enough you'd have a lot of modding to the original deck
shape to avoid bite, and also because there are very few decks
that have natural dewedging built into the rear.
=== === === === === === === ===
Some follow up on this -
The Evo-pumper didn't enjoy a whole lot more
love, after I set up Bennetts on the dropped "Cambiar"
deck (the aluminum bracket system, a creation of Mark Groenenboom's)
which may soon become the Loaded "Fathom" system. What
that configuration added to the game which the Evo-pumper could
not, is the element of flex that's needed.
There have been some other testers spending more
time with that board, and I'm keeping a thread on it HERE.
And another related thread here.
The Evo was an interesting experiment, in that
you could maintain a "tic-tac" pump, pouring energy
from the rear of the board, and gliding the "steering"
front foot back and forth, so the front bushings needed to be
loose, yet not sloppy, and have their own return to center. What
really was lacking though was to have the entire board give back
some energy. The other downside is that you're giving up having
the ability to move forward on the deck to put more weight over
the front truck, when you want to shift around stances and use
less energy to just glide through the flat and pump up speed more
efficiently, without as much energy investment.
And of course, you don't want to assume that
just because this thing's a speedboard, you can point it down
a hill as you might with Randals... I've taken my Bennetts up
to around 40 mph on a topmount comfortably, but the drop deck
adds another level of "squirrellyness" which I wasn't
willing to test out on any real hills.
So for a mellow cruiser, with an option to pump
some distances, the Evo was fun, but I wouldn't consider it a
The Vanguard has always been one of my favorite
carvers. I've tested every flex they have and always preferred
the 1's and 2's, though at my 165 lbs I suppose that's considered
So kickin around some extra boards in my garage
in the winter of 2006, I figured I'd better do something with
the Vanny since it hadn't seen much love lately. I'd gotten so
immersed in flats, distance pumping all the time and hadn't been
out recently just to carve hills on my Carveboard, my Flexdexes,
or my Loaded. I'd even sold off a couple I wanted back, so I picked
up another couple stiffer flexes in oak.
Then the idea struck. I needed a new prototype LDP to test, and
there was a Vanguard just begging for the jigsaw.
So to do the shaping right, I called John Stryker,
who doesn't ride even a brand new foamcore board unless he's taken
a saw to it first -- I'm not making that up! So John's got the
mad skills (he shaped all the 2006 RoeRacing boards) I draw out
the shape on the nose and a little off the tail, and John gets
it cut out and back to me within a couple days. Then after a bit
of riding and testing the flex and giving it the nod, my friend
tells me he'd be happy to slap a professional paint job on it.
So there you have it -- a professional shaping,
re-grip and paint job, just the right trucks and setup, and the
Loaded now takes on a new life:
These experiments were a transition between the
2006 Mermaid and the 2007 Subsonic LDP.
The Subsonic steps the platform's width up by
quite a notch, takes out the high camber, adds a bit more concave,
thins out the edges with a nice bevel, and adds a bit more rigidity
with some glass and a little carbon fiber!!
EPILOGUE: Check this out! Some guy on the German
forum longboardz.de built his own now as well, he calls it the
There are many ways to config a deck for distance
pumping, and depending largely on preference and pump style, some
work better than others. What I'm imparting are my opinions on
what works best, and a good number of pumpers here in the Northwest,
where we've got endless miles of paved trails to ride.
First, the TRUCKS.
As the saying goes, what's old is new...and there
is some "new" magic in the reissue BennettTruks
-- I'm putting more time on these than anything else now.
My typical (front) Bennett Bushing
Setups for LDP
Bennetts feel a lot like
an Indy, with a fast turn on initiation, and they turn like crazy
all the way through. In slalom there seems to be a couple "schools",
those who really like the power of a Tracker turn, and those who
have been sold on the feel of an Indy since day one. A splitfire
in back combination gives rear truck stickiness at the fastest
speeds (flatland doesn't usually get much faster than 20mph) and
the Bennett in front has a nice, easy surf feel that translates
well to the trails. One thing I have to re-learn is how to footbrake
at speed on these. The first time I broke at around 25mph, I didn't
realize how much twitchier the front was than my splitfire!!
One thing I like about
in front, is that the axle is nearer the baseplate than a Randal
or Carver truck, decreasing the overall height from deck-to-ground,
which makes for easier pushing, for those unavoidable times when
you must resort to that primitive skill. ;-)
Over the past year I've come to appreciate most
the Bennett front / SplitFire rear, a perfect combination for
a pumping machine.
Here are a few shots of my rear trucks. I always
run them dewedged, and have lately moved all the SplitFires to
DH baseplates. Since the SplitFires are currently on production
hiatus, other options that I've set up are Tracker RTS and Indys
on back -- which are about a sixth of the cost, and at least in
the world of LDP, make a negligible difference.
has obviously been a favorite in the past. We were riding these
hard way before Carver's marketing department finally woke up
and started actively promoting them. With wheels of 75mm, they
require 1-1/2" or more of risers (just flat ones, no angles),
so pushing can be challenging especially up hills, but it surfs
like crazy, so most the time you shouldn't be touching ground
For a relatively inexpensive, back-to-basics
setup I would use a reverse
kingpin truck, such as a Randal150 or a GullwingCruiser60.
R180's or Holeys are okay, but those broad hangars will require
a wider, more energy-invested pump, and what I prefer is a hangar
that lets you tack the nose back and forth more effortlessly,
at a shorter 'wavelength' and higher frequency. Paris trucks look
far more elegant than the Randals, with a polished finish and
arguably more consistent machining, though functionally there
is very little difference.
Tracker RTX/RTS combos are great for slalom pumping.
I find their turn to be of a progressive nature, and not as conducive
to long distances because they require a bit more effort. Trackers
seem to turn gradually, but as you continue to turn, they turn
very deep and positive, which is probably why they work so well
on the stiff, broad-nosed AXE slalom deck. However, the energy
investment for short, wiggly acceleration costs a little more,
and over the long hauls, I tend to use this method to either maintain
momentum or sprint up long inclines.
How the truck is mounted on the deck will greatly
increase or decrease its turny, surfy quality. For LDP, you want
a tacking, back and forth action in the front, and a relatively
stable rear truck. For the SplitFires, Bennets, Randals, or Gullwing
Cruisers, a strong wedge in front and slight de-wedge in back
feels just right.
On the CX, I typically just ran 1-3/4" of
flat risers with 75mm wheels and stock bushings.
Exact riser and hardware measurements vary widely,
because my wheel choices generally range from 70mm to 77mm, bushings
range from super soft to medium duros, decks can have some concave
which raises the edges slightly -- so these choices have a huge
influence on whether you run into wheelbite or not.
Current favorite riser/wedge
combinations in the front (with Bennetts) are:
Config1: 15 degree angle
wedge plus ONE of the Khiro angled 'shock pads' for 75-77mm wheels
(Vents, BigZigs, Gumballs)
Config2: 10 degree angle wedge plus ONE of the Khiro angled
'shock pads' for wheels in 70mm range (Zags, HotSpots, Manx)
Config3: TWO soft angled wedges (70mm wheels)
- add a flat 1/8" riser (Avilas, Gumballs) or 1/4" riser
This may look like a lot of riser, but in fact,
these wedges are fat only on one end and very thin on the other,
so my LDPs tend to be as far off the ground as other, more standard
Khiro Wedge Kit diagram
and typical risers used.
Most setups are about
1/4" off the deck on the thin end...
For 75-77mm wheels, about
1-1/2" off the deck on the thick end...
Slalom set up with 10
degree wedge and two flat 1/8" risers.
What I typically run on any reverse kingpin truck
or Bennets, are Khiro
angled 'shock pads' in front, which are actually a large
wedged rubber riser that is 3/16" on one end and 9/16"
on the fat end, plus if I'm using wheels that are 75mm or larger,
will add at least 1/8" flat riser and sometimes another very
thin angled riser.
Usually before fully tightening everything up,
you can just put the baseplate over the bolts, grab the wheels
and wrench the hangar side to side, to get an idea whether you've
got enough riser to keep the dreaded wheelbite from getting you.
To just take care of all your angled riser needs
once and for all (until you need more, anyway) just pick up one
of the Khiro
wedged riser kits!
WHEEL preferences -- I'm usually running
one of these on distance setups:
- 75a 77mm Speed Vents - fastest top end
speed, good on poor-to-excellent trail conditions
- 72a 75mm Red or PurpleSkunk Avilas - because of
its amazing soft duro that maintains its momentum on nice surfaces,
and gets over the nastiest asphalt smoothly, this is still the
wheel of choice for tackling ALL terrain LDP!
- Pink Gumballs - amazing rebound, and cushy for nasty
- Lime/Lemon BigZigs - amazing rebound, best on good-to-excellent
Longboard Larry - Prototype "Comet"
Note: This prototype deck was on a different
custom design and testing cycle from Larry's "Sandpiper"
deck. (May 2006) It worked well at a time
when I needed to test out my shape in a plain birch deck, a more
basic wood config that neither Roe nor Insect were commercially
producing at the time. We called this board the "Comet."
In clearing out some of my collection (Fall 2009)
I felt that this board really deserved a full time owner and rider
-- not to make it a "museum piece for LDP", even though
it really is. So off it went to Jeff in New York City!
RoeRacing / Insect Hybrid Custom
44" x 10", custom template surf-shape,
wide in the nose and narrow to the tail.
Inspired by a cross between a RoeRacing Crossfire
slalom deck, and my favorite longboard shape with a wide nose.
Gareth helped spec it, and Steve built and dialed it perfectly!
Carver CX truck system, mounted 4" from
the nose and 1" off the tail. Big, fast 76mm Avilas. TWO
1/2" risers to avoid wheelbite. (Recommend FLAT risers with
RoeRacing 38" Foam Torsion Core custom!
- Carver CX, TWO 1/2" flat risers, and 75mm soft Avilas underneath.
My bro Skip owns this deck now, he was out with
me on its Maiden voyage around Green Lake and it fit him right
away. Skip used to ride a narrow G & S deck and this Roe had
a width of something like 8"--8.5" which fit his stance
perfectly. This is the lightest and snappiest LDP combination
custom Roe board yet.
Lib Tech Koi or Toxic Surfer (same
deck, different graphic) - 44" x 9.25", 24" wheelbase,
a stiff longboard deck you can also thrash in the skateparks with.
Carver C7s are one of the best surfing/carving
stoke trucks out there. Since the truck itself is so loose, it's
best kept on a stiff deck, that's why I like this combo. The C7
demands muscle to keep a long distance pump going, so I thought
the Carver setup wouldn't be the best for marathon rides -- it's
more like an excellent 1-3 mile surfing-pumping workout deck.
Now I keep the Carver C7 mounted to a
Tony Hawk park flippy deck with soft 60mm NoSkools, to get the
KIDS hooked on flatland carving...
Carver CX - The 2005 CX model was at one
point on three of my decks -- one is pictured unmounted next to
the C7 for comparison. It's a far simpler design, and with a tighter
setup, is great for much longer distances... STOKED!
More on the CX's in the Trucks page
Morning Wood 40" kicktail pumping deck
More of a hybrid board, I often pulled this one
out for friends who want to check out a surf-like longboard for
the first time or for a shorter trail ride. In the end, I actually
sold this one to a friend I'd never met in person! Its just a
perfect all-around shape.
The kicktail is great for carving around parking
lots with little banks, or just working harder cutbacks, yet its
still got 70mm Flashbacks to (almost) keep up with the other LDP
Gravity Spoon Nose LDP
I've had the spoon nose out only for a few rides,
it's been a really wet and icy Northwest winter so far. I set
it up as I would any other LDP board underneath: Pink Gummies,
Bennett 5.0 front, Tracker RTS in back, standard wedging/dewedging.
First impression is that the deck rides smooth
and a little soft, kinda like most other all-wood boards (like
my flexdex pro60.)
Shape-wise its great, with a broad nose and very
mellow concave. If you're up for some casual pump sessions it
would be a good board to start with, definately more affordable
and Daddiesboardshop shipped me one in literally 2 days!
If I kept riding this setup hard, I wouldn't
expect it to keep its 'pop' more than a few months, which is why
I like glass and carbon which add to and extend the life of the
But a birch board like this serves well for a
while as a snappy pumper and can live its 2nd life as a carver/cruiser.
Hopefully as the weather improves I'll put it through some more
commutes and see how it goes.
Flexdex Pro60 - 60" x 10", Long
Distance Pleasure cruiser. Gullwing Cruiser 60 trucks front and
back. Grippins front, Flashbacks in the back.
Incredible flex due to the length -- although
its a little on the heavy side, it maintains great momentum in
the flats. I've owned Sector9 Nosewalkers and long Gravity decks,
but no other big wooden "ironing board" type flat deck
has had this kind of perfect flex and return in the carves.
I was so sold on this deck that I bought a 40-board
pallet of these from Flexdex when they went out of business, and
sold most of them on eBay for cheap, just to share the stoke and
pay for the skate addiction. I've also donated a few in events
and school auctions.
Flexdex made only a couple wooden decks but they
somehow nailed the flex almost the same as their fiberglass boards.
Like no other...
So far the longest Roe TC deck ever made. Wider
than the 38", it looks like a surfboard cruiser, but ultralight,
and built for speed! The deck design is an extremely extended
version of the Roe Crossfire shape. Wicked
responsive flex. There's times I've felt I was simply floating.
A long thin wood stringer runs the length of
the deck, adding flex and strength to the foam core. Carbon fiber
on the base for strength and flex. Unpainted foam edges give it
a surfboard look.
For now, her name is "Pinky" and she's
a Foamcore, one-off custom version of the Roe Mermaid.
Built by Bryan Blythe of NC ("dustm"
on Silverfish) he sent up all 42 ounces of her last week via Priority
Insured mail, in a neatly folded up cardboard box. From Bryan's
creative and smart use of packaging I thought me might have grown
up in a Japanese household making origami cranes all his life!
After getting over the WOW factor of the lightness
of the deck, I placed the deck on top of some books at either
end, to stand on it and get a feel for the flex.
I decided on the 2nd to max wheelbase, thinking
that maybe there was a little too much flex going max, and also
not wanting to prematurely explode this deck by pushing the limit
too far on the first time out. Prototype foamcores can be a tricky
thing to build just right, especially when you're getting out
to 30" wheelbases.
First off -- NO problems whatsoever on the durability!
My first test run was a big one. After going up and down my local
street a few times, and getting the trucks dialed, I figured might
as well jump in the deep end and take her for a real spin. So
on one of our remaining Sunny Seattle afternoons, we got out on
the trail behind my house and shot to Redmond, a 30-miler there
After a couple miles, I realized I probably could
have gone with the max wheelbase after all, being used to the
bigger strides and a little more flex from my carbon+birch Mermaid.
But I just decided to keep going and enjoy the snappier, shorter
pumps and get tuned into the "technical" feel of a carbon
+ foam flex. It definitely felt strong enough for up to 200 lbs,
on the innermost wheelbases. And the lightness was obvious, especially
after 10 miles+ and on inclines.
Just before the destination of Redmond, a huge
line of women came streaming onto the trail, and it looked like
it wasn't going to stop anyime soon. And by sheer coincidence,
they all happened to be wearing a ton of PINK!! Apparently I had
just invaded a 60-mile Breast Cancer walk, and some of them were
cheering me on as I slalomed mostly on their left (for the ones
still paying attention to trail ettiquette) and sometimes had
to slice and wend my way between them, getting some cheers along
the way -- a few of them shouting "GO PINK!" :-D
At the 15-mile turnaround point I stopped to
take a breather and stood the board up on end, pointing toward
the trail so all the cancer walkers streaming by could see the
shiny fiberglass and carbon underside with Pink Gumballs. It felt
like a really good omen, a perfect christening for the board's
first test here. I took note of my feet and legs condition, and
overall fatigue. Just as important to gauge this after an hour
or so of straight pumping, though very difficult to quantify.
But I was "feeling it" a bit more, possibly from a little
bit more vibration, but maybe because I wasn't getting as much
spring out of this board as my birch. Bryan had already noted
that he thought it might use a touch more camber, and I have to
agree a bit on that point. It could improve the 'pop' just a bit,
and that adds up as you rack up the distance.
Overall I felt that the shape was just right
for the feet -- and I was able to get some good snap out of the
deck on the smooth, straight stretches, and power up the hills
well because of the light weight. The lightness helped for the
ride back home.
Personally, the concave WORKS -- the fact that
it's just a tad bit more than mellow, is probably one good reason
why Bryan's been able to build a wheelbase this long and still
retain it's strength -- concave running from end to end adds a
significant amount of this.
The next day, still feeling pretty beat at the
usual sunrise ride time, I decided on an afternoon outing instead.
And it all came together -- Sheldon called, I called Rain, and
texted Beth. We had a crew amped for Greenlake! This time I bumped
out to the max wheelbase, and instantly dug the feel more. So
I rode Pinky for the first 2 laps, then finally back to my Mermaid
+ BlackOps to finish out the day.
I'm inspired to test with LDP foamcores again,
maybe becoming an apprentice boardbuilder of Gareth's on the weekends,
if he can ever afford that kind of time. We kicked about this
idea, making the Torsion Core LDP some years back, but it would
take a lot more long distance testing to get it just right. Vibration
dampening, and durability over the long hauls (and through really
hot temps) are just a couple more things to think about.
Bryan's work is truly great, and this is just
one of the first few experimentals he's built -- amazed how well
it rides, and is holding up. All around the seal of the edges
look solid, and the foam shaping on the bottom is nicely thought
out, leaving thin edges that act as wheelwells front and rear.
Now I plan to send this off to another distance brother for testing!
Thank you for the opportunity to check this out
It had to be done. Just looking at the angles
of the nose and tail on the Landyachtz EVO, then the wedging of
the Seismic Stik, it seemed to lend itself perfectly to a little
experiment in a bigger version of the homemade stik pumper setup.
What works: The feel of the Evo deck,
to start with. How both feet can be cradled in the front and back
and feel locked in.
Also, drop decks are far more efficient for pushing,
and I've been trying for a dropped pumping deck that would make
those impossible to pump hills a lot easier to fly over.
The SpeedVents - YUM YUM. Very good grip and
The cut-out hand-hold was just icing on the cake.
This is a Good Karma board from Mark, the guy that makes G-bomb
longboards, and he cut that, as well as affixing urethane strips
along the bottom for occasional high-centering. Well, I busted
one of the strips off on a ride so decided to sand the whole thing
down and repaint jet black.
Whats needed: It could definately use
a stiffer back spring, I sold all my reds and greens. I like the
springless Seismic in front, but it wouldn't be practical for
speeds past 15mph, and since this deck is so stiff, there isn't
as much pump return as with the smaller schlongboard / seismic
stik. It's fun to tool around on and always amazes people that
they can keep it moving on flats -- but after the novelty wears,
and there's 11 more miles to go, it really needs some more return
Will there ever be silver Seismic springs again?
That would be the perfect compromise...
Feast your eyes on the Seismic Stik -
bastard child of the CarveStik.
It's the ultimate way to save that flippy board
from the fireplace.
I don't know if Gesmer would approve of my running
the trucks without springs (an idea borrowed from Dave Forsythe
this summer), there might be kingpin breaking issues, and there's
definately speed wobble issues! -- but this thing carves like
you wouldn't believe. Turns any parking lot into a little beachfront
property with perfect waves...
45 deg Seismic 105mm
Flat + angle riser
30 deg Seismic 105mm
Quiver Development, April 2008
It's pretty silly how many decks I have at the
moment that aren't set up, but the fact is currently I spend most
of my time on about six boards total. I'll only be selling a few
of these in the near future (a redundant LY Evo, a chopped down
slalom board from a Loaded Vanguard, and a LBL Walkabout proto)
other than that it's hard to let any go because of "future
Missing from the pic: the yellow rollsrolls,
and the gravity spoonnose on loan. Probably missing some other
decks too that I loaned out and forgot about. :-D
Also notable, the Cambiar, in dead center against
the wall with the cool bracket-like trucks, is a tester board
from Mark Groenenboom, who invented the trucks. Been riding that
one off and on the commutes, and Gareth is testing another G-bomb
setup using a chopped down Roe blank for the deck. Great stuff!
Quiver Development, circa 2002
2 Carve Boards, 7-ply and 8-ply, Tierney T-board
with Indy rubber wheels, Sector9 flexy deck with kicktail, Flexdex
28" Classic, a homemade Birch cut-out purely for experimenting,
Seattle's Faction kicky flipper deck, Heelside 155 Snowboard,
Subsonic (then Curve) Drop-deck with 101 Flywheels, one of my
first snowboards -- a Sims 165 Freestyle from 1989 with Exkate
trucks and Green Kryptonic wheels, and finally a garage-built
balance board somewhat like the Indo board.
My head was heavily into downhill carving at
the time, though the best pumping deck out of this group was the
Sector9, then the Sims Snowboard. That big platform on the Sims
was crazy, pretty easy to get out too far on the tail or nose
and pearl it into the asphalt! The pic below it is me (with hair)
on the same Sims, out at Mt. Hood around 1991.