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FEATURED LDP BOARD

The Pulse V3

 

Pumping Setups

L: LBL Walkabout

M: RoeRacing Mermaid

R: Subsonic Pulse

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 of FLEX.

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 more.)
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 grooves.

-jp

Long Distance Pumping

===========

2006 prototypes:

RoeRacing Mermaid LDP

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 deck.

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 all:

"Looks like a chinchilla-lined waterbed for the rear foot to complement the pure-silk rotating circular bed for the front foot"

:-D

 

The Pulse Rev 2.0

With camber and a little more concave ... currently under test!

Riding impressions on the LDP Forum here

The Subsonic PULSE. On the subsonic site now!

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.

www.subsonicskateboards.com

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.

The Subsonic LDP in action...

 

LDP Walkabout from Longboard Larry

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 turns.

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 it dialed.

 

The LBL Walkabout in action...

John Stryker putting the LBL Walkabout through 6-foot cyber course!

 

 

The CAMBIAR (modified pump edition)

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:

http://pavedwave.myfastforum.org/ftopic36-10.php

Here's Eric in action...


Shorter, thinner, lighter, lower CG, and FASTER!

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 all!

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 waterfront.

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 growing niche.

Much energy has gone into these boards -- and waiting to be unleashed on the trail!!

Specs:
Length: 37.75"
Width: 9.75"
Low Camber
Wheelbase: 28.5 and 29.5

Flex:
Med (under 160 lbs)
Stiff (160+ lbs)

www.roeslalom.com - PS LDP

Split-Fire trucks: www.asphaltplayground.com

Retro Urethane Wheels: www.abec11.com

 

 

The Landyachtz Evo-Bennett Pumper

A perfect hybrid pushing / pumping setup like this has been elusive, but the Evo-Bennett combo is working pretty sweet.

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 Indy rear
- 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 dedicated setup.

The UnLoaded

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 extra stiff.

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 "Reloaded" :-)

http://www.longboardz.de/cms/forum/showthread.php?t=3963

 

SETTING UP

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 Bennett Truks -- 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 asphaltplayground.com's SplitFire 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.

The Carver CX 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 anyway.

For a relatively inexpensive, back-to-basics setup I would use a reverse kingpin truck, such as a Randal 150 or a Gullwing Cruiser 60. 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.

On any truck, I basically stick with Khiro barrel bushings, usually a barrel on both the top and bottom.

Then, there's RISERS.

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 (SpeedVents)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 setups.

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!

As far as hardware goes these days, I rarely buy anything shorter than 1-1/2" up to 3", just get a collection of bolts in all lengths and you'll never be stuck with a truck-less deck!

 

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 trail conditions

- Lime/Lemon BigZigs - amazing rebound, best on good-to-excellent trail conditions

 

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 CXs!!)

www.roeslalom.com

 

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.

www.roeslalom.com

 

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.

www.libskates.com

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 boards.

 

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 board.

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...

www.flexdex.com

(Experimental / Proto) - RoeRacing 43" Foam Torsion Core

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.

LDP PINKY!

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 and back.

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 Bryan!

-james

 

 

Surf Session Pumping Seismic Stiks

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 roll speed.

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 to center.

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...

Front

45 deg Seismic 105mm

No springs!

Flat + angle riser

62mm Cambrias

Back

30 deg Seismic 105mm

Yellow springs

No riser

 

 

 

 

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 possibilities"

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.