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Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: 1031 Decks

I skated 4 different 1031 decks over the last year. 1031 decks are manufactured by Beer City Skateboards in Milwaukee. 1031 Skates is Kristian Svitak's company. Overall, the 1031 decks vary a lot from board shape to board shape.

1031 Creepy Crawly, 8.75" x 33.5" with a 15.5" wheelbase
The Creepy Crawly was a big, very big board. The tail angle was very shallow with lots of flat area between the rear bolts and the start of the tail bend, and the concave in general was pretty mellow. The nose was steep, though. The board was extremely strong wood. It had a little bit of flex to it in just the right places. The deck was stiff and responsive, even with the shallow tail. It took a few weeks to get accustomed to the size and weight of the board. It was heavy, long, and wide.The nose felt substantially heavier than the tail. The pop was average, but never got soggy. I rode the Creepy Crawly mostly in bowls and skateparks. The coping scoured most of the graphics off the bottom of the deck where I did slides, as you can see in the picture. Because of the shallow tail, I rocked 1/8" risers under my 5.85" Theeves and 56-57 mm wheels. Then the board started feeling right
on ollies and such. Plus, with all the crete park work this deck saw, small wheels just weren't cutting it. At first I rode the 55mm Spitfire Big Heads, but they coned quickly and lost all rebound after only a week of crete work. Then I rode the 56mm Spitfire Repeaters; these were better but were once again wearing extremely quickly. I rode Darkstar 54mm softcore wheels; these were nice but a little unresponsive and didn't like to slide on crete or asphalt or anything, really. Finally, I mounted some Satori Movement 98a Linked Logo wheels. These were the winners: a true all-terrain wheel that handled asphalt, sidewalks, dusty masonite ramps, metal obstacles, skatepark concrete, and even brief forays across dirt and grass. (I've actually been hooked on Satori wheels ever since.) After 8 months of intense street skating mostly involving ledge work, this board lasted 4 months of park abuse, after which I was so used to the size I was actually landing flip tricks and other technical tricks. I finally retired it and passed it on to someone else.

1031 American Nightmare, 8.5" x 32.5" with a 14.5" wheelbase
After a year of riding the Creepy Crawly, I thought all 1031 decks would be like that one: mellow, strong, good pop, long-lived. Sadly, it wasn't so. The American Nightmare, first off, measured 8.3" across, even when I was being generous and going all the way to the very edge of the deck round. Most manufacturers would have called it an 8.25". My 5.85" Theeves looked clownishly large on this deck. I mounted some 5.5" Theeves and they fit a little better.  The American Nightmare deck was a bit of a disappointment. It was really flexy, felt heavy and unresponsive even after coming from a much larger deck, and had extremely steep nose and tail angles. The truck holes weren't drilled accurately, you can kind of see it in the photo that they were a little off center in the back and a little crooked in the front. I didn't notice it much when I skated because I ride my trucks kind of loose, and the Theeves impart a lot of stability even if the deck doesn't. The deck had really good pop, but that was mostly a factor of the steep tail, because the pop was unpredictable. I skated this deck for about a week, and had barely used it at all when I passed it on to someone else.

1031 Let The Day Begin, 8.75" x 33", 14.5" wheelbase
Not wanting to give up on 1031 just yet, I went big again and got the Let The Day Begin deck. The graphics were really sweet: bats are cool in my book because they eat tons and tons of stinging, biting insects. Thanks, guys! I say that because I really wanted to like this deck. No matter how old you get, graphics still mean something to you. The size was nominally the same as the wonderful Creepy Crawly deck, but the performance was more like the American Nightmare deck. The rear truck holes were drilled such that the rearmost truck holes were on the curve of the tail - yikes! This made for a really squirrely ollie and really limp turns on the rear truck. The front truck holes seemed okay. The board was actually 32.5" long, once again, being generous and measuring to the outermost part of the round. It was a true 8.75" wide, meaning my 5.85 Theeves fit nicely on it. I started off with 56mm wheels and with the funny rear truck holes making things all squirrely and unpredictable I quickly dropped to 52mm Satori Eclipse wheels. (Again, awesome wheels, best I've ridden.) You can easily see in the photo how far back the rear truck was mounted: well on the curve. If you go to the big photo,you can see how the rearmost part of the truck didn't even touch the deck at the mounting holes. You can also see that I barely rode the board at all. Pretty board, but unrideable. Off it went to the scrap pile.

1031 Autumn, 8.0" x 32", 14" wheelbase

Okay, last try for 1031 decks. We had a sudden cold snap in April 2011, so I went back to narrow boards. My old knees don't have as much range of motion in the cold weather, so I like smaller, lower boards when it's cold out. The 5.25 Theeves don't feel right to me, so I put some trusty 5.2 Ventures and some 50mm Satori Rice Crest wheels on this Autumn deck and went skating.
I liked it. Thank goodness. I skated mostly flatland with it - the cold weather shut down the skateparks. The intactness of the graphics make it look like I barely used it, but that wasn't at all the case. I skated it for 6 weeks solid, doing almost exclusively flatland with an occasional boardslide on my 8' long grind rail. Couple of noseslides and tailslides, too. The graphics on the 1031 decks are actually pretty tough. The Creepy Crawly back at the beginning of this post was well shredded, but that was after 4 months of mostly crete park skating. Most boards wouldn't have any graphics left on the tail, midsection, or nose after that much concrete abuse. This Autumn deck was the perfect shape for flatland and street skating. It had lots of pop and was very responsive. The nose was steeper and longer than the tail, but not by so much that it felt awkward after varials. The tail had a nice, mellow curve, a lot like the Creepy Crawly deck. The concave was pretty steep, as you can see in the picture, and that made the board stiff, responsive, and super grippy. I skated this board until all vestiges of pop were gone from the tail. The nose still had a little bit of pop left when I was done with it. 6 weeks of heavy landing from my 220 pound frame, flipping and flexing and turning and spinning. Through it all, the 1031 Autumn deck was an absolute champ.
Autumn deck when I first assembled it.

So, 4 total 1031 decks. Two duds, two champs. My advice about 1031 decks is to thoroughly inspect them at the skate shop prior to buying them. All mine were mail-order, and since I'm doing reviews with them I didn't think it fair to keep returning the decks until they sent me a flawless one. I skated what they sent. When I liked the deck, I really, really liked it. When I didn't like the deck, it was for very good reasons that have a lot to do with quality control.

All in all, I liked the 1031 decks enough to buy one more for myself. (Since this one was for my personal collection, I would have returned it if it was flawed in any way. It wasn't!) I got a Smash It Up deck, 9" x 33" with early 90's shape and modern concave. In this picture I'm rocking 9" Destructos, 53mm Satori 101a wheels, and some sweet Rockin Ron's bearings. Nowadays, though, I've mounted my Theeve 5.85 TiKINGs on this deck with some 56mm Kontrol wheels. Perfect bowl/vert board!


  1. Yeah! The Creepy Crawly 8.75" was one of the best decks I've ever skated. When it came time to replace it, I was so disappointed with the poor quality of the Let the Day Begin 8.75". Tell me I can get another 8.75" 1031 that was as good as my Creepy Crawly, and I'll definitely buy another one. Right now, I'm skating the Toy Machine Sect Eye 8.75", and it is almost as good as the Creepy Crawly was.