A lot of you older skaters out there have injury tales of your own. Let's hear them in the comments, if you're not afraid you'll jinx yourself.
What to do during my convalescence? I was cruising around on my Creature vampire stake cruiser, but I was uneasy with the quickness of it, with a weak, healing arm and all. I thought to myself, "fuck it!" about ultra-hard wheels of today, and got a set of 50mm Pig Multi-Pig 95a wheels. Ahhhh, there's the not-too-soft, not-too-hard durometer I preferred in my youth. Nice. I mounted the Pig 95a wheels on my "trick" board, currently an 8.75" Toy Machine Sect Eye with Thunder 149 Hollow Lights. I then used that board to get the mail every day. I have a long driveway. When I skated back up the driveway, I would pop an ollie, then put the board back. Fun, but hardly enough to feed the skate addiction. Time for something else.
I put together a longboard with the mindset of big carving and medium to high speeds. I still wanted concave, I still wanted a nose and tail, and I still wanted to be able to pop an ollie if I wanted. In the end, I assembled a Gravity Carve 39" with Paris 150mm trucks, 70mm 85a Pig Supercruiser II wheels (used from an Amazon seller in Missouri), and a set of Pig Swiss bearings I had lying around. Some risers to give the fat wheels some room, and a bushing pack of Venom bushings to "tune" the board to my liking. This setup is, according to 3 independent longboarding skateshops and the longboarders on my facebook page, a "sick setup!" Apparently, I chose well.
|On the left, my Toy Machine mainstay deck (Thunder 149 Hollow Lights, 50mm Pig 95a). On the right, my Gravity Carve 39" longboard (Paris 150 trucks, 70mm Pig 85a)|
been skating, so I wasn't afraid of speed wobbles or of carving and sliding to shed speed. I even know how to roll towards the grass and bail. What I was afraid of was busting up my body more, so I ride helmeted, elbow padded, gloved, and knee protected (not knee pads, but knee crash guards for mountain biking - more comfortable and better protection during rolling/ragdoll falls). Really, the only difference is that I've added knee guards and gloves to my normal setup. I once again wish to reiterate that I will not be riding without elbow pads again. Helmet and elbow pads, every time. I'm just too damn old and have too much to lose.
So, anyway, I have been riding the longboard every day for 5 days so far. It it is a smooth, responsive, very fast skateboard. I have a lot of confidence on rough surfaces. I can confidently go very fast down hills. Carving is slower and wider than a skateboard, but still a lovely dreamy experience. Pushing is fun because the wheels carry the momentum and the deck has a lot of healthy flex that I find helps me keep my balance better on the board. The longboard kind of feels like a lifted pickup truck. I am learning how to use it more and more each day. The Pig wheels don't like to slide much, but I don't think they're done heat cycling yet. We'll see. I did pop an ollie with it: soft city, lots of flex. But still fun.
Lesson 1 learned so far: older skaters need more protection than younger skaters. Seriously. There's nothing hardcore or cool about not being able to brush your teeth or touch your face with one of your hands anymore. It fucking sucks big time. I got some Destroyer elbow pads in the red, white, and blue colorway, and I love them. Lesson 2: longboards are fun. Different, but fun.
Like any other skater healing from a nasty slam, I've also been watching skate videos and reading industry news. Powell-Peralta was kind enough to give us all a digital copy of Animal Chin for free. They're promoting the Bones Brigade Biography film or something like that. Watching Animal Chin, I was reminded of how skating is supposed to be fun. Other skaters thought so, too, and one skater pointed out this tidy article about modern skating and the longboard/cruiser trend going on right now. I've also been watching this fellow get artistic with freestyle, streetstyle, and freshstreet styles. His skating is fresh, innovative, and not held down by the "no hands" rule instituted in 1991 and enforced by youngsters everywhere even today. Watching Kilian skate is satisfying and refreshing. And, of course, I want me a pair of Vision Street Wear high tops like he's wearing in some of his videos. Do you think VSW makes 'em with synthetic upper?
Watching these skate videos and riding this longboard got me thinking that I need to make sure I'm having fun on my skateboards. Of course. It also got me thinking about the state of skating today and the skateboard equipment manufacturers.Truck grinding, big stair sets, boardsliding, and flip tricks all wear out skateboard equipment at a rapid pace. Truck grinds help the bottom line; truck grinds increase revenue by decreasing service life of the product. Any truck ad that shows a skater doing long grinds encourages skaters to wear out and buy trucks more often. The skateboard wheels are so hard nowadays that they don't last long at all. The decks - oh, the cheap decks that are out there - the decks suffer the most. Some decks are like balsa wood they're so dry and brittle. They snap easily if you're not perfectly bolts on all landings. If somebody snapped a Powell Peralta board in the 1980s, Powell Peralta would have a crisis on its hands. If it happens now, Powell-Peralta sales go up. Strange. With people buying more and more cruiser boards, how will the manufacturers keep sales up? Easy: "quiver" pictures are all over the internet. Right now, they're mostly longboards. But skateboards are making their way into the pictures more and more. And Kilian Martin uses multiple boards when he skates his decidedly-equipment-friendly style of skating, too. But whence the paranoid conspiracy theory? Bah, these painkillers got me thinking crooked. Skate or Die, fools.