Sze's experiences with the No Rip Grip were not good. He had trouble putting it on his deck, trouble cutting it around the edges, and trouble with it staying stuck to his deck. Now, Sze knows full well how to grip a skateboard deck, so his technique wasn't to blame. Still, though, his experience got me interested in why the No Rip Grip was so difficult to install and whether or not it even worked.
No Rip Grip looks like really rubbery asphalt, like the kind of material you'd find on outdoor ball courts in Manhattan.
|No Rip Grip. Just like the track around the ball court at Asphalt Green.|
So, I received a sheet of the No Rip Grip in the mail today.
|No Rip Grip.|
|No Rip Grip. The bends smooth out quickly after I unfold the sheet.|
|No Rip Grip. About to be installed on a Santa Cruz 8.2 Sid Melvin Gone Fishin' deck.|
|No Rip Grip. Sticks to deck fine.|
|No Rip Grip. I recommend a "cut from below" razoring technique.|
|No Rip Grip. Smooth edges after razoring.|
|No Rip Grip. I got the remains off in one piece.|
|No Rip Grip. My front indicator bolt started to disappear as the No Rip Grip oozed over it.|
I was not too surprised to find that the No Rip Grip allows for normal skating. Everything is a lot quieter, but it feels otherwise normal. I can ollie, nollie, kickflip, shuv it, whatever. I can Chubby Checker (twist, ya'll) my feet into position just like with normal grip. For the most part, No Rip Grip just feels like normal grip tape. Tricks that involve sliding the feet, like flip tricks, were easier, because the grip was just the right amount of grippiness. The pop of the deck was consistent with NHS decks, so there were no losses there. I landed one kick flip on the dark side and the board did not slide out from under me like with normal grip, it just stuck there and prevented me from doing the unexpected splits. My hips thanked me for that. I made sure to do a lot of flip tricks, because those are the tricks that tear up shoes. I left white streaks on the No Rip Grip, but my shoes were still doing very well. With the No Rip Grip, it would be difficult to even approach the rate of wear at which normal grip tape tears through shoes. I like the way the No Rip Grip skates for street skating and technical flatland skating. I do not feel that No Rip Grip is grippy enough for my ramp/bowl board, though. I usually skate Bullet or Madrid Fly Paper on my ramp/bowl board, otherwise my feet creep out toward the ends of the board as I'm pumping. However, ramp and vert skating are not that tough on shoes, so the No Rip Grip isn't even really necessary there.
My final assessment of the No Rip Grip is that it is an attractive alternative to normal grip tape for street skating and technical skating. In using it, I find that No Rip Grip presents a strong business case: all the features of normal grip + some beneficial extra features (quieter, easier flick, longer lasting, dark side landings aren't as iffy) + significantly less wear on shoes, pants, fingers, calves, and shins. The only challenge is actually installing the No Rip Grip onto the board - it requires advanced techniques to get it right. If No Rip Grip takes off as a product, skate shops may need to do some additional training on how to install it correctly. If you're a skate shop in the DC/Baltimore area, write to me and I'll be happy to come by and teach you how to install the No Rip Grip.
Lastly, I think the primary customers of this No Rip Grip would be parents of skaters.
PARENTS, LISTEN UP: demand No Rip Grip on your child's skateboard - they'll skate like a champ and won't go through a pair of shoes every 2 weeks. At $15, you'll spend 3 times the amount for the grip tape, but how much are shoes again? Exactly.