After the red plastic skateboard, I “graduated” to what was commonly known as a Turbo Two. These were larger, wider boards in the contemporary style, but cheap Far East versions. It was another step up, but I soon learned that the board wasn’t going to last long.
My next skateboard was a slight step up again – a Variflex Joker. This was a complete board sold with higher grade components. Aluminium trucks, polyurethane wheels and the deck itself had a much nicer shape and feel.
The graphics were also a really good job and very much in the style of the time. A skull wearing a jester’s hat, with a playing card design. Not exactly Powell Peralta but still very cool. It actually looked like someone at Variflex had taken a sneak peak at VCJ’s sketchbook and stolen the idea. Powell must have been mad.
However Variflex were not in the best shape in the late 80’s – they’d fallen to being a purveyor of intro level complete boards and were not in the same league as Powell, Santa Cruz or Vision. A nice board for a starter, the Joker would also be superseded by a higher quality deck.
I kept the trucks and wheels though for a while, and put them on my next set up. This was a Zorlac deck which I rode for a while with the Variflex under carriage, until I was able to afford Indy’s and Santa Cruz wheels.
I don’t remember what happened to my original Variflex Joker. Around 2006 I found a website selling new Variflex skateboards – apparently old stock rather than re-issues – and picked this sample up for a very reasonable price. It was in perfect condition and came complete with all the plastics, everything. I’ve only ever ridden it a couple of times as this skateboard is really just a memento. It’s a great item to have in my Skateboard Museum.
- Length: 30.5″
- Width: 10.25″
- Wheelbase: 15.75″
- Wooden deck with concave and kicktail (complete with griptape)
- Metal Variflex trucks
- Variflex Street Rage II wheels (polyurethane, estimated 90a)
- Plastic rails, nose saver, tail saver, copers and lapper
Purchased from Skate Pool
Soundtrack: Metallica, Anthrax, The Stupids
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yes, I had this board, I also had a solid plastic/nylon red one before the joker..This picture brings back so many memories. Cheers for sharing.
You’re welcome, Paul! There are also some more (and slightly better) photos of this skateboard on another on another post.
Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
Other then that, wonderful blog!