Santa Cruz Snowskate

Well we’ve not had any snow round these parts (so far).  And the Winter Olympics are over.  So my timing with this post is pretty off.  Never the less, I thought I’d share this item from my board collection with you.

This here board is a Santa Cruz snowskate.  Slightly bigger than a typical double kick skateboard, the snowskate is made of solid, tough plastic.  It’s designed to be ridden in the snow like you would a skateboard – ideally on the sort of urban obstacles (rails, walls etc) that you would ordinarily skate in the summer. IMG_2763

Where there would be grip tape on the top of a wooden skate deck, this board has a rubber surface.  It’s slightly spongy to provide grip, and nicely waterproof.  You wouldn’t want your grip tape getting all messy now, would you?  This makes much more sense.  Underneath the plastic is ridged, to help provide some control and a better riding surface.

Control is certainly crucial here – remember, unlike a snowboard, there are no bindings to keep your feet strapped in and attached.  Instead, you ride the snowskate exactly like a skateboard.  This requires balance, self confidence and fair old bit of craziness.  The result is a fun board that can easily be carted around the hills or local spots when the snow falls.

I’ve had some cool times riding this snowskate – the best thing about it is that it feels slightly different from both skateboarding and snowboarding – so you’re learning a new skill.  That said, the snowskate is similar enough to both disciplines to mean that fans of either will appreciate it.  Personally I’ve not mastered any tricks on this board, though I can ride it pretty well.  The problem is the snow usually disappears too quick around here…

A snowskate is worth picking up for those days when you’re snowed in and the local park is calling.  It makes a nice change from a sledge.  All I need now is some snow.

Admittedly, this isn’t a skateboard as such – though I’m publishing this in the skateboard section of the Virtual Hot tub anyway.  There’s enough common ground here for me to get away with that.  Don’t like it?  Write your own blog.

Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 35.5″
  • Width (widest): 92
  • Width (slimmest): 8.5″

Soundtrack: some frozen Scandinavian metal, like Kvelertak.

Check out Santa Cruz snowskates here.  Nowadays they’re being made with some cool graphics, if that helps convince you.  I like the sugar skull best!

Mindless Skateboards: “Hunter” Longboard

The skate shop in Chester closed down recently.  Bad news.  They had some pretty cool stuff.  As chance would have it, I turned up on the very last day, and managed to pick up a couple of bargains.

The big bargain of the day was this Mindless Skateboards Hunter model, which I picked up for under half price.  I had been hoping to pick up a new longboard for the collection for a while, and it had been my birthday not too long before – so I actually had a bit of cash to spend.  This board was perfect.

Mindless "Hunter" longboard

Mindless “Hunter” longboard

The Hunter is the ideal shape that I was looking for, pin tail (with a nice concave) so it offered a different ride to my other longboards.  At 44 inches long, it’s a little shorter than my Sector 9 board.  It’s solid but not too heavy, with a very stylish striped graphic that is reflected on the grip tape cut away.

Soft (80A) wheels provide a slick yet comfortable ride – ideal for cruising.  I’ve taken this longboard out and found that it glides very nicely and was easy to get used to.  With winter well on it’s way, further rides will probably have to wait a while – which is not a good thing!  Come spring, this board will be excellent to carve the local area.

The only down side with this board is that, as a complete, the deck comes ready shrink wrapped.  Great for keeping the graphic in nice condition, but annoying when trying to remove the deck from it’s plastic prison.

As my Sector 9 board had been around for a while, this Mindless longboard has made a fine addition.  Not exactly a replacement, but it will fare well as my day to day standard board.  The price was excellent for a man on a budget (like me) without compromising on quality.  Overall, I’m very impressed.IMG_2576

Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 44″
  • Width: 9 “
  • 100% Canadian maple deck with concave, complete with di-cut grip tape
  • 6″ Six Star Raw trucks
  • 95A SHR cushion & 14 x 8mm rubber wedge riser
  • 70 x 42mm 80A SHR wheels
  • ABEC-5 chrome bearings

Soundtrack: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath

IMG_2574

My First Skateboard

Sometime in the early 80’s (1980 or ’81, I believe) my Gran informed me that she had picked up a present for me.  Gran sometimes did that, finding bargains at charity shops and jumble sales for me.  These items usually turned out be toys and games that were great fun.  This time, my present turned out be something different: a skateboard.

It was a small red plastic skateboard that she had found at some local kids garage sale, and bought for a few pence.  At that time my only concept of a skateboard was of a craze that had peaked a few years ago when I was younger.  Kids didn’t ride skateboards anymore and the thought of actually trying to ride it didn’t appeal to me.  So the skateboard was left in the garage for years and never used.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red plastic skateboard. Amateurish camera strap in view.

Fast forward a few years and I saw the film “Back to the Future”.  This is something of a cliche now, but suddenly my eyes were opened to the possibility of what I could do with that old plastic board.  Out of the blue skateboards had become “cool”.  The toy in the garage that bemused me previously now had serious potential.  That looked like fun.

Our driveway at the time was about twenty feet long and fairly steep.  I decided that I would dig the skateboard out of the garage junk and ride it down the drive.  Placing the board at the top of the drive, I held it in place with my front foot.  Then carefully lifted my back foot off the ground, placed it on the board and started rolling.  I rolled about three feet, lost my balance and fell.  Grazes to right hand and that was it.  No more skateboard.

The board went back in the garage junk pile, there to stay forever more.

But it played on my mind.  Over the next week or so, I could remember the few seconds of riding the board successfully.  And I could imagine what it would be like to ride it again.  I could see in my mind’s eye what it would be like, and what I would have to do to stay on.  I liked that feeling.  My imagination was sparked.  What if I made it to the bottom of the drive?  Wouldn’t that feel great?

So I tried again.  Skateboard at the top of the drive, facing downhill.  One foot on, then the other.  Rolling.  Keeping my balance this time, like I had in my mind’s eye.  And I made it.  I rode the board to the bottom of the drive.

When I reached the bottom I felt great.  I felt a feeling of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt before.  This was to be the beginning of an amazing relationship.

I then began to learn to ride the board, down the drive, along the street.  I learned to turn, left and right, and keep rolling.  Big sweeping turns and short, quick turns, leaning to each side.

At the time I was unaware of (then modern) skateboarding tricks so learnt from old 1970’s books.  I practised over and over, doing the same moves and fine tuning them.  Kick turns left and right, round corners – over and over again.  Hour after hour, learning and perfecting just very basic techniques.

That’s over twenty five years ago now.  I’ve had many skateboards since then, of different sizes, shapes and styles.  Learnt new tricks.  Travelled to new spots.  Met great people, some of whom I’m still friends with.  Some aren’t with us anymore.

I still have the small, red plastic skateboard that I learnt to ride.  It’s faded and looks a bit worse for wear now.  It only cost a few pence and was eventually superseded by larger, better quality boards.  But of all the skateboards I’ve ever owned, it’s probably the most important.

Thanks, Gran.

 

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Length: 22.5″
  • Width: 5.75″
  • Wheelbase: 12″
  • Plastic deck, flat with no concave.  Minimal kicktail.
  • Metal trucks.
  • Wheels: Unknown – hard – not polyurethane.

Soundtrack: Huey Lewis & the News.