Subskate Summer Fun!

Are you going on a summer holiday? Maybe a nice Mediterranean place, with lots of sun? Can’t take your skateboard with you? Or if you could, will the pavements be cracked and broken? No skatepark, no surf, but still want to enjoy your board riding fun? Then the subskate could be just the thing for you!

There are many boards in my garage: skateboards old and new, longboards, a snowboard, a mountain board, etc etc. Some years ago whilst on holiday in Greece, I encountered someone with one of these subskate contraptions in the hotel swimming pool, and I had to get my own to add to the collection.

All it is, essentially, is a float – like a buoyancy aid for learning to swim – shaped like a skateboard. Unlike a surfboard (or wakeboard, or windsurf board, for that matter), the rider stands on the subskate which is submerged under the water. There, the “subskater” floats around with their upper body out of the water, and the lower body floating on the subskate in the water. Crazy! Whatever will they think of next??!

See the photos for info. I used a fancy underwater camera for these pics, no expense spared.

Of course, there’s not much to do in the water, just float around. You could try some 360 turns, which I did well at. Shuvits weren’t really happening, though. Everything moves real slow under the water, but the board just wants to escape to the surface!

Where the subskate could prove to be more fun, however, is jumping into the pool using a caveman style trick. This could actually be helpful learning those caveman variations. To be honest though, it got old pretty quick jumping in and constantly getting water up my nose. Or ears. Maybe if you had a crew of similarly kamikaze friends to try this with, it could be more fun…

To be fair, I quite enjoyed the relaxing feeling of floating around in the water. My first caveman into the pool was a good laugh, too. And slow motion ollie practice might have actually been worthwhile! I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if a subskate is worth the valuable luggage space to take on holiday, though. Maybe have a week off with a beer at the bar instead?

Does a subskate look like fun to you? Or am I just a grommet who can’t resist splurging money on skate related nonsense? Leave a comment and let me know.

The Best of 2016

Well we’re now a couple of weeks deep into 2017 – how’s it going for you?  Well, I hope.

2017 at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub promises to bring you more of the great features you love, plus (hopefully) more in the year ahead.  But before I get all carried away and storm straight into new adventures, let’s take a moment to reflect.

Last year was a hell of a crazy ride.  But what Virtual Hot Tub blogs got you steaming hot?  Let’s take a look at the top ten most popular posts in 2016, in reverse order…

10. Skateboard Museum: Variflex Joker

The tenth most popular post in 2016 was this golden oldie from 2013, featuring one of my old 1980’s skateboards.  Skate nostalgia is obviously popular stuff, with internet searches keeping this article in view.

9. Wales Comic Con Strikes Back – Part 2

Up next was the second part of my report from Wales Comic Con in Wrexham from May, with loads of cool cosplay photos.

8. Tragedy – Gig Review

In March 2016 I went to see Heavy Metal Bee Gees tribute act Tragedy, at the Live Rooms in Chester.  It was pretty popular read (even the band liked it).

7. Sci-Fi Weekender 2015 – The Director’s Cut

Back in February 2016, I posted some photos I had left over from the previous Sci-Fi Weekender in March 2015.  Again, loads of interesting cosplay pics – plus a bit of comedy.  This was a warm up for the 2016 event.

6. Santa Cruz Snowskate

The next most read post was this blog about my snowskate, made by Santa Cruz skateboards, originally posted in winter 2014.  Internet searches kept this this one popular again this year.

5. Food Quest: To Koutouki, Chester

This write up of the excellent Greek taverna in Chester, posted in May 2016, has been very popular.  The most read food post all year by far, I hope it helps bring them some business, because they deserve it!

4. Wales Comic Con Strikes Back – Part 1

The first part of my report from Wrexham Comic Con was far more popular than the first, which came in at number 10 (above).  I don’t know why this part was better received, as it features the same style of cosplay pics.  Perhaps it was the pic of yours truly as Tony Stark that did it…?

3. Santa Cruz Street Creep

Another skateboard blog, this July piece featured text and photos of another 1980’s classic, in this case my Santa Cruz Street Creep reissue.  Rad.

2. Sci-Fi Weekender 2016 – Part 1

The second most read article on my blog in 2016 was the first part of my report from Sci-Fi Weekender.  The cosplay pics made it successful.

So what was the most popular blog post, with the most views, at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub in 2016?

It can only be…

Sci-Fi Weekender 2016 – Part 2

Yes, the final episode of our adventure at this years Sci-Fi Weekender convention was the most popular blog of the year.  Loads of photos of fantastic cosplayers having fun won the day, and not even my terrible photographic skills could ruin it!  No idea why Part 2 beat Part 1 though.

Thanks again to all the great folks who attended Sci-Fi Weekender, hope you enjoyed the photos!

Thanks to YOU too, for choosing Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Your feedback and is always appreciated.  Here’s to another year of fun – all the best!

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!