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.

Death Skateboards – My Current Set Up

Death deck, Independent trucks, Death wheels 

Recently I set up my new skateboard.  This new set up is, again, primarily Death skateboards.

The new deck is a Lee Dainton pro model – yes, he of Dirty Sanchez fame.  I’ve actually had this deck for a while, I just hadn’t got round to setting it up.  Truth be told, I’ve not done much skating for a while, due to factors like becoming a  Dad; the bastard recession killing my employment; and being busy getting fat.

I’ve kept my previous set of good old reliable Indy trucks, but invested in a new set of Death wheels (52mm).  I picked the wheels up from the very nice people at Note skate shop in Manchester on a recent visit. IMG_3168

Death are a great company, I’ve owned (and skated) many of their decks and wheels.  They’re British, and make really good products that you can depend on.

Back when I used to own a skate shop, I spoke on the phone to Death boss man Nick Zorlac a few times.  He’s a sound guy with an obvious enthusiasm and love for skateboarding. IMG_3170

I also had a brief meeting with Dainton a couple of years ago, when he and Matt Pritchard did a Dirty Sanchez show at the Tivoli in Buckley.  The conversation basically consisted of hollering “Independent for life!” at each other.

Anyway, I’ve now skated this deck and I am extremely happy with it.  No techy nerd ramblings in this blog post, this is a quality skateboard and we’ll leave it at that.  Well done Death on another fine product!

Deck only, before trucks were mounted.

Deck only, before trucks were mounted.

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.

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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.