What seems like wayyyy back in late November, Loaded Boards announced what the industry had been waiting to hear for so long: the freeride/downhill board that had been, the Chubby Unicorn, was here. There was another announcement that day that didn’t receive as much fanfare but managed to turn heads nonetheless: Loaded’s first true double-kick (DK) ripper, the Kanthaka.
The Kanthaka comes in two width flavors, 8.625in and 8.875in, which we tested for the review. The length measures at a nice and comfortable 36” with a 17.5” wheelbase, meaning you’ve got some meaty 7.5” symmetrical kicktails to give you some gnarly pop without ever thinking twice about whether you’re riding the tail or nose. Of course, Loaded also went ahead and created a dope new pseudo-MC Escher inspired graphic (which has held up surprisingly well to board slides) that’s sure to draw some second-looks. We road the Kanthaka with Indy 169 trucks and Bones Hard Hardcore bushings but you can also ride Paris 155’s, or an equivalent, if you’re feeling like some RKP love.
As you’ve no doubt come to expect from Loaded, the Kanthaka sports some unique features that haven’t found their way to other DK boards of this size and shape. For starters, Loaded’s penchant for durability is evidenced in the Kanthaka’s bamboo construction as well as the addition of a carbon fiber layer on both the nose and tail, for extra abrasion resistance.
The Kanthaka also sports an elliptical concave as well as some super subtle rocker which when combined, make for a sturdy and comfortable standing platform whether you’re sliding or riding street/pool/park, etc. Much like the Chubby Unicorn, integrated wheel-well flares made their way to the Kanthaka, helping to fully form pockets between the tails and the bolts to lock your feet in when sliding.
While at first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the wheel wells when not skating down hills I found them to actually help a little in the park, giving a little extra feedback so you always know where your feet are on the deck, something most people aren’t used to on a street deck. The deck also has a surprising amount of pop to it, making big ollies a breeze.
Overall we’re pleased with the Kanthaka. It took some getting used to since it’s different in many respects to other boards in similar sizes and shapes, but in the end we were shredding it and had a great time. The biggest complaint we heard from people was that the pockets felt a bit odd at first and took some getting used to; but once we adjusted our stance accordingly we tended to not think about it. While I think there’s room for some minor improvements with the flares, like making them slightly less aggressive, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. The Kanthaka is extremely versatile and can hold its own whether you’re bombing through city streets, hitting hills, or going to the park – a Swiss army knife of skate decks. We’re excited to see Loaded bring some more innovation and style to the short wheelbase DK game and know the Kanthaka will make for a very versatile addition to anyone’s quiver.