Video: UMass Downhill

Check out the UMass Longboard Club homies killin’ it with some DH runs just over the state line somewhere deep in New England.  Some serious packrunage goin’ down in this one. These guys are holding down our home scene in Western MA scene pretty hard right now; they’re going fast, having fun, and doing it right.

– Henry

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Soldiers of Downhill 2013

The registration for Soldiers of Downhill 2013 is officially open! This is one of the fastest and gnarliest races in the country, so it’s not for the faint of heart to say the least.  To register head over to the Ohio Downhill Skate registration page and follow the instructions. Once we learn more about the actual race weekend schedule, we’ll update this post accordingly. 

Soldiers of Downhill 2013 going down October 12-13!

About Soldiers of Downhill 2013

Back for its 4th year, Soldiers of Downhill 2013 is a downhill race that taking place on October 12-13 in Bainbridge, Ohio. If you’re going to this race, make sure you’re prepared for the gnar, cause this course is one of the most steamy you’ll find east of the Mississippi, if not the entire U.S.

In order to compete your going to need a full body leather suit, a full face helmet, $130US, and some cojones.  Riders under the age of 18 also require a parent to handle liability waivers.  A description of the course is best described by the event organizers, the men over at Ohio Downhill Skate,

“The course starts on a moderate decline, quickly dropping around a long sweeping left. The grade increases to just under 10% accelerating riders into a 90 degree fast, sharp right. You speed up down a 10% straight and set up for the fast chicanes, followed by a less severe set of chicanes. Then it’s a battle of momentum and aerodynamics to the finish of this 1.3 mile long course. (top speed for stand-up riders is about 56 mph).”

Contact Info

If for some reason you need to get in contact with an event organizer for further details, they were nice enough to leave contact information on their website:

Soldiers of Downhill 2013 going down October 12-13!Dan Oliver, Event Coordinator
Email: manager1888@gmail.com
Phone: 330-618-2048

Jamie Reis, Race Coordinator
Email: jreis5173@gmail.com
Phone: 412-848-3381

Sean Graves, Sponsorship Extraordinaire
Email: seangraves13@gmail.com
Phone: 301-758-5321

Check out a raw run of the course below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYosXz9653U[/youtube]

Make sure to like Ohio Downhill Skate and check out the official Event Page on Facebook. 

While you’re at it make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to stay current, ya heard? Are you going to be racing Soldiers of Downhill 2013? Sound off in the comments below!

Everything You Need To Know About Trucks: Part 2

This is a continuation of the first part of Everything You Need to Know About Trucks. If you haven’t read Part 1 we highly recommend starting there and then continuing on to part 2. We’re currently planning a part 3 to come soon.

Baseplate Degrees:

46* and 50* Baseplates

46* Area vs 50* Paris Baseplates

The degree of the truck’s baseplate decides how much lean a rider has to give in order to make the truck turn.  The lower the baseplate degree, the less the truck is physically able to turn and the more lean it takes to turn the truck.  Baseplates usually run between 40-50 degrees with 50 degree being the most common angle. 45 degree trucks are considered low degree, and anything lower than that is for people who just love to lean.  Baseplate angle can also effect slides, in the sense that low degree baseplates typically create lower degree slides.  This is because the hanger will turn less at the point that you are used to leaning on higher degree trucks.  Typically, a low degree truck is better for a rider who likes their body weight farther off of their board and likes to take wide lines.  Higher degree trucks are for people who want to fiend, and are good for quick and agile turns, throwing around lots of lines and thrashing.  Speed plays a role in baseplate as well, typically lower degree trucks feel more stable at speed but be harder to turn and feel much more dead at low speeds.  Low degree trucks tend to feel a bit more lively once they are pushed up to speed, though.

Hangers:

Bushing Seat

All trucks on the market have unique bushing seats that effect how the hanger interacts with the bushing, affecting the turn of the truck. The restrictiveness of the bushing seat effects how the truck compresses the bushing when turning.  An open bushing seat compresses the bushing as little as possible, creating the least amount of restriction on your turn.  Examples of open, unrestrictive bushing seats include Aeras, Randals, and PNL.  When there’s a bit of metal coming outward surrounding the bushing, it causes the bushing to compress against the metal wall when turning, causing the truck to be more restrictive.  Examples of trucks that are somewhat restrictive include Munkaes, Calibers, Surf-Rodz, and Ronin’s.  The long and short: the more restrictive the bushing seat, the less lean and turn you’ll get (and the “tighter” the truck will feel).

restrictive_vs_open_bushing_seats

Hanger Size

The width of the hanger affects the tracking of the wheels.  While the turning radius is defined by the baseplate, the hanger size will define where the wheels track. That means you’ll be able to rail the same turn on 150mm hangers and 190mm hangers, but your wheels will be in different places.

Hanger sizes affect the leverage over your bushings more than anything else. A narrower hanger size will grip the pavement more, whil a wider one will allow you to break traction and slide much easier. This is why you frequently see super small hanger widths on slalom decks.

Example of different sized hangers

Paris 180mm vs Paris 150mm

 Larger hangers feel less responsive when turning and track much wider.  Larger hangers also create lower degree slides, less traction, and slides that maintain speed for longer.  Reverse kingpin trucks come in various hanger widths but the most popular size is around 180mm.  For commuting and cruising setups people will run 150mm hangers, but it isn’t common in most downhill and freeride.  Most downhill and freeride setups run between around 170mm-190mm.

Hanger Style

Truck hangers have different characteristics in terms of how the truck pivot feels relative to the baseplate degree.  Hangers may either turn at the same angle as the baseplate or feel like they turn at different angles. Positive rake will add more height to your truck setup, giving you more traction with the road and leverage on the bushing, while negative rake will make the board easier to break out and lower the ride height.

Bear Smokies, which aren't flippable trucks.

Bear Smokies, which aren’t flippable trucks.

This difference when you flip the hanger is called “rake.” For instance, if you have a truck that’s 45 degrees and the hanger is flipable with +/-2 degree rake, then the truck feels like it runs runs at either 43, or 47 degrees.

Calibers are an example of trucks that don’t have rake, when flipped they are the same, while Randals and Surf-Rodz are examples of trucks with rake.

Video: The True Mids Fiends

The word ‘mids’ is getting thrown around these days but shouldn’t loose its origins, or be diluted by the masses.  Its a fiendish word that’s epitomized by two of the original mids users, Norm Plante and Eric Roth.  Check out their new edit, back in the homelands, filmed and cut by Tom Leary.

Video: Steady Steezin

Check out New York native Josh Moskowitz as he steezes down some curvy neighborhood runs.  We first met Josh a minute ago, when our homies Chris O’Brien and Jake Wade brought him along to a session when he first started skating and it’s been a ton of fun to watch him progress since then. You gotta love the old school fish eye cam, too.

Everything You Need to Know About Trucks: Part 1

Basic Overview:

Paris V2 43*'s on a Loaded Boards Tesseract

Paris V2 43* Trucks on a Loaded Boards Tesseract

Trucks are extremely important when it comes to downhill skateboarding. No one can tell you what trucks are the best or which are better for you. It happens to be one of those things, like many in this world, that is simply too subjective to be compared in a manner of one being better than the other. With that said, there is a lot that goes into a reverse kingpin truck, and although the topic of what truck is best may be subjective, there are obvious physical differences that cause trucks to respond in certain ways that may affect ones riding.

How They Work:

On a reverse kingpin truck there are four components: a baseplate, a hanger, a pivot point, and two bushings. The baseplate of the truck is attached to the board and leans in sync with the board as you change your weight distribution, causing the hanger to pivot over the bushings at the angle of the baseplates pivot point, which then allows the truck to turn. The factors that go into the turn of the truck are based on various factors.

Truck Tightness:

TRUCKS SHOULD ONLY BE RUN AT ONE TIGHTNESS. Tons of people out there try to change the turning of their trucks by tightening or loosening them.paris-43s Although this works, this is not the way they’re designed to change the turn of the truck. Trucks are designed to be tightened down to the point at which the hanger comes out of the pivot point of the baseplate at the angle of the baseplate. Having trucks too lose causes slop, which can be fun to mess with, but can also be extremely sketchy and increase your chance of speed wobbles heavily. Running trucks too tight causes bushings to deform, and eventually break down or blow out, trust me it sucks when your bushing breaks while you are riding, especially the bottom one. This also causes the hanger to run at a lower degree than the baseplate is designed for, destroying your pivot cup and giving a bad pivot point. Usually the ideal tightness is at the point just after loose slop has been removed, and no tighter. Stand next to your board and put weight on one of the rails, forcing the trucks to turn one direction. If your board returns to the center perfectly when you take your foot off the rail, then you know it’s tightened correctly.

Bushings:

The bushings of a truck are one of the key things that go into a truck’s turning ability. Changing bushing setups can make the same truck feel completely different and finding the right one is key. IMG_0187The characteristics that go into how a bushing responds are its durometer (hardness), shape, urethane type, kingpin tightness, washer setup, and placement as the top or bottom bushing.

Duro:

Bushings are made out of urathane and run on a durometer hardness scale typically between around 78a-96a. Basically it works like this: The lower the durometer, the softer the bushing, and there for the easier it is to make the truck turn. Some argue that there are ideal durometers for individual rider weight categories, and although these may be used as a decent guideline for what bushing hardness to get, these charts in no way represent what you should ride, for that is up to you.

Shapes:

bushings

There are a few various bushing shapes and even more have been coming out recently. In this article the three most widely used bushing shapes will be discussed, and these are: Eliminators, Barrels, and Cones. Barrels are the most common bushing shape, and for good reason. Barrel bushings allow for a distinct type of turning in which the trucks turn/lean ratio stays fairly consistent throughout the entire turn. This basically means that with barrel bushings if you lean on the board, it’ll turn proportionally to the amount of lean the rider gives in a fairly consistent manner. Barrels also provide a decent amount of rebound when diving into turns, or pumping. Coned bushings on the other hand have the most dive and do not allow for much rebound.IMG_0194[1] Cones are not common in fast riding and are more common in freestyle, dancing, commuting setups, as they lend themselves well to quick turns and agile movements. Eliminators are the widest of the bushings and therefore restrict turning the most out of the three shapes. With that being said, the turning is only restricted more than another bushing of the same duro. For instance, a 90a eliminator will be more restrictive than a 90a barrel, but may not be more restrictive than a 95a barrel. It is important to understand that eliminators are not designed to decrease turn, but to make the turning more progressive. Since there is more surface area contact between the hanger and the bushing in an eliminator setup, the turning becomes more progressive, rather than divey. In my opinion, eliminators feel comfortable when they are run at a durometer that is about 3a-5a less than your usual barrel setup. At low speeds eliminators do not turn much unless run extremely soft, but at speed they begin to become alive, feeling more like a barrel would at a lower speed.

Rebound:

The urethane formula has an effect on the turning of the bushing. Just like with wheels different urethane formulas of the same hardness may feel different. For example, an 87a Blood Orange bushing may feel softer than an 87a Venom bushing. Different companies have different urethane formulas and each formula has a unique feeling. One of the key components to the feeling of the urethane used is the rebound that is given from the bushing. Lots of rebound makes the truck want to turn back and pump, giving a lively feel. Low rebound gives a damper feeling turn. Rebound is not a good or bad thing and is once again something that is up for the individual rider to decide for themselves whether they like or not.

Washers:

The washers used in trucks are also a component that goes into how they respond. The two shapes for washers are flat and cupped. Washers are pretty simple, flat washers give less restrictive turn and less rebound and cupped washers give more restrictive turning and more rebound. Washers also come in various sizes, smaller washers being less restrictive. washersCupped washers are also an easy way to get rid of wheelbite if you don’t want to run risers and don’t mind sacrificing the turn.

Roadside vs Boardside:

Boardside and roadside bushings both have different roles in the trucks performance, and it is important to understand the difference. The bottom bushing (boardside) has more impact on the turning of the truck and its direct pivot, where as the top bushing (roadside) acts as a force to push back on the bottom bushing, and controls how easily the truck gives in or rebounds back. People typically run either the same durometer bushings all around, or a top bushing that is slightly softer than the bottom. It is also common to see people run an eliminator bushing on the bottom with a barrel bushing on the top, or a barrel bushing on the bottom with a cone bushing on the top.

boardside_roadside

Brake Test: Bike vs. Downhill Skateboard

It’s a common misconception in this sport that longboards are unable to stop or unable to stop in a reasonable amount of time. Often times no matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to convince non-skaters that we’re as in control, if not more so, than most bicyclists that ride the same roads and hills we do. Some of the guys from South Africa decided to put an end to the long-standing debate and put a bike and downhill skateboard against  each other to see who could stop in a shorter amount of time. This was a very interesting video done by fellow skaters comparing the two breaking mechanisms and giving some solid evidence to fall back on next time you find yourself in a debate about how in-control we are.


Video: Swervin The Left

That East Coast Yoke Crew Throwing Down.  If you don’t know about the YokeCrew, than you gotta get familiar cause they kill it.  This latest edit combines the skills of Eric Roth on the edit and Harison Hardig on the camera with Ed Garner’s gnarly as all hell skating. Check it out at least once, maybe twice then share it with your friends cause they’ll need to be on the loop with this one, as well.

How To Not Blow A Spot

Clyde Man

Our buddy Clyde and the Massachusetts Skate, I mean State, Police.

Over the past few years, as this sport has continued to grow, it has become apparent that many of the newer generations of shredders do not follow the rules of the road, and therefore potentially blow the spot for themselves and others. If you have never had an interaction with a police officer or person of authority, you’re probably unaware that this sport is still frowned upon, even illegal in some areas, and have to always keep that fact in mind.

This means that when you’re skating a road, you gotta treat it like it’s your Granny’s house, that is, you gotta respect it.  People bash other people for stealing their spots all the time, but in reality, most spots are actually pretty easy to find if you know what you’re doing.  So those groms that you didn’t want to find that dope spot you had, they’re gonna find out about it, and when they do, it’s in everyone’s best interest that they know how to respect it.  No one owns any one spot, everyone wants to progress, and there are only so many dope runs in a given area, so chances are as the sport grows, your favorite runs will be skated by others. Many things go into properly respecting a road, and all roads are different, but there are some general rules that should be followed.

“This means that when you’re skating a road, you gotta treat it like it’s your Granny’s house, that is, you gotta respect it.”

First off, it all depends on the spot you’re shredding since all spots are different.  If you’re at your local freeride hill and you got all the neighbors you know and you’re comfortable, then it’s usually ok to post up and hang out, shredding the hill for an extended period of time.  On hills that are like this, you gotta respect neighbors’ opinions, as well as yield to any traffic.  You also can’t leave the hill a mess, leave it in better condition than you found it, don’t leave your water bottle and lunch bags, those weren’t there when you got there, were they?  Another thing to consider is acting sketchy.  Eddie HaskellMad kids act sketchy when they are dealing with adults, because they don’t know the vibe yet and are uncomfortable with the interaction.  When you see someoneacting nice and polite, you are bound to judge them a bit different than if they are acting all sketchy not saying hi, avoiding interaction, or being obnoxious.  When neighbors, locals, and old people are walking by observing you skating, wave, smile, and say hi. Take a second to talk to them, usually they dig it, and usually it will help you in keeping your spot from being blown.  When it comes to traffic in neighborhood runs, just yield and show that you’re in control. Even if you have the control to setup carve into the opposite lane and throw a little backside check in front of that oncoming car, it looks mad sketchy to that car and almost any other random civilian watching.  I always see people continuing their run with a car behind them on their tail, or with a car pulling out of a driveway, or an oncoming car.  If you just come to a stop and wait 5 seconds, it decreases your chances of having the cops called on you.

Another thing to consider, and this is for all types of spots, is that the more people you have with you, the higher the chance that your sess is gonna get blown.  I sometimes see grom crews that are about 30 strong all ripping the same hill – an easy way to quickly blow a good spot.  When skating runs that involve blind turns, always spot the turn, and don’t just spot it, know that you can hit it in the worst situation, know that when that school bus is stuck in his 5 point turn, that you can come to a stop.

CONTINUE READING ON PAGE 2 »

Video: Moose Jones

Got this video submitted in and just had to post it.   Moose shreds with a passion and creativity that you don’t see in most younger shredders, while many groms worry about how long they can stand up slide, Moose is out there just having fun.  In this edit watch him style through the neighborhoods of upper northwest Washington DC.