Zach Viele: The Pucks

401535_362295103856204_220335232_n

Zach Viele, Team rider for Faceplant Boardriders and Wheelrz is 21 years old from Lake George, NY. He has been actively manufacturing his own slide pucks for almost 2 years now and has gained a tremendous following. “The Pucks” are created from UHMW polyurethane and are backed by some of the gnarliest team riders around including Mike Fitter, Dejaune Jones, Rob Wheeler, Justin Ellsworth, Cody Baker, as well as many others.

Rider: Zach Viele Photo: Ross Earheart

Rider: Zach Viele
Photo: Ross Earheart

When did you decide you wanted to start your own puck company?

“I started The Pucks about a year and a half after I started skating, and it just took off from there. I had ordered a set of pucks online, and in the time it took for them to ship to my house I decided just to go ahead and try and create my own. I never ended up using those pucks I ordered, and have been using my products ever since. We are having problems in sales right now because our pucks last so long that people don’t often need a second set. They’re extremely durable and wear down really slowly.”

Rider: Dejaune Jones Photo: Marion J Ross

Rider: Dejaune Jones Photo: Marion J Ross

What’s it like to have pro riders using your products?

“It’s a surreal feeling to have someone who I look up to like Mike Fitter of Abec 11 and Rayne Longboards become a team rider for my company. He is like the tony hawk of downhill skateboarding for me and I feel honored that he chooses to use my products. It shows that even the big people in the industry care about the small people. Even though you’re a small company they don’t sell you short, they give your product a chance.”

Rider: Mike Fitter  Photo: Spencer Adams

Rider: Mike Fitter
Photo: Spencer Adams

How did you start the production?

“The plastic we use for our pucks has actually been apart of my life for the last 10 years. My dad uses the plastic for his work and we have used it for a number of different things. It never occurred to me that same plastic could be utilized for the longboard industry. I wanted to create a thicker puck to help prevent people from ripping up their gloves and was going to last longer than the other pucks in the market.”

Rider: Justin Ellsworth Photo: Quentin LaChance

Rider: Justin Ellsworth Photo: Quentin LaChance

What was the original purpose of the plastic and why is it so durable?

“This plastic was originally designed to be wear resistant and hold off heat for the machines that manufacture paper. We are using that same plastic as pucks for when you’re steaming down a hill. The amount of heat and friction that is created when used for longboarding is absolutely nothing compared to what it is usually meant to withstand at a mill.”

Rider: Cody Baker Photo: Randy Flewelling

Rider: Cody Baker
Photo: Randy Flewelling

Help support Zach and the East Coast by picking up a set of his slide pucks. The Pucks will last you a very long time and are trusted by some of the best riders in the industry. Plans for gloves are in the works too so keep an eye out for those as well.

Click here for more information and to buy your set of The Pucks

And here to follow their Facebook page

Rider: Rob Wheeler  Photo: Andrew Collins

Rider: Rob Wheeler
Photo: Andrew Collins

 

Video: Raw Run-Mike Girard

Mike Girard, A.K.A Dad, went real fast on his skateboard the other day, in fact, nearly triple the posted speed limit. Mike is the organizer of the beloved Central Mass skate festivals and as you can see here he not only talks the talk, but he most certainly walks the walk. Watch here as Mike reaches speeds up to 70 miles per hour down this Western Mass gem.

-Connor

Rob Wheeler: Faceplant Boardriders, Wheelrz, and Event Organizer

Rob Wheeler

Brothers Ricky and Rob Wheeler have been further progressing the longboard industry with Faceplant Boardriders, Wheelrz Wheels, and active involvement in hosting events. Passionately involved in skating, surfing, and snowboarding, these guys love to shred all types of terrain. Initially inspired by their passion for board sports, Ricky and Rob strive to get people stoked on shredding and to “ride the lifestyle”.

Ricky and Rob live by their motto “PAIN for PROGRESSION”. In the world of extreme sports, you are constantly paying for progression in the form of pain from wipeouts, but there is no better feeling in the world then stomping that trick and riding away from it.

Faceplant Boardriders

These brothers have been building and riding their own homemade longboards for well over a decade at this point and their construction is built to last. Offering 30 different board shapes, they offer something for all types of riding styles through their company, Faceplant Boardriders.

Rob Wheeler for Faceplant Boardriders

These boards are built to perform and are made with marine grade epoxy resins, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and premium grade baltic birch. Among the pre-built boards listed on their website they also take special orders for custom built boards at your request.

Faceplant’s current lineup is categorized into different series that include; The Agent Series, Freeride Arsenal, Surfer’s Stash, Hang Loose Cruisers, and Custom Classics.

Rob Wheeler throwing down

For more information check out their website and Facebook page.

Wheelrz

Aside from board building, Ricky and Rob Wheeler have also gotten involved in producing their own wheels under the brand name Wheelrz. After spending a lot of time testing different shapes and urethane formulas they have developed what they consider the perfect high quality wheels that don’t cost riders a fortune.

1235375_572284976146831_408740885_n

These wheels are fast, smooth, predictable, and affordable. Wheelrz wheels have been designed by skaters for skaters and can be used for all skate disciplines. Their current wheel lineup includes the Wheelrz Diablos, the 70’s, and the Magic 8 Balls.

For more information on these wheels check out their website and Facebook page.

Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series

unnamed

Rob Wheeler, known for his goofular surfy skate style has been hosting regular east coast skate events since 2012. Rob initially recognized the need for sanctioned events when police began blowing a lot of the outlaw events he had been attending. Nowadays he has become super involved in event hosting and has super big plans for the future.

If you have not yet heard of Rob’s events you will be familiar with them soon as they are becoming more fun, more successful and more rad each time. This year he has helped in creating and will be hosting the first annual Mid-Atlantic Freeride series that includes 4 big skate events throughout the year; 2nd annual Skate for Peace, Bethlehem Freeride Competition, Rip the Elwood2, and Skate the Cape Shred Festival 3.

unnamed-1

“The big event that really turned things around for me was when I went to uncle funkys style session in 2011. That was the first event where it was organized, there were pro riders that I recognized and the energy was high even for being at 8 in the morning the day after the Broadway Bomb.  I remember seeing tech sliding for the first time and was blown away to see a whole another discipline of skateboarding. They were all stoked on me riding such a tiny board (Mini Stick link) and I actually got first place at that event. It felt good to win this event because there were so many good riders with completely different styles.  I was so surprised and pumped at the fact that the riders actually voted for who they thought was best at that session. That style of judging format eliminated the biased judging that you might find at a local competition where the host might choose their friends as winners. So the uncle funkys style session was when I really got inspired to get involved in hosting my own events and adopted the same judging system where the skaters vote who was best.”

The first annual Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series will have two divisions: Under 18 Division and an Open Division. This is a progressive series that spans over the year. Since this is a progressive series, there is also going to be a Progressive Payout Purse meaning that money from each participating event will go towards the Purse, and after the final participating event (Skate the Cape Shred Festival 3), the Freeride Series Winners will be announced and prizes and cash payouts will be handed out to the Top 5 riders in each division. We will be keeping track of the top riders on the Facebook Page for the Series based on a points system. Riders placing in the top 10 of any of the participating events will be awarded points.

Freeride Series and Event Judging System:

The Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series will be using an un-biased and proven judging system. Each participating event will use the same judging system to keep it fair across the board. Each division will be run separately and the Event’s judges will choose the top 10 riders that will move on to the finals. Those top 10 riders from the Under 18 and Open Division get put into a final heat. One (1) rubber band will be distributed to each participating audience member (family, spectators, and riders not in that final) before each division final. Then each rider gets 2 individual runs with their name called out before each run. After all the riders have completed their two runs, everyone mingles together to distribute their rubber bands to who they thought was the best rider of that final. The Rider with the most rubber bands wins, second most rubber bands is second, and so on…

Points System:

The top 10 riders of the Freeride Events will be awarded points for the series in the following fashion: 1st Place=10 points, 2nd Place=9 points, 3rd Place=8 points, and so on down to 10th Place = 1 point. Any Rider can accumulate points towards the Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series simply by participating in any of the Freeride portions of any of the Mid-Atlantic Freeride Series participating events, and you can accumulate points from each and every event meaning if you place 3rd in all 4 events, you will end the Series with 32 points.

unnamed-2

Rob has been not only been killing it in the board building and wheel producing scene but he has been a huge supporter in hosting and planning out successful skate events. The Mid-Atlantic freeride series is something fairly new to the east coast scene and his past events have been very successful so far. Since Rob’s first event involvement, Skate the Cape in 2012, he has gotten recognition and involvement from RedBull and they have been a big scene supporter of Rob’s skateboarding events. Recently Rob has gotten involved in helping with RedBull’s very own, first ever, and official sanctioned longboard event called the RedBull Big Drop. 

“This is huge and I am so stoked to be apart of it and to help host it. We sold out so fast on the downhill spots and there’s only going to be 60 spots for the slide event so that’s going to fill up really quickly. Everyone is really excited that RedBull is starting to recognize longboarding as an extreme sport because that’s only going to mean good things for longboarding. We hope that this event will bring more exposure and more legitimacy to longboarding being an extreme sport, especially the downhill/sliding realm. I think Redbull is starting to see that and hopefully they will really push to host more events like the Big Drop. So many big things happening this year with longboarding events on the east coast and really I am really stoked to be a part of it all”.

Click here to watch Rob’s “Rollin’ With Rob” Video Series:

Full Disclosure: Steve currently rides for Wheelerz. 

Pantheon Embryo: What You Need to Know

Pantheon EmbryoThese days you’re hard pressed to find someone doing anything really unique in the game. Loaded regularly employs new materials and techniques, Never Summer has integrated some of their snowboard technology into their longboards, Comet produces green boards and Earthwing has recently changed the game with their NLS lineup; beyond those though I feel like we see a lot of  board companies copying each other and putting a slight twist on the end product.

Enter Pantheon Longboards. New for this 2014 season, Pantheon is headed by Jeff Vyain, the former board designer for Bustin’ Boards and the brains behind some of the most popular deck designs over the last couple of years.Pantheon Longboards This fall Jeff decided to venture off on his own and left Bustin’ on great terms, moving his family and new company up to Pennsylvania to get things rolling. After a few short months Jeff has unleashed the first deck in Pantheon’s lineup, the Embryo.

Pantheon, as Jeff described to me, is meant to be a no bull sh*t approach to skateboards, paying attention to the details and the finer points of design to bring you the best feeling skateboard possible. To quote Jeff himself:

My focus for Pantheon really isn’t on innovation for the sake of innovation, but creating stellar, practical designs with innovative (or non-innovative) features that just work. No bullshit. No hype. Just an awesome skateboard that combines with that awesome hill or path or whatever that gives you that awesome feeling.

What I’m super stoked about with the Embryo is what they’re calling the “W-Bubbles” concave. Instead of having the W run throughout the length of the board like you usually see, the Embryo has a flat standing surface in the middle for comfortable distance pushing (Jeff’s former specialty) and W concave towards the ends to lock you in during slides and in a tuck. [UPDATE 3/3/14: Jeff sent me an e-mail and Will commented below letting me know that the Madrid Nessie also featured a similar concave before, apologies.] Feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve seen this “W-Bubble” concave on any other decks before, but it sounds pretty dope.

The "W-Bubbles" in the Pantheon Embryo

The “W-Bubbles” in the Pantheon Embryo

The deck is asymmetrical and the concave changes a bit throughout it, as well. As you can read in the graphic below, one end has a gradually tapered concave, while the other sports some gentle 3D concave — a “Funnel Concave” if you will. While the deck is asymmetrical, Jeff assures me that it can be ridden either direction depending on what your preference is. So while it’s technically a directional board, its directional in whichever way you choose — pretty unique and very cool.

To top it all off the graphic is dope as hell. Eddie Kihm came through and did the dopest job designing this graphic, setting the stage for a lot of other companies to step their game up come 2014. Just like we mentioned with Earthwing’s NLS lineup, we’re stoked to see that Pantheon is manufacturing their decks right here in the USA – that’s what’s up!

Length: 36.5 in
Width: 10 in
Rocker: 0.25in
Wheelbases: 25.5-29 inches

You can pick one up from Pantheon themselves for $130.00, helping to support a small and local east coast company! Sound off with your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Pantheon Embryo

Jared Henry in Asheville

Jared Henry in Asheville

Comet Team Rider Jared Henry just dropped a new edit of him shredding in his new home of Asheville, NC. Check out his dope style mixing it up between city and the mountains. Jared has been big on the come-up since making a name for himself at the Ithaca Hill Jam this spring and is absolutely killing the scene like nobody’s business so expect a lot more gnar in the future.

Also take a second and check out his interview with Thane Magazine.

Is that Steve Kong Going Fast?

We had to do our research and double check, but it turns out this is actually a legitimate video of Steve Kong going fast. I’ve never seen this much of Steve’s butt in one video in my life, and never thought I’d be so OK with it, either, but I’m stoked to see him going fast and killing it.

I love when skaters break free from their usual discipline and skate something new, experience a new ride, and end up having a blast while doing it. It looks like Steve got to do just that and had a steezy ass time in the process. Hopefully we’ll get the EW guys up here to Western Mass to skate some gnar and get some ill footage in the near future!

What Do You Think About Wheel Shields?

Wheel Shields inventor Chase KaczmarekHave you heard about Wheel Shields yet? They’re a new product seeking funding on Kickstarter, designed and invented by east coaster and Maryland resident, Chase Kaczmarek. While I was a skeptic at first, after a little more reading and research I think Wheel Shields might end up on at least one of my set-ups.

Evolution of Wheel Shields

Wheel Shields have evolved a lot from their first inception and were designed to solve 4 main problems in longboarding as I see it: wheel bite, shoe bite, wheel locking, and spray/splashes off your wheels when riding in the rain. Chase also says Wheel Shields will help extend the life of your bearings, and allow you to invent new tricks, although I’m not sure how many people will be down to try standing on their wheels…just in case…

Wheel Shields designs

While I’m not sure how aero the Wheel Shields are for your downhill setups, Wheel Shields were designed to fit almost every wheel under 76mm, even meaty mothers like Biggie Hawgs. I asked Chase what size contact patches work with Wheel Shields, what he told me was that instead of contact patch size, what matters is the distance from the bearing and the outer lip of the wheel, which must be less than 1″. Despite this, he said almost every wheel they’ve tested fit.  The concept of preventing wheel lockups while downhilling in a tight pack is definitely appealing as well, as anyone who has ever experienced it can attest to how shitty of an experience it is.

I’d definitely like to see these in person and give them a try myself, especially on my commuter board, as I’m sick of riding on wet pavement and getting soaked from the spray off my wheels. I’m also excited to be able to help support Chase a little and support an east coast invention at the same time, hopefully you might as well! Give them a look over on Kickstarter to learn a little more. They’ve got 6 days and $6,500 to raise, think they can do it?! What are your thoughts on Wheel Shields, sound off in the comments section below!

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: Chad Marshall and Surfing’s New Genre

ChadMarshallHeelsideCheckSmallerVice Magazine follows Chad Marshall out to sea as he gives them a peek at what he and Scott Anderson have been working on lately. Together they’ve been developing some experimental surfboards that are allowing them to shred in new ways and bust some longboarding-esq tricks, such as shuv-its and heeside checks.

The boards are short and semi-finless, making them very agile and allowing them to break out sideways while the rider retains control. In the words of Chad Marshall, “…it’s a new genre of surfing that hasn’t been explored yet, or you know, people haven’t pushed it to the limits, and it’s pretty bitchin’.” Bitchin’ it is indeed. Even cooler is seeing how longboarding style movements and tricks are influencing surfing, the very sport it was born out of.

I hadn’t seen anything like this before and was stoked when I watched this time and time again, so I figured I’d pass it along to y’all. Check it out and let us know what you think in our comments section below.

5 Ways to Beat the Heat While Skating

heatWith Memorial Day behind us and a few days with temperatures over the 90˚F mark with suffocating humidity and it’s safe to say that summer is in full effect for the east coast. The nice and breezy spring days are behind us, which means that you’re gonna have to try harder than ever to stay cool and prevent heat exhaustion (and the much more serious, potentially fatal, heat stroke) and stay on the hill as long as possible. While they’re not foolproof, these 5 things will help you beat the usually oppressive east coast summer weather.

Continue reading and find out our top 5 ways to beat the heat!