Tristan Burke: T-Cat Design

Tristan Burke, 21 years old of Umass Amherst is a shredder! Riding for Lifelong Longboards, Team Mids, Eden Racing, and perpetually down with all things East Coast, this dude can skate. Aside from skating, Tristan has always had a love for art as well and this has led to his new project called: T-Cat Designs. His artwork is made using low-grade markers and he describes it as “a cluster f*ck of colors”.

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“I first got into this kind of stuff through prototyping decks for LifeLong. Wether a given deck had a graphic screened on it or not, there was plenty of untouched wood grain. At first I just colored on a few decks for myself and the fun of it, but everyone’s reactions to what I considered doodles really blew me away.”

Tristan has recently been creating custom board graphics for Eden Racing and plans for his artwork to be featured on the not-yet-released Mids Lids are also in the works. Tristan is now taking your requests to draw rad as f*ck sharpie designs on your deck, full face, t-shirt, instruments, pets and anything else you can think of.

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For all artistic inquires, please contact Tristan here on his Facebook page. T-Cat Design aims to help sustain his skateboarding addiction, and all profits are going towards funding a skate trip for this summer.

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“Eden Racing’s initial support of my designs was what really pushed me to take this a little more seriously and try and get my designs out there as much as I can. I really enjoy it, saw that I could make a bit of money from it, and saw the opportunity to combine skateboarding and coloring, which are the two things I actually give a shit about these days”.

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If you like these graphics don’t hesitate to get yours custom!

This California Republic flag is for sale!! BUY DIS NOOW!

How to get a custom graphic from Tristan??

  •  Like “T-Cat Design” on Facebook
  • Message T-Cat Design with an idea of what you’re looking for in a graphic and agree on a price.
  • Ship your gear to Tristan with the cash; Tristan will pay for shipping on the way back to you.
  • Enjoy some gnarly custom artwork going to support a super chill skater

Again, for all artistic inquires, please contact Tristan here on his Facebook page. Also make sure to head over and like the Team Mids Facebook page and stay up to date with the rest of the Team Mids crew.

skate the east tank

The Goose: The Rad Dad

Rad Dad’s live among us. They created us, raised us, and have supported us through good and bad times. For some of the young shredders, your rad dad may even take you to events, help pay for gear, drive you to local sessions, and even hops on board here and there to prove he’s still got it from back in his day. Not all of us have the pleasure of having a rad dad; but hopefully many of you do. My dad is extremely rad and if you would like some proof look no further than this video:

Within the past year and a half I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Quentin LaChance and his Rad Dad Goosen or as many of us call him “the Goose”. I first met them at a freeride session in Providence, Rhode Island. Nowadays I often meet up with them in Portsmouth with the URI dudes for some really gnarly sessions.

Goose the Rad Dad

The Goose getting gnarly

Quentin is 14 and shreds harder and goes bigger every time I see him. He’s always having a good time and I anticipate awesome things for him in 2014. LaChance is from Mass., where he is currently attending middle school as an eighth grader. He started skating about two years ago and has since become a well-respected member of the east coast longboarding community. He has recently built his own longboard with the help of Stephan Vaast of Arson Longboards. When he is not skating he is painting during the long winter months but is super stoked to get out skating again this spring.

Quentin poking out a toeside

Quentin poking out a toeside

Quentin rides for Team Pup n’ Suds which vibes a carefree attitude.  Having fun, skating to impress yourself and getting to the level you want to be at is the name of the game here.

Peep this summer edit of Pup N Suds:

“The raddest dad and most down to earth grom around” said Chris Rideout, Rhode Island homie and frequent host of the CT Wheelabrator event.

Quentin and the Goose are as stoked as they come about downhill skateboarding. These two with out a doubt have become a growing part of the east coast community. Having attended major east coast events such as Longboard for Life in North Andover Mass., Central Mass in Harvard and Wheelabrator in CT, these guys continue to hit rad sessions all over the New England area and are of course stoked for what the 2014 season has to offer.

Goose and the hound pose for a picture on puddling stone

Goose and the hound pose for a picture on puddling stone

Goose the dad is rad, just ask homeless Eric of Nelson Longboards “Goosen is the way, heed his words carefully.”

“Organized sports for our children have changed drastically these days, everyone wins a trophy and that sends the wrong message, that it doesn’t matter what effort you put in because at the end of the day everyone’s still a winner. In real life it’s not like that and when I grew up there was a competitive push to work hard to become better. The favoritism and politics involved in organized youth sports allows the coach’s son to become the quarter back, or allow for unfair amounts of playing time, these sports are often run by parents trying to find profit.

Skaters compete against themselves, reaching for their personal best. This has allowed kids to spend the day outside and put as little or as much effort into it as they would like. This sport is purely for fun, and the rider decides how seriously they would like to take it. They are their own coach and set their own goals. The community is extremely friendly. Skaters of all skill level skate together in peace and are always supportive of one and other. The most experienced riders are always there to encourage and support the less experienced, they promote progression, and don’t put others down. Skaters find achievement based on how well they feel after each run, and how their buddies react to the fat stand up you just threw down in front of them. This sport is a great hobby for my son, and I am happy to be apart of it. I believe there should be more father’s getting involved in the sport and recognize the positive attributes that skateboarding has to offer.”

If you are an east coast shredder it won’t be long before you meet the Goose. He is super stoked on the sport and can often be found filming the session on his GoPro, or giving rides back up the hill in his pick up truck. The Goose will hop on board occasionally but he’s really there to have a good time with everyone and watch the fun happen. Aside from being involved the in the skate scene, you can find him tending to his chickens, working on his garden, goofing around with his pet hound, out fishing, or picking his guitar.

Follow the Goose on his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thegoosenspage

Goosen tending to his chickens living in his homemade coop

Goosen tending to his chickens living in his homemade coop

“After becoming involved with this community through my son, and after spending much of my time in organized sports with my older sons, I believe that the kids involved in longboarding are ahead of the curve for what it means to be truly alive and experience life to its full potential. They get out doors, stay healthy with exercise, and really appreciate sharing the camaraderie with their fellow man.”

 

Local Spotlight: New Passion Decks

If your on the east coast and especially the Northeast you gotta get familiar with Passion Skate Decks. These boards are designed and crafted by Stefan Kaiter-Snyder in a basement just outside of Boston by hand, Passion kills it for board quality, design, and art. 100% for skaters by skaters.

When it comes to buying gear, you always gotta support those that are gonna give back. Most of the industry in this sport is out west so when you see locals pumping out products, and especially of this tier, you gotta support. The new lineup of boards looks prime, and deserve to be checked out. Buy one soon cause it looks like they are in limited supply!!!

A link to the facebook can be found at https://www.facebook.com/PassionSkateDecks

Local Spotlight: TR Custom Longboards

Continuing with the Local Spotlight series that started with Surf-Rodz a couple weeks ago, I took a trip to visit Tom Rutledge of TR Custom Longboards in Simsbury, CT to check out his shop, how he makes boards, what sets him apart from other small board makers and why he’s gotten into making longboards in the first place.

I first learned about TR Longboards through the grapevine on Facebook and saw some boards he posted on his page. The first thing that struck me about Tom’s longboards was the absolutely breathtaking wood veneer that he uses as the “graphic” on the boards. If you read Cory’s Peeping Tom review from the other day, you saw a perfect example of the exotic woods that Tom uses as a finishing touch. We’ll go a little more in depth on that later, though. After seeing his boards I reached out to him and quickly got in touch so I could visit his woodworking shop, see how he does things and talk a little about his process for making longboards.

From the start you can tell that Tom isn’t your average longboard maker. A successful engineer as his day job (doing some very cool stuff around the world, working with anything from cars to aircraft) Tom started woodworking as a hobby around 10 years ago. The combination between engineer and skilled craftsman is dangerous, let me tell you, as there’s pretty much no problem in woodworking it seems like Tom can’t solve. He started making longboards a couple years ago as wedding gifts for his sister-in-law and her husband in California. Pretty soon Tom was getting e-mails from people who had seen the boards and were interested in them, the rest is history. When I went to visit I got to see the process from start to finish as he created a new downhill deck.

The “Custom” in TR Custom Longboards isn’t just a word he threw in to sound cool, Tom is serious about building custom boards. When I walked into his shop last weekend to watch the design phase and how he builds his molds, I was surprised to see two local skaters from the Northern Skate Alliance, Cory Medlar and Robert Briggs (soon another, Bill Steinbacher came too), already in the shop giving him ideas and feedback about what they do and don’t like to see in downhill boards. Tom was able to take the best parts of their ideas and figure out a way to transfer them off paper and onto wood. More talk went into how stiff it should be, the shape it should have, and other factors to determine how the board should ride before the making the mold and pressing the wood.

I went back last night to watch some more of the process as the wood had been pressed and was ready to be cut and sanded. This time I walked in to once again see Robert Briggs in the shop along with fellow NSA skaters Ryan Howard and Alicia Godbout already giving Tom advice as to what the shape should look like and how to go about forming the wheel wells (good news: no wheel bite possible on this board!). I cannot emphasize enough, when Tom says he makes custom longboards, he makes custom longboards. With his background in engineering, there doesn’t seem to be a problem that Tom can’t solve and with his woodworking skills he can pretty much do anything so long as it’s physically possible. The board was cut pretty quickly and work began on putting the holes in for the trucks and cutting out the wheel wells. Since this was a prototype board Tom didn’t put the exotic wood veneer he usually does on the board, which has given TR Custom Longboards a very distinct look in comparison to the rest of the field. Tom uses a mirroring technique with the exotic wood, making it almost seamless and making the grain run absolutely perfectly. A finished TR board is a true work of beauty with these ecotic wood finishes.

With his skillsets in both engineering and woodworking the sky is the limit for what Tom can produce for boards, and unlike other board makers Tom is willing to listen and take advice to make his boards even better and customized for your wants. What’s next in the pipeline for TR Custom Longboards then? The downhill board that was being shaped while I was there is currently out for testing with Robert Briggs of the NSA, that doesn’t mean things will stop, though. Tom mentioned yesterday on his Facebook Page that he visited Surf-Rodz and was hoping to start offering completes soon — I’m also hoping that means we’ll see a new deck designed around a set of INDeeSZ or RKPs, time will tell. Until then Tom has posted a bunch of images from past boards he’s done and a few of the prototype DH board.

Make sure you check out TR Custom Longboards Facebook Page — support local and spread the stoke!

Local Company Spotlight: Surf-Rodz

There’s beginning to be a lot of talk on the streets about a company by the name of Surf-Rodz who are beginning to make some big waves across the international longboarding community. In case you haven’t heard of them, Surf-Rodz produces the popular V2 deck, and revolutionary RKP (reverse king-pin) and INDeeSZ trucks. I got a chance to visit their Seymour, CT manufacturing facility and sat down with co-owner and founder Wayne Gallipoli to talk about Surf-Rodz, what they’re doing, what they hope to be doing, and what they want to bring to the sport.

Surf-Rodz is producing CNC (computer numerical control) trucks. Get the confused look off your face, I’ll explain what it means. Most trucks are produced using a method called casting, super-hot liquid metal is poured into a mold, allowed to harden, removed from the mold, and are polished and shipped. Surf-Rodz doesn’t do this, instead they take a solid block of aluminum and machine it down into the component they need. What does this mean? Precision, durability, and the ability to do some pretty revolutionary stuff with trucks.

Trucks might seem like the established, static technology on the skateboard, with most attention these days being focused at wheels and deck manufacturing but that’s not the case at all. As skaters push the limits of what they can do, they’re also pushing the limits of what their gear can do. Wayne said after seeing traditional cast trucks starting to fail earlier and cost skaters performance there was a clear need for change in the industry, and SZ was ready to step up and make it happen. Surf-Rodz’s trucks can get replacement parts as needed, saving you money in the long run. Grind down a hanger? You can buy a replacement for a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire truck. Bend an axle? Good news, Surf-Rodz’s axles can also be changed out too, saving you money once again by eliminating the need to replace the entire truck. Surf-Rodz also have adjustable hanger widths depending on how you assemble the axle/hanger, allowing you to have 3 different widths with one set of hardware. That’s a range of 127mm-197mm on the INDeeSZ and 150mm-170mm on the RKP — lots of options, one price, one set of hardware. Not only can you change the width of the hanger depending on how you’ll be riding that day, the way the trucks are designed take full advantage of the pivot pin axis, allowing the rider to utilize the full range of motion and control turns much easier.

Still need more? How about designs and colors on trucks? Surf-Rodz is leading the way in truck graphics, and let me tell you, they look cool. Really cool. Through an anodization process (this is pretty much the only part that isn’t done in-house) the trucks are colored pretty much anything you could think of. Nice, vibrant colors that are bound to the metal itself, meaning it won’t chip or crack like paint would. The possibilites are almost endless, when I was talking to Wayne at the shop they had just found out they could do up to three colors on one piece, meaning we could see some really cool combos in the near future. While I was there I also got a sneak peek at the new camo-themed trucks, these things are just too freakin’ sweet. Surf-Rodz can also do laser engraving now and has plans to do some limited edition runs (check out the picture of me holding the “Captain America”-esq trucks) and custom engravings in the future, although right now they’re still in the planning stages. Honestly, I’d never seen any trucks that look so beautiful.

If your mind isn’t blown yet it gets better. Surf-Rodz are not only better than every cast truck and other CNC trucks, they’re half the price. The INDeeSZ will set you back $199.99 and the RKPs go from $210.00-$250.00, not too steep when compared to the Bear Precision Trucks which retail at $400. Because Surf-Rodz is run out of the same shop they machine the hardware at they can make changes faster than competitors and offer better prices than other companies who have to outsource the work. What’s that mean? The more popular SZ gets the lower the price will get, making them more and more affordable. One of Wayne’s goals with SZ is to make affordable CNC trucks, allowing them to get into the hands of every skater possible.

So where does Surf-Rodz go next? Really, the sky is the limit it seems. While I couldn’t get all the juicy details, it sounds like SZ is on the verge of a couple new ventures that could prove pretty revolutionary for other aspects of the sport, too. It’s clear that Wayne is dedicated to driving the sport forward and a desire to stay one step ahead of what skaters want. I’d also expect to see Surf-Rodz starting to collaborate with some deck companies in the future to do completes thatfeature either the INDeeSZ or RKPs and possibly even more decks themselves (they currently offer the V2). In fact, just this morning Drang Longboards announced that they were designing a new line all around Surf-Rodz, an example of what will surely start becoming a trend as SZ grows more.

It was clear in my conversation with Wayne that he and his partners are excited about what they’re doing and are excited about their ability to drive the sport forward, helping skaters push the limits of what was previously thought possible. Wayne himself is a skater and is passionate about the sport and getting feedback about the trucks and input from the community on what they’d like to see. If you have any suggestions or questions about Surf-Rodz pop over to their Facebook Page and ask away. While you’re over there you may as well also like our Facebook Page too.

I’ll write a full review of the trucks themselves in the near future. For now take a look at some of the other pictures I took while visiting SZ.