Zach Viele: The Pucks

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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

 

Metro Motions 78a Review

Metro is a skater owned company managed by none other than Buddy Carr. They offer four freeride wheels: the Motion, Links, Spyders and Micro Motions. I got the chance to get a hold of the set of 78a yellow Metro Motions to skate, and I can definitely say that they’re a killer wheel! I was able to skate them on a technical downhill run; smooth pavement; and some chundery, rough pavement, which they held up extremely well with no chunking or ovaling.

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I tested these 78a motions on a fast technical downhill run, which consisted of smooth and rough sections.

Metro Motion 78a

Photo: Mike Blackman

The slide was more than predictable and consistent; They were not randomly icy or randomly grippy at any point at all. A really good thing about them was that they killed the right amount of speed — not too much, not too little.

On the opposite spectrum, the hookup was incredible! It wasn’t that hookup that grips up really quick and gives you a little wobble, or just doesn’t hook back up; It was a really controlled push-back that kept you right where you needed to be.

The release point on them was not hard, in fact, it was actually quite easy and forgiving. Not one time did I have a scary moment of near-highsiding. Now when you think of a slidey freeride wheel, grip probably does not come to mind, but don’t fret! I managed to grip some hard turns as well as a corner with “cat scratches”(little divots/strips left on the road from construction trucks) while going pretty fast.

The durability of these wheels were actually quite surprising! They do not wear too quick at all, yet they do leave some noticeable, yellow thane. I’ve been continuing to skate them hard at multiple sessions since first mounting them on my board and they still haven’t even touched the inner lip yet.

To conclude this little review of the 78a Metro Motions, I would definitely urge you to give these wheels a try if you haven’t already. Whether you’re just learning how to slide, or an experienced skateboarder, these 78a Metro Motions will definitely do the trick and stoke you out. From smooth pavement to rough pavement, the consistency of the slide, hookup, and release point were an A+.

- Mike Blackman

Thanks to Alex Liu for helping edit the above post. 

 

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.

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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. 

Spring Wheelabrator — 4/13 in Lisbon, CT

Photo Credit: Richard Barrett

Photo Credit: Richard Barrett

Attending Wheelabrator has become somewhat of a rite of passage among southern New England skaters having been going down twice a year for a while now. The emphasis with the event is that it’s not a contest, nor a nontest, but simply a gathering of skaters for a dope day on varied terrain. It’s going down again this Sunday, April 13th so read on and get ready for one of the most stoke-filled nontests (non-contest) of the season!

All levels of skating experience are encouraged to attend this event and no one should feel intimidated, the sole purpose of this event is to have #FUN. 

It’s a pretty cool spot that features a narrow and fast bike path with some killer turns that are super sketchy and terribly fun in packs, a straight downhill run for people to practice pack runs, and a straightforward slide hill; it has something for almost every rider at almost every skill level. The other dopest part: with the exception of other skaters coming to the event, there’s virtually no traffic.

Plug “Wheelabrator Industries” in Lisbon, CT into your GPS and you’ll clearly see where to go and where to park once you get to the hills.

Check out the official event description:

“The most fun longboard gathering in the area is going down again this spring at the same place as always!

Wheelabrator event is a gathering of like minded souls for the purpose of skating and having fun. There are 3 distinct hills:
The main hill which is a 30-35mph (max) 2 lane fairly straight forward hill, it’s a good place to practice your tuck, it’s 8/10th of a mile long and rewards a good tuck, it’s also fun to draftrain, get cozy and get silly. Then there is the slide hill which has a right and a left turn. Wide enough to slide softwheel or tech

The Bikepath is always the crowd favorite and is a narrow path 1/3rd of a mile winding through the trees you can make 30mph on it though the last 2 turns which can get pretty interesting in a tight pack on a narrow path.

Some really good sessions have happened at wheelabrator and as a location it deals with crowds very well which isn’t always true of skate spots. Runs will be taken, slides will be made and everyone is guaranteed a great time.”

What better way to start off the skate season then a stoke filled event like Wheelabrator? 

Check out some of these video links from previous Wheelabrator events:

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.”

 

Kai Monroe Spring Raw Run

Kai Monroe Downhill Design Video

Our homie Kai Monroe started making quite the name for himself at the end of last season when he started dropping gnarly videos on the regular, killin’ it at events, and got picked up as a first round pick for Blood Orange’s Am Team. He just dropped his new raw run for his sponsor Downhill Design wheels. The homie shows that despite the cold and sometimes wet winter, his skills didn’t get very rusty. This video doesn’t do his shredding full justice, but shows that Kai definitely goes hard, check out his little kiss with the snowbank at the end as proof.

Leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought.

East Coast Mac Sighting

For those of you not too familiar, East Coast Mac is the man that’s usually behind the lens when it comes to Team Mids videos. Mac is a humble yet gnarly dude and is a grade A chiller through and through; to top it off he ends up getting some of the most killer shots of fast east coast downhill skateboarding.

Recently Mac hit me up and showed me this video from when the Team Mids boys loaded up the Mids Van and headed down to North Cacka-lacka. Being one that likes to stay behind the camera more than in front of it myself, I was immediately stoked when I watched this video. This is one of the east’s gnarliest hills on the east coast, showing that Mac can definitely hold his own. This time, Jack Traynor and Matt Deitch get behind the lens instead of in front of it to film East Coast Mac as he charges this classic in style.

Watch for his game of peek-a-boo in the second to last right hand corner.

Video: Chris Getting Raw

As we, ever so slowly, emerge from the depths of a dreadful winter, the weather, and roads, are becoming more and more conducive to skating. Chris and I took full advantage, strapped the camera to the car, and pressed record. Chris finally got to put some real wear and tear on his 82a motions, and, as you can see, he definitely digs them. Spring is here, go skate.

Video: Ben D Truckin’

Our boy Ben DeSnyder left warm, always sunny New England for cold and cloudy California, but we won’t hold it against him because he’s reppin’ the east hard and showing suckers what’s really good. Watch as Ben hauls ass on some moist southern California canyon roads, truckin’ hard on his Valhalla prototype. We’re stoked to see Ben doin’ his thing and making some waves.