A Loaded February: New Loaded and Orangatang Products

With their two huge product releases around the holidays last year we expected things to be quiet at Loaded until just before the 2013 season kicked into full gear, if at all this year.cooking_morongas Instead, the guys in sunny southern California decided to hit us with another 1-2 product release punch by first dropping the new Orangatang freeride wheel, named the Moronga, and following it up last week with the announcement of their new Advanced Freeride Glove.

Last winter Orangatang made waves by announcing their first centerset freeride wheel, the Balut. With their big, centerset, and exposed spoked core, new urethane formula, and unique size, the Baluts were extremely different from Orangatang’s established line-up and quickly became a favorite freeride wheel for many. As riders began using the Baluts for much faster speeds and bigger slides than originally imagined, Otang started taking note of what was and wasn’t working and went right back to the kitchen to cook something new up. The result is their new freeride wheel, dubbed the Moronga. The Morongas are using the same urethane introduced with the Baluts, known as Euphorethane, and feature a completely symmetrical shape and centerset bearing seat, meaning you can flip them any which way to ensure an even wear. They feature a narrow 35mm contact patch and the same 72.5mm height found on the Balut, making them very easy to break into a slide and predictable the entire way through. morongas_on_chubbyThey are built on the same core as the Balut, making them lightweight while ensuring a long and even wear, but addressed the issue of cores popping out of the wheels by pouring urethane all the way around the core (see update below). This also allowed for what may be the biggest change with the Morongas: the new lip profile. Much sharper and more defined than the Balut lip, Orangatang took extra care to ensure that the lip profile is maintained through the life of the entire wheel. This is accomplished in the way that the lip blends back down and into the bearing seat and is something we’ll explain more in depth in our upcoming first look and review. I’m excited to get to know them a little more and report back on what we think in the near future. You can find them at shops all over for around $55.

UPDATE: I actually got a chance to clarify this point with Kyle Chin over at Loaded. The reality is, while there has been lots of talk about cores popping out on the Baluts, there have only actually been a few recorded cases. As it goes, the internet tends to make things a bit more extreme. The real reason for the redesign was to create for the new lip profile and size when approaching a DH/freeride wheel.

me_MtTom_morongas

With the both Chubby Unicorn and Moronga releases it’s clear that Loaded is focused on upping their freeride game, something they reaffirmed yet again with their announcement of the Advanced Freeride Gloves. Gloves are a piece of gear that rarely get much love, but can make a difference in how comfortable you are on the hill and how confident you feel when putting a hand down. Loaded currently makes two glove options, the Freeride Glove and their Race Glove. The Freeride Glove is my personal favorite glove for any discipline of skating. I’ve rocked the last two versions of them and haven’t been able to find another glove that can match the breathability and support. Their main issue, however, is due to the fact that they’re almost all cloth. Because of this they’re susceptible to much more wear and tear from accidentally putting fingers down, crashes, and grip tape than leather alternatives. The Race Glove is a much beefier alternative that features a leather construction and carbon fibre knuckle protection. They look nice and provide the protection you want when going fast in an unpredictable downhill environment, but don’t breath very well for the casual rider on the hill for extended periods of time. loaded_AFG_pictureEnter the Advanced Freeride Gloves (AFGs). Designed as a middle-ground between the two gloves, the AFGs are made of premium leather and feature a Coolmax Fabric lining which wicks sweat away from your skin to keep your hands drier and cooler than they would be otherwise. They also have a fair-sized mesh patch on the back of the hand to allow for added ventilation. They’ve also got some additional padding not found in the Freeride Gloves, especially over the knuckles, for those unpredictable moments that you find yourself pulling a Superman through the air with no clear idea of how you’ll be landing. To top it all off these gloves actually look really sharp (and we all know style points increase your skating ability more than anything else, so make sure your swagger is right). They’re retailing for $68.00 and will be available through retailers on Tuesday, February 26th.

Dane Webber, photo credit to Loaded.

Loaded Boards Kanthaka Review

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.

kanthaka2The 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.

kanthakaconstruction

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.

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A Chubby Unicorn in the Wild: First Look

With Loaded’s announcement that finally unveiled their long awaited downhill/freeride board, the Chubby Unicorn, Henry and I knew we’d have to find a way to get you guys a first look at the board before anyone else, and before our full video review comes out, so that you can have a little sense of what to expect. Plus we took some pretty juicy photos and needed an excuse to post them.

When you first pick up the Chubby Unicorn or stand next to it, one of the first things you think is: this thing looks long. Coming in at 42.25″ long, this thing isn’t short by any means (especially since I’ve been riding Bustin’s 36″ EQ for months). In fact, I had to reposition a few other boards in my trunk to get it to fit in without sticking out too much, a first for sure. What’s so deceiving about the length, however, is the fact that the wheelbase is actually only 28.25″ long — meaning that extra board is found in the fatty and super comfortable kick tails.

 

The kicks are fat, fun, and super functional. Big enough for most of the pad of your foot to stand on, the concave also runs through the kicks making for the meanest pocket I’ve ever felt on a longboard kicktail. It feels like your foot actually belongs on the kicks and makes you want to use them more and more.

The W concave is super fat and does match the arch of your foot very well, keeping it aggressive where you want it and mellow enough to stand on for a while. The closest thing to the Chubby Unicorn W I’ve felt is on the Lifelong Seeker, however the rails on the Chubby Unicorn really set it apart and make the W stand out. Despite the aggressive and fat W concave, there is still ample room for the rail to rise back up, making for a super locked-in feel and pocket when you turn your feet at an angle when tucking. The W is also super useful for toesides, comparable only with Rayne’s Pleasure Dome in terms of functionality. Despite being a notorious monkey-toer, I was able to keep my back foot still and still throw checks and 180s.

All and all Henry and I were super stoked on the board and came off the hill saying that Loaded did not waste one second while prototyping this board (in one form or another since 2004). Keep in mind this is all based off of our first, initial session with the board. As we ride it more we’ll learn more about it and figure out exactly what we do, and dont like and be sure to update you in the full review. We’ll try to keep it relatively quite about the Chubby Unicorn until we do our full review, when we’ll take it through Freeride, Downhill, and Freestyle to see how it shines in each category and of course put together one of the dankest edits you’ve seen yet.

Check out the full gallery below and some of the earliest shots of the Chubby Unicorn after it’s full release into the wild!

Video: Nick Burkus Birthday Edit

We’ve posted about Nick Burkus a couple of times for his appearances in Mike Girard edits. The two are back at it again to celebrate  Nick’s 21st birthday (Happy belated birthday, by the way, Nick!) and put together a great edit showcasing Nick’s signature flowy freeride style. I gotta admit, I’m generally not a fan of longer videos unless they have a central theme or really impress, but this one managed to hold my attention the whole way through.

Check it out and leave a comment with what you think.

Review: Loaded Fattail

Rider Stats: 5’11, 190lbs; Regular stance

Board Stats: Loaded Fattail Flex 1 with Paris 150’s and Orangatang 83a Stimulus wheels (with 86a Durians pictured)

Having owned a Tan Tien since June and having ridden friends’ Dervishes and Pintails before I thought I knew what to expect when I first heard of the Fattail: a flexy and rather flat board that I won’t have much fun with. Going into it with such low expectations I wasn’t at all prepared for the experience I had instead. I can say, without a doubt, that the Fattail completely changed the way I look at commuting on my longboard. In all honesty, riding the Fattail has produced some of the most fun experiences I’ve had on a longboard — period.

I’ll address the usual “Loaded haters” right up front: no, this board isn’t a perfect freeride or downhill board, but it’s not meant to be that. Introduced at the end of July and actually in stores at the beginning of April, the Fattail was meant to be a replacement for one of Loaded’s classic boards, the Pintail. For what it was designed to do, I think Loaded hit the nail right on the head in creating a super fun and super well done commuter/cruiser board.

It might sound corny but within a few pushes I had a huge smile on my face and felt like a giddy little kid, I was shocked at how much fun I was having. Being a top-mount the Fattail puts you up much higher than the Tan Tien or Dervish would, and mixed with a little bit of flex to dampen road vibrations makes for a very smooth and stable ride. Because one of the main advantages of a top-mount is the added grip, going fast around the streets and walkways on my campus, weaving in and out of people, cars, bikes, and other obstacles was never an issue and never gave me too much of a scare. Loaded is known for making flexy boards, something I experienced plenty with my Flex 2 Tan Tien that I’ve had since this summer, so I didn’t expect anything different from the Fattail, especially since it’s meant to replace the cruiser/carver Pintail.

I’m generally not a big fan of flex, as someone who likes to freeride and downhill I see it as the enemy, something that wants to make your wheels hookup when you’re not expecting it or buck you off your board at high speeds. To my chagrin, however, the amount of flex on my Fattail wasn’t nearly as drastic as I expected, and ended up being a friend, instead of an enemy. As I mentioned above the Fattail offers an extremely smooth ride, even over our cobblestone sidewalks, thanks to the flex that I was just talking about. The use of bamboo and added camber (where the board arcs upwards when unweighted) act as a sort of suspension system for the board, creating a very fun, floaty feeling while riding it. Pushing and pumping also became a bit easier once I learned how to use the flex to my advantage, saving energy by getting more power out of my pushes and easily pumping the board to maintain speed or even accelerate when on a slight decline.

The shape of the Fattail is pretty awesome and is what really makes it fun for me. At 38″ long and 8.63″ wide the Fattail provides you with ample standing space and an ABSOLUTELY AWESOME kicktail. While the front also features a slight kick, the proximity to the front truck, for me at least, made it tough to really get leverage and use it for anything too fun. The Fattail’s kicktail is a bit beefier than what you’d find on the Tan Tien, allowing me to place a good amount of my foot on the tail while still hanging just enough over each edge. Since first stepping on this board I haven’t been able to stop manualing. Everywhere I go I find myself trying to manual even further than before or just adding one in for fun. It’s the kicktail, in my opinion that really puts the Fattail at the head of the commuter/cruiser pack since it adds a bit of flair that absolutely never gets old and turns even the easiest and shortest of rides into a ton of fun. It also allows you to add in some ollies and flip tricks (although I’ll be the first to admit I don’t mix well with flip tricks) that would be impossible, or at the very least much harder, without such a big tail.

Because Loaded put out a video showing Dane Webber and Dustin Hampton absolutely SHREDDING this thing, I had to take it out and try to freeride it a little bit, right? Safe to say, this is not going in my freeride quiver. These guys are pros for a reason and made it look far too easy. I’m not a slouch when it comes to sliding by any means, but the narrow board and very very mellow concave mixed with the added grip from the topmount and my small Paris 150s, it wasn’t a pretty sight. While I’m sure it can be done, and we’ve seen it done, in my opinion you’d be better off going a different direction for a freeride board.

So that’s it really. If you’re looking for a super fun board to get around town or campus with that’ll absolutely never get old, this is it. Enough flex to make the ride super smooth and easy and a kicktail to spice up even the most dreaded commute to early morning class or work the Fattail is a more than worthy replacement for Loaded’s Pintail and will fill the commuter/cruiser spot in your quiver perfectly. Pick one up online directly from Loaded or get out there and support your local skate shop!

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for pictures, videos, and links that don’t make it to the blog!

1st Annual “Never Enough Presents Give-Away”

Alright folks, as we promised we’re going to run our first give-away now that we met our goal of 450 likes on our Facebook page today. While at first we figured it would take well into the week, the amount of support we received was almost overwhelming and helped us reach our goal before the end of the night! We recently teamed up with the Loaded Boards and Orangatang Wheels family to bring you this contest as well as a bunch of exciting content in the future. A big props to all the guys and gals over there!

As promised, since we hit our target of 450 likes on Facebook I’m going to release the details of the contest. We’re calling it the “Never Enough Presents Give-Away” and are offering up a set of Orangatang 80a Stimulus wheels to one lucky winner. We’re in the process of seeing if we can also work out a second and third place prize, but will keep you updated with more details as to whether or not we can.

Since it’s our first contest we decided to keep it simple. To enter all you have to do is:

  1. Like Skate The East, Loaded Boards, and Orangatang Wheels on Facebook.
  2. Use the “Share” button to share this post with your friends.
  3. Say something creative and tag Skate The East, Loaded Boards, and Orangatang Wheels in your status.

Make sure you read on for the fine-print!

 

We’ll be tracking entries based on the tags we get in posts, so make sure you do step #3! You’ll have until 12:00AM on December 25th (in other-words midnight Christmas Eve) EST to enter the contest and the winner will be announced both via our Facebook  Page and here on Skate The East at 12:00PM (noon) on Christmas Day. The winner will have 24 hours to claim his/her prize, otherwise another winner will be selected and given 24 hours to claim. If we don’t reach 40 “shares” on Facebook the contest will be void and will run again after the holiday — we want to make sure there’s a fair chance for everyone to win.

Good luck to everyone and a merry Christmas and Chanukah to all!

Review: Orangatang Durian 86a Yellows

Rider Stats: 5’11, 190lbs

Board: TR Custom Blitz w/ Surf-Rodz 45 degree RKP trucks @ 196mm, Loaded Tan Tien w/Surf-Rodz INDeeSZ @ 200mm; Organgatang Durian 86a (Yellows)

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while but have held off for various reasons, mostly because I kept telling myself I wanted to ride them a little bit longer and learn a little bit more about them before writing a post. After riding these since late June I finally feel like I can give some honest insight into these wheels and give them a good, thorough look at.

The Yellow Organgatang Durian wheels are 76mm w/a 45mm contact patch, they’re offset which means that you have a fat outer lip, but still have a nice sized inner lip as well. As advertised they are stone ground and lack the out of the mold feel associated with some of the grippier wheels, meaning they’ll slide much easier out of the box. The lips are also rounded, instead of square, allowing you to initiate slides easier and with more predictability with little to no break-in time and with less effort. The Yellow Durians are an 86a duro, the hardest Orangatang offers and are advertised as “nice and slidey.”

First and foremost I have to say these wheels are great if you want a set that will last. I’ve had these on my free ride boards since getting them in late June with pretty heavy use and am far from seeing any serious signs of coning or wear. I’ve also had to throw them on my commute board a few times and rode them extensively, despite being such a hard duro they still produced a smooth ride, in fact I rode these wheels for the 8.9 mile Broadway Bomb in New York this past October and didn’t have problems with road vibrations at all. They are responsive and grippy enough to make fast, sharp turns, but will also slide predictably and easily for speed checks and slides.

Because they’re advertised as a free ride wheel their ability to slide and behavior while doing so is paramount. While videos and reviews from the West Coast show and talk about a buttery smooth slide I’ve been largely disappointed up until recently at the amount of chatter they’ve produced, most of which is found while first initiating the slide. Once sliding they are predictable and for the most part smooth, although stickier pavement can cause some chatter and make for an unpleasant ride. Although they have a tendency to chatter while initing slides and on stickier pavement — especially in their younger days — for the most part it’s mild, and can be managed pretty easily by slightly changing your weight management during slides. The beating our East Coast pavement takes from nasty weather and winters just doesn’t seem to play as nicely with Oranatang’s hard hard thane as it does out West it seems. The fat lips make them easy to hook back up with the road when you’ve finished your slide and give you enough grip to make sharper turns and carves at higher speed. I have yet to have any issues with them sliding out from under me unexpectedly thanks not only to the large lips but also the large contact patch. While it provides a lot of grip I can’t help but wonder if the 45mm contact patch also contributes to the chatter but haven’t tested the 86a Stimuluses or Fat Frees to get a direct comparison yet.

The two best parts about the Yellow 86a Durians, in my opinion, have been the versatility and the durability. For a rider as heavy as me to skate, slide, and ride these wheels almost daily for the better part of 5 months with minimal signs of wear is unbelievable and can be attributed to the hard duro that the Yellows use. Despite being hard, as a commuting wheel they still are very comfortable and with their nice lips on both the inside and outside of the wheel they turn and respond nicely with the large contact patch giving you extra confidence in them gripping the road. If you’re looking for an all around wheel that you’ll have for a while, the 86a Durians are a great choice — just don’t expect them to automatically make you slide Kyle Chin or Adam Colton, and don’t be surprised if you run into a little chatter along the way.

 

Boarding for Boobies (7/17-7/21) — Maine

Three seniors in high school from Maine are taking to the streets Sunday, July 17th to begin their 150 mile journey from Ellsworth, ME to Old Orchard Beach, ME. The boys are making the ride in the hopes of raising $1,000 for breast cancer research. The trip is self-supported as the boys will be carrying backpacks with sleeping bags, tents, and other essentials and will be staying at campgrounds along the way. They plan on arriving in Old Orchard Beach on the 20th and will be around the next day relaxing and collecting any remaining donations people have on the 21st.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE THE GUYS OFF: They will be leaving from Printing House Square in Ellsworth, ME at around 10AM so be there a little early if you’d like to talk to them before they begin the long push.

To support the guys in their efforts or to make a donation contact Connor Reeves at (207) 249-9060 or e-mail him at MrRedSlippers@aol.com. More information can also be learned by heading over to the Facebook Page they set up.

Good luck boys! It sounds like the trip will be an awesome time for an awesome cause.

Tasio Shreds the Streets of Madrid

While Skate The East is meant to showcase the best of East Coast longboarding, this video was simply too good to pass up. Tasio, a young rider out of Madrid, Spain, shreds the streets on his Loaded Bhangra putting in some slides, dancing, stairs and a slew of other tricks. It’s clear that this young kid has some skills that are only going to develop into some gnarly videos for us to see in the future.

If you’ve got a video you want to see posted on SkateTheEast e-mail me at mike [at] skatetheeast.net or leave a comment with a link to the video.