Rider Profile: Henry Goguen

One of the main reasons I started Skate The East was to shine a light on East Coast skaters and give them a little more exposure. While I’ve been able to do that a little through posting dank videos from East Coast riders, I’ve been wanting to step it up a little more for some time now. One thing that’s been kicking around in the back of my mind has been the idea of doing rider profiles: short clips that introduce you to a new shredder who you might not have heard of yet, show you a little of what they got, and show people that the East Coast has some real rippers indeed. Well folks, here’s our first one.

Henry Goguen is from Washington, D.C. originally but currently calls UMASS Amherst his home. He’s a perfect example of an East Coast all-around shredder who just wants to go out, throw down, and have fun and we’re honored to have him be our first Rider Profile. Keep your eyes peeled because we think you’ll start to see Henry in a lot more places as the season goes on.

Video: SZ Playday

If you’re following along with our Facebook Page (which you should be by now) you’ll remember that I posted an update earlier saying that we had perfect conditions up here in New England and were off to take downhill runs and footage, an endeavor that proved very successful.After our visit to the Surf-Rodz shop this past week Lauren and I were super stoked about everything Wayne and his crew are doing and called our good friend Henry in for a good ole Surf-Rodz downhill session. Just like I promised I got right to work on editing when I got home and cranked out a fun little downhill video featuring Lauren Suchocki, Henry Lancaster-Goguen, and myself.


Henry: Eden Racing Maple Sparrow w/ ABEC 11 75mm Big Zigs on 10mm 45* Surf-Rodz RKPs
Mike: TR Custom Longboards Blitz w/ Orangatang  70mm 80a 4Presidents on 10mm 45* Surf-Rodz RKPs
Lauren: Rayne Baby Killer w/ Orangatang  70mm 80a 4Presidents on 8mm 45* Surf-Rodz RKPs

Video: Freezing Flannel Freeriding in CT

I won’t lie, I’m very excited to be posting this video as it’s one of the first videos that I’ve had a major hand in helping produce. Credit really goes to Original rider and friend Billy Wilson, though, who had the vision for most of the shots and did all the editing to make this video come out as well as it did. I learned a ton about filming through this process and can’t wait to keep working on videos in the future. Most of the riding is done by me (Mike DiPietro) and Billy with Jake Uterstaedt making a couple brief appearances as well.

I’m so stoked this edit came out so well and think it showcases how gnarly Billy is at mixing freeriding and freestyle  to make for some steezy tricks and all around amazing riding. Also a quick side note: Billy doesn’t wear slide gloves. Just something to keep in mind as you see him bombing fast and doing huge standies… For him, failure is not an option.

Setups and such:

Billy: Original Apex 40DC w/ Randall 45* trucks and Abec 11 Flashbacks
Mike: TR Custom Blitz w/ Surf-Rodz 45* RKP trucks and Orangatang 80a & 83a Stimulus wheels
Jake: Earthwing Hightailer w/ Caliber 50* trucks and Cult Classics (I think…)

Big shout outs go to our supporters at Original, Surf-Rodz, and Orangatang.

I Love Downhill Grand Prix: Everything You Need to Know

I know I haven’t mentioned it yet, but if you’re on the East Coast and haven’t heard about the I Love Downhill Grand Prix going on at Windham Mountain in Windham, NY this summer it’s time to listen up. Since details were a little lose earlier on I decided to hold off on talking about the event, much more is clear now and registration is actually open so let me catch you all up.

What is the I Love Downhill Grand Prix you ask? Set to take place on June 23rd and 24th I Love DH will be the biggest downhill racing event for both longboards and luge on the East Coast, period. When I say biggest, I mean it in ever respect: number of racers, course, speed, and prizes. Surf-Rodz is throwing up some major cash along with other East Coast manufacturers such as Bustin’ Boards and PhatDeanZ for the pro’s and tons of chances to walk away with gear for the amateurs. Only 2.5 hours north of New York City and 3.5 hours west of Boston the race is going to attract the fastest skaters from all over the Northeast and will draw pros from the far reaches of the East Coast and beyond along with some of the larger crowds of spectators we’ll see this year. The course itself is over a mile long with 5 technical hairpin turns and speeds reaching well over 50mph for longboarders and into the 60’s for streetlugers, with such a fast and technical course this could end up being one of the best races we see in the U.S. period, especially in future years!

So what’s on the line? Marc Dean, the event’s organizer, sent out an e-mail telling potential racers a little more about the prizes and sponsors today and I have to say, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like it in downhill racing yet — especially not on the East Coast. East Coast companies are supporting hard, and we’re so happy to see it. Surf-Rodz is putting their money where their mouth is and putting up $1,500 in prize money to be split between the men and women pro events and a ton of trucks going out to the winners of the amateur events. Bustin’ Boards is also putting up some big money, offering $500 for both the first place in the men’s and women’s pro events and Phat DeanZ throwing in another $200 in prize money. Kebbek skateboards is also contributing by making some (what should be) sweet event t-shirts. All of the sponsors listed on the sponsors page are donating some sort of gear, so rest assured even if you don’t podium you’ll have a great chance of walking away from the event with some killer swag.

Registration is now officially open and costs $135.00 to register for one class or $165.00 to register for two (Luge/Pro Skate, Luge/Am Skate, Luge/W’s) Skate). Unfortunately there’s no way to tell who has registered yet and who hasn’t or how many are signed up like there has been in races past, so we’ll just have to play it by ear and keep you updated as we hear more. If you want to race make sure you have both a full face helmet and leathers that are in good repair as both are required, along with slide gloves, to race. All racers will be required to undergo a pre-race technical inspection for all your race gear and safety equipment so be sure everything is in good condition as no refunds will be given on race-day due to you being unprepared. Check the rules for all the information.

Beyond all the serious racing and prizes at the end of the day this is a race in the true spirit of longboarding and will offer some fun events to meet other racers and enjoy the company of a bunch of like-minded individuals. The last two runs on Saturday will be a classic luge/butt board race that’ll change things up a bit from the rest of the Grand Prix. The race will be open to both men and women and will require a $5 entry fee to be paid right before the race. Heats will be of 10 with the top 3 advancing to the next round and will feature a Les Mans (running) start. It’s a skate what you brought type race which means if you run it on your downhill setup it’ll be kosher, including your 10mm Surf-Rodz! Then Saturday night, after the first day of warm-ups, racing and butt-boarding, the I Love Downhill masses will be taking over the Cave Mountain Brew Pub in town for some great burgers and great brews along with great company — sounds like a fun time to me.

We’ll keep you updated as we hear more but so far this is shaping up to be one of the events of the summer for sure!



Video: Lauren Suchocki and Douglass Schmidt Battle Centars in Western MA

While the title isn’t true, hopefully it got your attention. Deep in the hills of Western Massachusetts we do find Lauren Suchocki and Douglass Schmidt battling a gnarly downhill run with what looks like an incredibly fun set of hairpins.

While we’ve seen some GoPro footage from Lauren and some others from this spot before, this is by far the best edit done there yet. Schmidt is once again showing his constantly progressing camera and editing skills in a quick yet fun and well done edit (they shot this just two days ago).

Since most people care, Douglass is riding a Lifelong Seeker with 176mm Surf-Rodz RKPs and 81a ABEC11 Flashbacks and Lauren is riding a Rayne Babykiller with 176mm Surf-Rodz RKPs and 80a Orangatang Stimulus wheels.

Surf-Rodz: Igniting an Industry (Part 1 of 2)

If you’ve been a Skate The East reader for any amount of time you’ve heard about Surf-Rodz and how they’ve been changing the precision game by putting prices through the floor and making trucks that ride like nothing else on the market. This past Thursday I took another trip down to Surf-Rodz to talk a little bit about both what Surf-Rodz is doing to help promote and change the longboarding industry as well as how they’re quickly changing the precision game. For this post, however, I’m going to focus on how they’re trying to change the industry as a whole, part 2 will focus on what they’re doing in terms of efficiency and how it’s a huge win for skaters everywhere.

When I say that Surf-Rodz is innovating constantly, it’s not just in the truck game (although I did see something special that I can’t talk about yet ;-)), it’s in the industry as a whole, and they aren’t just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk. When I first went down to Surf-Rodz this past Thursday I had some questions I wanted to ask that got the conversation started and showed me just how forward thinking Surf-Rodz was. If you’re a fan of the Surf-Rodz page on Facebook then you might have seen an image similar to the one I have here on the right, and if you’re like me you asked yourself, “What the hell is Surf-Rodz doing on a race car?” Luckily, I’ve got an answer, and it’s indicative of the future of longboarding. First, let’s actually look at who Surf-Rodz is sponsoring.

Rit Pustari Racing is a Top Fuel Drag Racing lead by none other than, you guessed it, Rit Pustari from Norwalk, CT. He’s been involved in racing for the past 15 years and boy does he go FAST. I’m talking 0-100mp/h in 0.1 seconds — ONE TENTH OF A SECOND! Know what else goes fast on asphalt? RKPs…are we starting to see a small connection? Surf-Rodz Road Division and Pustari Racing, both fast on asphalt, both appeal to a similar crowd. It goes even further than that though, it’s about breaking down the walls that are currently constricting longboarding from growing to it’s full potential.

So how is this all going to help longboarding as a whole? Attention. When Rit roars down the strip, although it just takes a matter of seconds, the lasting impression that Surf-Rodz is going to make on everyone from other drivers, pit crews, commentators, and spectators is putting the sport in the minds of many people who haven’t touched a skateboard since they were in their teens. It brings new attention to the sport that will inevitably attract other major sponsors, such as Nike, Addidas, RedBull, EA Sports, ESPN and similar companies, meaning new and positive change for the sport.

Expect to see some ultra-high quality banners popping up at events

These bigger sponsors will allow the sport to grow and solidify. Their involvement would mean bigger downhill and freeride competitions with real prize money, allowing a professional longboarder to make a living off of the sport they love and work tirelessly on. Could you envision a 6 city downhill racing and freeride tour? With real prize money and TV coverage, maybe with the finals even making it into the X-Games? I know I can, and it’s a vision that has potential to be converted into reality. Involvement from big, outside sponsors also means more innovation for the average rider as the sport’s increased popularity will bring incentive for bright minds to come up with new ways to design, and produce, efficient and effective longboarding equipment. Lower prices for better products? Doesn’t sound like a bad thing if you ask me.

So why haven’t we seen this before from other big players in the longboarding industry? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the sport is only now ready for it. With 1,200 racers at the Broadway Bomb in New York City this month and over 900 at the Board Meeting in Toronto at the beginning of the summer it’s clear that longboarding isn’t a fad that’s going away. In fact, it’s a movement that has been growing strong and steady and is just now ready to break out and grow into its shoes, so to speak.

Do we expect to see other longboard companies running out to sponsor race cars or sports teams? No, probably not, but we think you’ll start seeing a trend of longboard companies and other, “mainstream” sports companies starting to intermingle a little. It’s a sign of our sport starting to grow up and mature while still maintaining it’s special and unique culture that we’ve all come to know and love. It’s an exciting time to be in longboarding right now, we’re seeing the future become reality every day, and the best is yet to come. Surf-Rodz is leading the way by breaking out of the industry to spread the stoke, props to them for having the vision and the cajones to go ahead and take the jump! Cheers to making it better for the rest of us!

I’m including a gallery of some of the other pictures I got while down at the shop. Check out the custom board that Surf-Rodz did to match the car, talk about swag!

Ladies and gentlemen start your engines…

Review: Surf-Rodz SZ Freeride (wheels)

Cory Medlar is a guest writer and skater from New Hartford, CT. Cory, aka CMED, currently rides for the Surf-Rodz CT Collective and TR Custom Longboards and has been longboarding for 2 years. I’m thrilled to have him contributing, below is a brief bio and background on Cory.

I am a 26 year old thrill seaker born and raised in Greenville MI, and moved to BEAST COAST 3 years ago for work. I have been an avid snowboarder for the past 17 years and always got bummed when the season came to a close, one year a friend suggested longboarding to take my mind off the seasons end as well as a great way to stay in shape in the off season. I dove in head first and found I love it and it parallels snowboarding well. My favorite part of longboarding is getting out and seeing how far my legs can take me.I now ride for the Surf Rodz CT Collective as well as TR Custom Longboards, both making and maintaing great gear. I just began sliding this year and love how much fun it is to go fast…sidewayz!!! I love riding my Surf Rodz INDeeSZ for miles and miles in the rain or shine and sometimes even the snow! I enjoy tinkering with my set-ups and constantly trying to dial them in, trying new bushing, wheel, and truck combos are what I do to keep it fresh. My favorite events are those that take place in the hustle and bustle of NYC (Central Park Race, Mini Bomb, Broadway Bomb)…nothing like weaving your way through a city thats soooo alive! Now a days you can find me out and about skating in the Litchfield Hills and New Hartford CT. “Longboarding is my religion and the streets are my pulpit!”

Wheel Stats: 70mm, 83a, 45mm contact patch, Sideset wheel
Tested on the following setup: SZ Freeride V2, INDeeSZ 10mm (197mm), 10mm SZ Precision Bearings,  Red Cone Solidz (roadside), Black Barrel Solidz (boardside).
Rider Stats: Cory Medlar, 155lbs., 5’7″, Regular Stance

I picked up a set of SZ Freeride wheels to check out the Freeride capabilities of them. I got them home and went directly to the Waterbury parking garage to break em in doing some hard carving on the rough pavement. I have to say right outta the packaging these wheels were impressive, the HUGE lips seem to be what gives them their excellent grip, and the wide contact patch is great for creating a smooth slide. I took the wheels for a few hard carving runs to wear off the mold release and the fun began. I carved them for about 20 mins before I could not wait any longer and started throwing some small standies to begin wearing them in. I let my buddy Kyle K. (a standup CHAMP) give em a go and he had ZERO problems whipping the wheels all around toeside/heelside it did not matter! I then continued to bomb the dirty tight garage for around 2 hours and was pleasantly surprised at just how much grip an 83a Freeride wheel had in the dusty garage at those speeds; I credited that grip to the large flexi outer lip of the wheels. The lips are VERY DEEP and they also have a slight contour to the inner edge allowing the lips to deform more and hold a line, but they also have a rounded edge so you can get a SUPER easy release for the slide.

I also took these wheels home to the Litchfield hills and New Hartford for some slide sessions to get a good feel for how they slide at speed on good pavement. Most of this slide testing was performed at around 25-30MPH. I was able to take these wheels up to speed and throw toeside/heelside predrifts with ease! The release point of the wheel is VERY consistent and the wheels are easy to control during the slide, it’s almost as if you are constantly on the edge of grip whenever you need it! The slide is almost “creamy” as the release/slide/regrip all has very minimal chatter giving way to a fast, quiet, and easy slide. I found myself being able to pick where I wanted to go with these wheels during the side and it only took a small flick of the foot to go there!

I normally ride Orangatang wheels and more specifically my Freeride wheel of choice was the Durian 80a formula…NOT ANYMORE!!!!! I LOVE MY NEW FREERIDESZ, and with a price of 45 dollars that is way more competitive than Otang urethane. As far as durability of the SZ urethane it seems to be holding up to my abuse quite well, I have been riding them hard for 3 days now with a 3 hour garage session on them as well as 4 other slide sessions of at least 2 hours each and about 30 miles of just straight pushing (pushed great for a 83a 70mm wheel). So far after this amount of riding they are showing a slight cone due to the fact that they are sideset, the wear almost mimics that of an ABEC 11 Flashback (but in wear pattern only not overall durability). The thane does not seem to shed too quickly and there is ZERO ovaling/egg shaping of the wheels, I am not a super heavy rider so your wear results may vary a bit but IMO the durability is quite good for that price point.

Oh yeah I also forgot to mention the WHITE WHEELS LEAVE KILLER THANE LINES RIGHT OUTTA THE WRAPPING!!! If you are looking for a wheel that will leave thane lines all over but don’t wanna sacrifice performance to get it, then these are the wheels for you! The other cool thing is that since the wheels are white they can be custom dyed with Rit Dye to get whatever color that you want.  So get out there and go fast SIDEWAYZ!!!!!
I hope to update this review as I log more time on these wheels, but based on the riding I have done so far I would recommend these wheels to anyone looking for a GREAT Freeride wheel that can also get it done on the DH side of things. Thanks for creating these chunks of Urethane Madness and please don’t stop your conquest of all things precision longboarding!!!!!

Cory M.

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.