How To Be a Kook

With a new generation of skaters on the come up, I couldn’t stay quiet much longer. The fact is, the quality of kooks has been declining at an alarming rate, so like Brian Peck teaching you BS shuv-it slides, I’m here to lay it down and crack an egg of knowledge over your heads. My topic today is How To Be a Kook. Get ready, cause we’re about to make an omelet in this bish.

What is a kook, you ask? A kook is that person that comments “This video was gnarly!” but gives it a thumbs down on YouTube. They’re the one that asks where every spot is on every picture they see online. They ask what setup you’re riding, especially if it’s already listed somewhere. They’ll blow spots and take pride in it, then look for the next one. It takes a special person to be a kook, but you can do it if you try. Just follow our simple steps:

Step 1: Fix Your Facebook Name

First things first, before you even get your fiendish setup (and we’ll get to that later, trust me) you’re going to need a Facebook account. Use your real first and last name, but make sure to use one of your skate credentials, like “Longest Toesides in CT,” as your middle name. Why? Because it’ll make you more effective for…

Step 2: Make Friends

Add Friend and Message: a kook's best friends.Friend every single sponsored longboarder you’ve ever heard of. If you run out of names, start friending the friends of the sponsored longboarders you just sent friend requests to. If anyone rejects your friend request (especially if you’ve never met nor talked to them) just keep sending them friend requests until they accept. If they still don’t accept you, hunt them down on Twitter and Instagram. That’ll also flow nicely into…

Step 3: Stay Informed

Find every single person you just friended on Facebook and stalk…I mean…follow them on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Vine. If you need to, create accounts on all of those services. Extra points if you start dressing the same as them and recreating all of their photos/Vines.

Step 4: Show You Care

Comment on everything they post. If a longboard is in a picture, ask what the setup is (ESPECIALLY if they list what the setup is somewhere already) and how much everything costs. It’s also good practice to ask where the spot is if you see a road or people skating in a picture. Advanced kooks will also tell the person that posted the picture that their wrong about facts they clearly know — this should only be done by advanced kooks! It’s not easy!

Very advanced kook messaging skills. Thanks to Mike Girard for the screenshot.

Very advanced kook messaging skills. Thanks to Mike Girard for the screenshot.

Step 5: Get In Touch

Message everyone relentlessly asking to be in edits of theirs, especially if you live far away, and if you can get on their team too. Emphasize that you’re a very serious skateboarder and, despite being 13, you’re a necessity to their team and future marketing efforts.

Step 6: Get Your Setup Right

Kooks need the most fiendish setupAcquire the most fiendish setup money can buy. Go online and troll through every review you can find. Make sure to comment on every post, video, and photo you see asking what they thought about it. Buy that product no matter what they say, that’s what B/S/T’s are for later, right?

Step 7: Crash the Party

Crash every session you hear about. Once you’re there, instead of skating, just ask questions about gear. Ask to borrow everyones setup and do putt tricks on it. Give it back to them and only say what you didn’t like about it. Make sure you only point negatives out, while it might come close, nothing is good enough for a true kook.

Step 8: Just Skate It.

When you’re not up to speed on where a big session is going down, go to every hill you can find and skate it — especially if you know there’s a regular crew that loves it and respects it. If you know there are people that skate it, make sure you don’t tell them you’re going to be there — you don’t need their practical advice. If it’s way out of your league, suck it up and get the road rash you’ve been craving all day. Extra points if you can make the cops come and blow the spot for a few years.

Step 9: Blow Spots

If you don’t feel like skating (who can blame you?) or can’t get a ride the next best thing to do is blow spots. Blowing spots is a great way to share them with everyone so more people can enjoy them. The best thing to do is go online and post the name and location of every run you recognize in photos and videos. If the comment gets deleted just repost it. If someone argues with

In the end…

Remember, this is just a starter guide, if you really want to be a kook, you’ve got to go way above and beyond this tutorial. Put your heart into it and before you know it people everywhere will be talking about how annoying you are, how they hope you don’t show up at their skate spot, and how they’re so much happier now that they blocked you. You’ll be famous!

This also acts as a great guide for How To Not Be a Kook if you do the exact opposite of everything we said here.

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Tutorial: How to Clean Your Longboard Bearings

For our second tutorial I decided to stick to our theme of maintenance, although this time the focus isn’t on carnage from a fall, but rather your longboard bearings. After riding hard through dirt, dust, sand, and water your bearings will eventually show signs that some maintenance is needed.

When you notice your wheels no longer freespinning for as long or as fast as they used to, it’s probably time to give them a good cleaning. If you’ve recently skated in the rain, you’ll also want to give your bearings a once over, especially if you didn’t skate the board for a day or two after. Once water gets inside the bearing it can oxidize the metal and form a thin layer of rust, creating lockups. If this happens mid-run your wheel (or wheels, depending) will lock up and could throw you off balance and toss you off your board. So, to keep your bearings in tip-top working order follow our instructions on how to clean and lubricate your bearings and you’ll be skating hard all season long. The video is below, followed by text instructions.

Step 1: Remove wheels and bearings from the board.

Using a skate tool or socket wrench remove your wheels from the skateboard. Be careful to hold onto any spacers or washers that are between the nut and the wheel, if there are any there put them aside as you’ll want them when you reassemble the board. Once the wheels are off the board, use one of the bare axles to pry each bearing out of the wheel. Be gentle, applying only as much force as needed to get the bearing out of the wheel. Many wheels have a spacer between the two bearings that sits on the axle, if this is present take it out and place it aside with the other hardware from earlier. Repeat this step for each wheel, you should end up with 8 bearings total.

Step 2: Remove Bearing Shields

For this step you’ll need a razor blade or other sharp object. Remove the colored rubber/metal shield on the side of the bearing that exposes the actual ball bearings themselves. An example of what it should look like can be seen in the video above. Once all the bearing shields are removed set them aside and give each bearing a good rub down with a paper towel.

Step 3: Put bearings in rubbing alcohol

In an empty Gatorade or Vitamin Water bottle (the wide mouth makes this much easier) pour enough rubbing alcohol to submerge all 8 bearings in. Next, put the bearings in the bottle and shake for a few minutes, check to make sure the bearings no longer appear dirty. If they do, continue shaking the bottle until they appear clean. Once they do, remove them from the rubbing alcohol and use a paper towel to dry them off. Let the bearings sit and air dry completely before moving onto Step 4.

Step 4: Lubricating the bearings

Once the bearings have completely and thoroughly dried it’s time to lubricate the bearings. Using any skateboard bearing lube, such as Bones Speed Creme or Rockin’ Ron’s Rocket Propellant, apply two to three drops to each bearing. I cannot stress enough that you don’t need much of this stuff. Two or three drops and you’re good to go. Spin each bearing around a little with your fingers to get the lubricant onto each of the balls. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to start reassembling everything.

Step 5: Reassembly

Once you’ve applied lube to each bearing you’re reading to reverse the process we took to get here and reassemble your wheels and trucks. The first thing you’ll want to do is replace each one of the bearing shields. Before putting them on those nice clean bearings, however, you’ll want to give them a good cleaning using a paper towel and then simply put them back onto the bearing and press down. Make sure to just press hard enough to get them to stay, if you push them down too far there’s a risk of them rubbing against the individual ball bearings and creating friction that will end up slowing you down.

Once the bearings are reassembled you’ll need to put them back in the wheels. I’ve heard people complain about hurting their thumbs or being insanely frustrated by this step, don’t worry though, I’ve got a tip that will save you a lot of headache and thumbache. To push the bearing back into the wheel, first put the bearing onto the axle, then place the wheel on and push down, seating the bearing into place. Next, take the wheel off and place the other bearing followed by the spacer onto the axle. Put the wheel on and push down again, seating the bearing once again. Be careful the second time, as pushing down too hard could push the bearing on the other side back out. Make sure the wheel is facing the right way and screw the nut back on. Make sure the wheel lug is as tight as it can be without restricting the movement of the wheel or else you’ll have chattery slides and lose some valuable momentum while pumping and pushing.

That’s it! You now have clean, good as new (or better depending on the lubricant) bearings. Feels nice, right? Some bearing lubricants require a brief break-in time before you notice a vast improvement in performance, don’t panic, just skate it for a little bit. If it still doesn’t feel right repeat the process as you might not have used enough bearing lubricant.

If you have questions leave them in the comments or on our Facebook Page.

Tutorial: Road Rash Care

While there are plans for a whole bunch of tutorials on longboard care as well as trick tips I figured I’d start the tutorial series off with one that every skater will inevitably encounter: road rash. Road rash happens when you fall on asphalt, there’s little you can do to prevent it (aside from wearing full leathers, and even that’s not fool proof) and once you do it hurts like nobody’s business. So what do you do once you’ve taken a hard spill? First of all get up, dust yourself off and make sure you’re OK (since you’re wearing your helmet, you shouldn’t be too beat up).

Note: I’m not a medical professional nor am I claiming to be. The advice I’m offering here is what I’ve learned through both personal experience (that’s some of my most recent road rash in the picture) and from reading other people’s advice and talking to doctors. If you have questions about your injuries talk to your doctor.

Cleaning

Before you can do too much you need to clean the wounds and get the dirt, sand, rocks, and whatever else has managed to get into the wound. This is going to hurt, most likely hurt bad. The easiest way to clean the wound is to jump into the shower with warm water. Be careful as to not go too hot (it’ll sting much worse), keep the water luke warm and let it run over the wounds. Scrub the areas with a wash cloth and some antibacterial soap, don’t sure too much pressure as you could make things worse. Just use moderate pressure and let the water and wash cloth do the work. Once the wounds are all cleaned up get out and pat yourself dry.

I’ll say that again, PAT yourself dry instead of wiping water off. Pay special attention to the road rash as it’ll hurt if you end up wiping it with the towel. Just pat it all dry so that when you put the Neosporin or bacitracin on the ointment will stay on the wounds and be absorbed by the healing skin.

Bandaging

There are lots of different options for bandages and some debate as to wether or not you should cover the road rash at all. From both what I’ve read and doctors I’ve talked to covering the road rash for the first 5 days is a good idea both to keep things out of the healing wounds and keep things from brushing up against it. The more you can keep out of the healing road rash the less you’ll have to scrub in the future, it’s well worth it. Covering the road rash for the first few days will also absorb all the fluid and blood that will “weep” from the wound. Weeping is normal for the first couple days, you’ll see a rust-colored fluid draining out from it, keeping the wounds covered will prevent these fluids from getting all over everything you touch.

Once the wound is dry, apply a thin coat of either bacitracin or Neosporin (be careful with Neosporin as many people turn out to be allergic to it. If you’ve never used it go for bacitracin) over all the affected areas. This will not only help keep the wounds from getting infected, but will also help keep the skin moisturized and help limit the amount of scarring you’ll have. Get used to doing this, you want to keep the wound moist with either bacitracin or Neosporin for the first few days to make sure you don’t get an infection and to keep it moist.

Now that the wound has some good ole goop smeared over it, it’s time to actually bandage it up. I’ve found that the CVS Non-stick Gauze work the best for this application. They are coated with an almost plastic film that keeps them from sticking to the wound and still allows them to be super absorbant. For the areas that got really ripped up these things work wonders. If you just have a little road burn (the skin has been broken, bruised, darkened but not raw) the CVS Non-stick Advanced Dressings work really well too. They are a somewhat see-thru mesh coated with petroleum jelly (which will also help keep the wound moist) that will keep things off the healing skin. Securing these needs to be done with a roll of gauze as they don’t stick by themselves. Roll the gauze as best you can over the wound and secure it with a piece of medical tape. It’s best to not tape anything directly to the skin around the wound since removing the tape could do additional damage. Simply tape the gauze to itself or tuck the end into itself and it should stay pretty snug.

Maintenance

Now that you’re all bandaged up you need to simply maintain the wounds. Change the dressings twice a day (after you shower and before bed work well) and reapply more bacitracin or Neosporin each time you change them. If you’re bleeding a lot or weeping a lot you might want to change them more often, do what you think feels best.

Once the wounds stop weeping and the wounds begin to show signs that new skin is present you can switch away from the bacitracin or Neosporin and use either petroleum jelly or Aquaphor (the dermatologist’s duct tape) to keep the skin moist. Again, this will help prevent scabbing (which also reduces itching, score!) and scarring later on.

You want to keep a close eye on how you’re healing. Watch for any signs of infection and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call a doctor. Keeping the wound clean and moist will help you get back to skating quickly and minimize permanent damage. You should notice the pain will diminish significantly every day and by day 3 or 4 you should be able to shower with little to no pain. About a week out the wounds will begin looking like they’re much more healed up and at 2 to 3 weeks you should be close to healed up. Everyone gets better at their own pace though, so be patient and diligent at taking care of your injuries.

Finally, I really can’t stress it enough, if you have real questions, see a doctor! Otherwise happy healing and happy skating!

Update: Our friends at the Northern Skate Alliance have posted a page dedicated to photos of “collateral damage” received while skating. There are some gnarly cases or road rash and some pictures with blood so beware.