Customizing your Longboard

1 03 2009

As I pushed off from First Ave and 3rd St. over to Avenue A and Thompkins Square Park those first few times to learn how to skate, even then I realized the Importance of customizing your longboard. There are so many changes and modifications you can make to adapt to not only your riding style, but also your environment. Learning how to skate on the streets of the LES is like a pigeon being born mid-flight at 700 feet and having to figure out the flying thing with a sense of urgency, as it plummets towards a chunky Midwestern girl trying to hail a cab in front of the Times Square Red Lobster.

The first few times were a little scary but a tremendous amount of fun- it was avoiding cabs and challenging buses, dodging bikers with pizzas and crazy fucking pedestrians, and swerving to avoid potholes and subway grates as you wildly burn through red lights. It became evident that maneuverability was of utmost Importance, and it was crucial to tinker with your longboard setup. This means everything from wheels to trucks to shape to grip tape. These are some friend’s boards that are unique expressions of form, function and art.

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Theseus Williams (featured in above video) and his reborn Loaded Pintail are a dangerous duo. It was on this board the towering Korean carpenter rode t o a record breaking victory at the 2008 Broadway Bomb. When I stopped by his crib last week, I got to check out the latest modifications. The steampunk inspired deck sports a hand painted brassy bonsai sun on the bottom, and a sleek copper double pinstripe on top. It also features altered trucks, copper washers and wheels

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(Earthwing Superballs 78 mm), a custom brass bumper, and a pair of Devil’s Tails on the bottom (middle). This remarkable bamboo board is both quick and responsive, and ideal for the urban ride.

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The next custom longboard was hand crafted by my buddy Q’bn. This creation was inspired by his first board, a chubby shortboard from the early 90’s built to carve a turkey. Shaped from a piece of 1” birch ply rumored to have been struck by lightning on two nonconsecutive occasions, this board is solid. The underside has additional woodworking around the wheel wells to prevent wheel-bite when viciously carving, a light wood stain and inlaid wax design and a mismatched set of Earthwing Superballs (clearly a popular NYC wheel for a variety of reasons). This board cruises down the street like a pirate ship, vigilantly patrolling the hills of Wash Heights, and is the first of many Q’bn creations.

Fuck generic stock boards with cheesy graphics- this is NYC, and if you don’t personalize your board, you’re just another cog in the machine. Next time I will get to work on my Sector 9 and customize my grip tape, paint the deck, and add a few lights to my longboard….if anyone wants to share their unique longboard modifications, add a comment or shoot me an email.

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