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    The 3rd Degree wheel review of Volante Morgans

    The 3rd Degree wheel review of Volante Morgans

    fast wearing wheels do feel better to shred, but does that really make them a better wheelFast wearing wheels do feel better to shred, but does that really make them a better wheel

    The 3rd Degree review crew has begun at the Hopshop, we have organized for a new wheel to be filmed and reviewed by a different rider monthly, we hope to show what's new on the market and greater your knowledge of what's out there (and what is in the Hopshop).

    Volante Morgans Wheels

    1st day shred left the wheels already oval, dijon had a mile wide smile after all that testing 1st day shred left the wheels already oval, Dejan had a mile wide smile after all that testing

    beastern suburbs its no surprise that with a hill this steep Dejan cored the wheels, but in under 5 hours total of skating.....

    like an EAGLE!!! like an EAGLE!!!

    The 3rd degree - With Liam Morgan breaking on to the scene a couple of years ago with his massive stand up slides and greasy attitude, he has set the grom world on fire. Now with his own Pro freeride wheel out and signature hair products, the loyal following that has accumulated around the world is sure to treble in size. Volante have released a high quality, fast wearing and predictable wheel. The core shape and lip design allow for amazing transition into and out of slides and ward off any unwanted flatspots by encouraging the wheel to keep spinning. The feeling of destroying thane under your feet and leaving it laid behind you is quintessential to today's freeride scene. The Volante Morgans achieve this and promote going bigger and better with each run through confidence in its release points. But with such high wearing properties will riders be buying a new set each weekend cause they core'd them already? I don't think so. Overall rating for Volante Morgans - 7.65 out of 10.

    laying thane is too much fun. laying thane is too much fun.

    The search continues for the 10 outta 10 wheel with predictable, long lasting, fast freeride features. Next week - Josh Musumeci on the once go-to wheel Metro Motions and myself on the new These 60mm Centresets. -Rob McWhinnie

    Words from Ben Hay: Elements

    Learning all the skills and how to be a good rider while having loads of fun is basically what most skaters aspire to do. Although some things cant be practiced and learnt in short time, time on the board and being witness to hundreds of different incidents teaches you a lot more. Experience is something that never stops - every rider no matter how long they have been doing it constantly learns new things and governing factors that further add to our knowledge and therefore help us to become better riders. Adapting to the prevailing conditions is vital to perform well at a race or even getting down a hill safely. Knowing what effects that the surrounding conditions may have on the way you need to ride the hill is something that is hard to be taught. Personal experience is improved by having an open mind and learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. After a certain time your brain begins to take these inputs of information and turns it into whats known as 'second nature' or 'instinct' - doing it without thinking about it. It is at this stage that your riding really starts to improve. With your skating being lead by instinct and second nature it becomes easier to put your mind on other things that become beneficial to your added personal progression. Being aware of the prevailing wind while high speed racing or riding has huge benefits - Knowing the parts of the hill where its a head wind is beneficial when planning tactics for racing or passing. Also knowing how a tail wind will affect your braking is important. Skating a hill one day with a slight headwind can trick your mind and set a standard for how you perceive the hill can be ridden. Returning to the same hill with a solid tailwind can turn what was a seemingly  fun and basic hill into a crazy fast beast swallowing up skaters and spitting them out. Newtons nation 2012 was a classic example of favourable conditions, with riders being able to catch plenty of air - The elbow had never seemed so friendly. The constant progression in riders abilitys was also a big factor but im calling a return to heavy braking the next year if we have conditions similar to 2009 when it was a 30kt tailwind hurling riders down the top part of the course. Tailwinds also affect a riders ability to slow down behind other riders - pulling out of the draft and standing up to catch some air has way less of an effect if its a tailwind. Slight speed checks or a tap of the foot are more commonly needed to slow down and keep you and your buddy's safe. Another disadvantage with skateboarding down fast and open mountain passes in strong winds is a riders ability to stay in control and on the road. Roads in mountainous areas tend to follow gullys wich can create wind tunnels were wind can funnel through, gusts bounce of protruding bluffs on the hill and can hit the rider side on forcing them off their line. As the rider attempts to fight against the sidegust to stay on the road, the gust eases initiating a high speed twitch and the skater goes down. In other situations you can also struggle to hold the line you need to make a turn. The forces of gravity coupled with a 40kt wind can be to much for a human body to control. Once the wind suddenly lets go and is no longer forcing a skater in a certain way, its easy to lose your balance as you no longer have to fight against that force and all of a sudden you fall. Alpine areas and higher altitudes or places with extreme and quickly changing climates seem to host some crazy out of control winds. Checking a new hill first before riding is always good idea. Check for damp or wet spots before mobbin' in at ridiculous speeds. Being aware of the dangers and all the aspects that govern your ride down the hill makes it safer and easier - good riders are smart riders and have more on their minds than just doing a sick skid.

    DTC Wheel review

    The Batt man introduced us to the DTC  wheels at Keira and Newtons. He won the top ten shootout on them, which was very impressive. These wheels have been around for a while, the Hopkin team first saw them on the 2008 European Tour, Alex Ulrich, founder of DTC, placed on the podium at Almabtrieb (watch to the end to see podium). We were impressed in 2008 with his performance on DTC wheels, and we spoke about selling them in Australia, however the quantity required was just not possible back then. How things have changed. DTC Wheels are exactly what the market is looking for, skaters want a high performance longer lasting wheel. We have high performance decks, trucks, bushings but why not wheels? Why is there not a premium wheel. A wheel designed to out last and out perform any other wheel. Would you be willing to buy a wheel that cost twice as much but lasted ten times longer? We know there is a market for these wheel, purely because everyone that works in the Hopshop wants at least one set. They will be in stock soon. Patrick Hurel reviews the DTC Wheels These wheels come in a 70mm (Victory), 80mm (Concept), and now in a 75mm (Gecko). Each size comes in three types:  The Grip (all rounder), The Speed, and The Drift. If you want to know the Duros for each of them you will need to interrogate Alex the DTC mastermind, but from the man himself the actual duros for the thane are soft almost super soft. Since the cores are so hard they feel normal. They are offset. The contact patch increases with the diameter. The wheels have a beveled lip on both sides. These wheels grip like Centrax, no lie I swear. Slide like butter and grip back up very smoothly (even during the first slide). For all those non believers and wheel skeptics out there, listen up. I took these to Beat the Bastard (BtB) freeride up on Mt Stuart, Queensland. This track is well known for destroying wheels, I had not ridden these wheels apart for one run down Newton's and they gripped like a mutherf@ckr. I decided to ride a more familiar wheel my 83a InHeats, at the start of the BtB freeride event. They died within 4 runs.

    83a Inheat (on the right) after 4 runs at BtB freeride, next to a fresh inHeat

    I pulled out the DTC's out (Victory Grip 70mm). After about 5 runs Mathees asked me if I had been sliding, the wheels showed no wear. At 37 runs later ( a whopping 42 runs in total) the wheels had been finally worn! I was stoked at the damage I had managed to do to the wheels.

    DTC Victory Grip wheel after 42 runs at BtB freeride (on the right) next to a fresh wheel (on the left)

    Height profile of the same DTC Victory wheels

    The concept behind the wheel is simple, a super strong and precise core that supports the urethane and therefore does not allow for deformation of the wheel at high speeds and through corners. Okay, I can hear all the people yelling out saying if the wheel can't deform at high speeds through the corner how can you get that super grip that you get with wheels like your InHeats, Bigzigs and Centrax. Well because of how strong the core is they can't have a square lip or otherwise you will get thrown off your board, this info from the Batt Man and Nicholas Robert, this is due to the amount of grip they gave. So with the bevelled lip, they slide smoothly and still grip like hell. Now due to the super strong core the wheels don't cone. The wheels just stay true like a freeride wheel, and they don't wear since you are sliding on the urethane, not shearing off urethane to scrub off speed. We also found out something really cool at BtB, the lips on these wheels sharpen as you slide. When you go for a heelside your toeside sharpens and therefore when you get to the next toeside corner you have a clean lip to grip with. This can be verified by Sakamoto himself, we couldn't believe it! So I know these are going to sell at around $120 (Australian) a set, this seems like a lot but when you think about it these will last infinitely longer than your average set of wheels, and these should be considered like premium wheels. The world's first precision wheels have arrived.

    Day 5 and 6 of the N-Tense D-Centz tour

    Day 5 Word of the day: Whare Paku (Farty-parkoo), "Shitus"! The tour continues, and Yatesy and Benbro both contribute to our murdering of the English language. Lil prayers to the rain gods paid off last night eh. Overcast and still I was just hoping for some wind, blue skies and sun. Wasn't at all worried if it was to be wet. I wanted to turn wheels no matter. Break, screw around and the sun is shining, jedus flowing. Off to the playground for the day's stoke. continued...by benbro: We awoke today with grey skies and the odd drizzle patch still lurking, but there was wind so the chance for drying roads was promising. Crew got in the bus and hit up Bodhi's favourite local pie shop. The plan was to hang at the Whangamatta snake run and skate park til it dried and after a short jam we finally managed to drag pommy Josh and Bondy out of the bowl and off to check the hills. As fun as the park was crew needed speed eh! Our location of shredding was to be a handful of good hills all throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, we skated 5 hills for the day and 3 of them were as good as you would ever want to ride, so many stoked faces, and some epic riding going down from everyone. We decided to do a lot of filming today as the skies turned blue and clear and the hills were safe enough to do some tight riding amongst the crew. I feel very fortunate to have had some epic film runs with two of the best up and coming women skaters on the planet, Ishta and Marisa. I know most of the crew have seen Robs videos from Peru of these two gals shredding, but to see it in person is truly inspiring, such confident solid riders and the best gals I've skated with. Marisa and Ishta are totally stoked to be hitting the oz scene in the next few weeks (Hop's note: this is an old news they are already here) and they can't wait to skate with and meet all of Ozzie maidens. Everyone on the tour are totally stoked at the moment, I had good runs with everyone today and the hills were sick as! The Coromandel Peninsula is a brilliant place, epic surf spots, the fishing is off the hook, big ones everywhere, and every thing a downhill skater could ask for… Back to Oz for me on Tuesday night, got a big day on some of NZ 's finest hills again tomorrow, weather's perfect, it'll be all on. Been an epic trip.

    N-Tense D-Centz tour 2012

    Thanks to all involved in helping me get here, N-Tense D-Centz, Bodhi and Speedy you guys are rad and big thanx to Jacko and Sector 9 for passing his spot on to me …pretty generous gift mate, a rare opportunity that I appreciated a lot, and congrats again on the race win champ,..be see n yo all soon. Skate safe, keep smiling……Benbro. Day 6 words by Yates mate Word of the Day: Mana = "pride" Wow what an epic morning! Stayed at a small beach village called Kuaotunu on the northern most tip off the Coromandel Peninsula! Had a ball down on the beach getting all jedusy by a bonfire, yeah Craigos ol golden beard. As Benny said, this place was epic. Down on the beach for me this morning, a lil too cool for a swim but none the less great to be at the beach in the early hours of the day. Bohdi had a hell spot for a photo up one of the roads in the area. Turned out to be hell steep, gravel and pretty gnar but then, fffffwwwwwaaaghh! butter corner with the view from hell. such a sweet place to turn wheels at first light. Off to skate the Coromandel today and from previous blog entries, you punters will be aware that its a mecca for grip and rip, dive in and surf the dropping corners, pitted styles yo! "Pumpkin Pit" was one of the hills we frothed on yesterday. We were back on our way towards Auckland. Bennbro has unfortunately gotta bounce back to the Central Coast and get his fish on! Tight lines Benny. Pumpkin Pit, as its been renamed, was epic again today. To give a run down of the set up, its about 4 minute, 3.5 kms of goodness. There's not a part of the hill I don't enjoy. The top drops in sweeping down through a gap and crosses the ridge line leading into a series of bends just asking for pitted status. Spot n Chop is utilised, as the first minute or so the rights are easily spotted and diving in getting pitted is essential if you're to hit the features. Soooooo pitted. The rights lead straight into hell mondo banked lefts and again its all pitted yo! Where are we now, hell dawg, sweep round one of the hard left bends and its roller coasters again into a left bend before a toight right hairpin. Outta that its into the faster downhill section. Spot n Chop again and rally down through two more solid lefts followed by diving rights. The first was a double apex and tight upon exit if you don't go the inside. The right that followed was suuuuper pitted and the next left was quick into the last hairpin righty that was patchy but punchable. The end couple hundo meters was shitty chip seal but whatever, so straight potato till the turnaround. I had runs down with every punter on the hill. Such a sick crew to be part of. Oh I shortened the wheelbase of the 2012 Wolfshark today by two inches and mondo grip n rip hell pitted frothing styles eh. Heading into the sun everyone's buzzing. I hear Benbro frothing on something sick. The girls at the front are getting into something of the reproductive organs????? Bondy's been grown his beard for 5 years but the current one he's rippin is 12 mnths long. golden beard bra!! Hell fact: The average men's beard grows at 150mm a year! Good times with good peeps. Blind bomb through Kopu Ranges. Rough chunder mountain bombs are a memory cherished from my time in BC. Yeah Striker! Can't say too much bout it but fun. You ask how a blind chunder mountain bomb can be fun, I say throw some sickunts all frothing on getting their jedus flowin and a few camera's to capture the moment and you can get the drift. Great way to say to Benbro, Chur Bro, thanks for the sweet as times in the land of the kuzzi eh. See ur arses hillside in a month @ Mt Kiera. Finished the day so stoked with a mondo stiffy and a few cold ones! oioioi! Adam Yates

    N-Tense D-Centz Day 4: Dawg, Jacko and the new team Jedus

    The continuing story of Dawg and his quest for hills thrills and spills Words by Mr Adam Yates esquire Word of the Day: "Tu Meke" (too mek eh) - Too Much The main plan was to get to Jacko in Hamilton by mid arvi. Usual runtime time in the morning eh. The crew are getting it down, so it all just runs pretty smooth, we're getting it organised reasonably early. Today we're chasing a road that never been sk8d on the other side of Lake Rotorua. For those that are familiar with Makara, it was to be like it! exciting!!! yeah, aghhhh, not really. Mondo rough and not anything really that exciting. Don't knock me though. still sick to be out on the road n turning wheels. Wake up and Roll ya know!! yew!! So we been learning maori words for the last two days. Bodhi's doin a hell job throwin down the local knowledge. Today's Maori word was "Tu Meke". it means too much. Yesterday's word was "Waka"(waa ka). This one I liked. It is simply the vessel that gets you from A to B. That be anything that transports your arse, e.g.: LONGBOARD or Canoe? Hamilton, again for me, but the for the Tour was to be their first visit to see the man and how he'd pulled up from his surgery. I'm sooo glad that he's got his mumzi here. Made his stay a great deal more homely I'm sure, yeah mumzi!! Lea had gone out and got Jacko a rad caramel mud cake and 23 shitty poof candles. yew!! Reckon he had no worries smashing the lot! ha. Off to Whangamate ( funga-mada) for the night. 90 minutes North of Hamilton. On the way we passed through a town called Tirua, aka "Tin town". Everything here was tin. Tin dawg, tin sheep, tin car, tin flowers. Token ozzi, Shazza (ville) has taken the challenge of makin rad words out of Concrete Wave stickers. Team JEDUS is born with everyone getting one of Shazza's DIY creations. Shitty weather has set in. nooooo. I'm really hoping that the weather clears up. Headin up the north I think we're in for some clearer weather and smoother roads. Talks been about this hill, Coromandel. meant to be pretty sweet, butter smooth and a heap of turns eh, can't wait. Lets hope the rain gods are on our side and they'll allow mondo jedus stoke sessions to take place. Bodhi again has hooked up the accommodation at a backpackers and smashing some grub Bucko's, the local pub with grub n cold beer. Please rain gods, let us see the sun an some blue skies, meke aroha ( much love). Dawg