The Tan Tien's have arrived in the Hopshop, I have pilfered trucks and wheels off another board for a quick set up. First impressions of the Tan Tien is WOW. It is an amazing looking board, griptape on the top is very sticky, not your average tape. The parquetry pattern on the bottom of the deck is a nice touch. Visually the stand out feature of the deck, when it is in your hands, is the two ends. The neck on each end is a lot thicker than other boards this size. The truck drop thru pattern looks the same as a Dervish. When we put the trucks on, the issue of wheelbite became a talking point. Due to the neck thickness, even with 70mm wheels, it looked like it was going to wheelbite on the edge of the deck. The Loaded warning of no 75mm wheels is correct. I'm using a sharp edge wheel, which is a bit wider than a freeride wheel. There is no bite, the Paris 180 hanger stops it from going that far around, plus not many skaters will be not be setting up their deck gangsta loose. With a freeride wheel like the 70mm Stimulus, it is not even close to a problem. Trucks are on, I've replaced the top bushing in the Paris truck with a red venom barrel. The bounce and extra lean I get is worth the effort. We could rave all day about the industrial design and set ups but you want to know what it is like to skate. First skate was my local shop run. I needed more ummm... cornflour - in the kitchen, better do that 20 minute skate up the road to get more! The Tan Tien seems lower to the ground, which is the case if you normally skate 75mm wheels. Definitely a nicer push. The bigger nose and tail feel weird. It is like I'm skating a duck or the duck bill longboard. Maybe we can nickname it the platypus. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a skateboard, I can not lazily slip my foot back and rest it on the kicktail. I'm 5' 11" (6 foot ladies with big footbrake soles), and a healthy weight, so I chose a flex 1. Most skaters will go with flex 2. I really chose flex 1 because I wanted a stiffer board. One to throw around a bit, commute on (stiffer deck is easier for me to switch push on). It seems to flex in the middle of the deck, I know that sounds obvious but it is almost like the flex pattern makes the deck have a rocker shape. That is not a bad thing, as you'll see. The trucks definitely have extra bit of life in them on this deck. I don't know what it is about Paris trucks and Loaded Boards, but the combination is perfect. The push up my home hill, the Tan Tien feels like it can pump up the hill just by carving. The carve I'm getting is almost like a slash slide. The maneuverability is awesome. Push, carve, cut away from objects. Short foot platform and hence shorter stance takes a bit of getting use to. It is not uncomfortable, actually helps make the board easier to pump. The flex to a rocker shape is helping here as well. The deck feels nicer to stand on than the Dervish, and lets face it everyone will be comparing them: The Tan Tien vs Dervish. The griptape pattern actually helps you move your feet around. Your feet are not super glued onto deck. I would say the griptape will be harder wearing than the spray grip on the Dervish, a nice compromise between griptape and natural bamboo. Kicktail and Nose When I first saw the decks and stood on a complete, the nose felt awkward. So many longboards don't have much nose and tail, the Tan Tien is an embarrassment of riches. It means you could be re-thinking your longboarding technique. After a bit of time on the Tan Tien it all sort of fell in place. The tail and nose have a sweet spot that fits the ball of your foot. Once you lock it in, a whole new range of possibilities open up. One downside to the longer tail is it is harder to flip into your hand. Longer tail means it hits the ground earlier and does not pop as high. Again, nothing a bit of practice will not fix. It was a long skate home after the shops, which is really only two blocks away. I had a heap of fun, this board just has so many possibilities when you are having a skate around. You don't need to be bombing/carving a big hill to have fun. Every object, bump, bank, ledge, gutter, crack, old person becomes another object to skate on. On that simple skate I had two people throw me positive comments on the board, maybe because I was having so much fun, or is it because this board stands out from the crowd? Gotta go, another shop run, forgot to buy something. I'll be back later. Hopshop recommended set up is Paris 180 trucks and 70mm freeride wheels. I think the rounded lip of the freeride wheel will make the board a lot more fun to skate. Reviewed by hop.