By Jackson Shapiera If I could use one word to describe this board, it would be: Perfection.
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.
The answer to the giveaway question in Hopshop Newsletter number 11 was Hagbarth Strom, otherwise know as Haggy, President of ASRA. Yup he came second in the Broadway Bomb in 2002. Here is his story on what it is like to take part in the infamous push race. As told to Hop by Haggy one afternoon. I might have got some facts wrong, this blog post is just to get the feel of the event, to a bunch of Australians who have never experience NYC longboarding. Broadway Bomb is one of those iconic events. It is a mix of organised chaos, Broadway, NYC, longboarders and then gently stirred. Recipe for a great event. Start of the event is the corner of 116th and Broadway. The time of the event in 2002 was around 2pm. Haggy read about it on NCDSA (Northern California Skateboarding Association) website, which in the early 2000's was the centre of the universe for longboarding online. In the early afternoon, about 50 longboarders gathered, Haggy with his Landyachtz Chief, randals and flashbacks. As the start time got close, everyone gathered on the corners, Brian called the race start, and it was ON. It was a red light, but a hand full of skaters skated the light and started heading towards the financial district from Harlem. Broadway is four lanes of traffic separated by a median strip. Two lanes south, two lanes north. However, longboarding on roads in New york is a lot different to many Australian cities like Sydney. Although the car drivers are aggressive, they are aware of pedestrians and there is more room for skaters on the roads. In Australia the traffic runs right on the footpath. in NYC there just seems more room. At the start of the race at 116th, the road is a gradual slope south, but make no mistake this is a push race. To keep up with the fastest skaters and the traffic you need to push hard (no skitching allowed) and negotiate the road and foot traffic. Heading south from 118th street it is over 8 miles to the finish, a good 30-35 minute skate, and the finish line is the the bull statue at Wall Street. Haggy said that as the race progressed, he had no idea where he was amongst the skaters. He skated hard the whole time, skating through red lights when he could. He said what was funny, during the race you would skate up to a red light intersection with a few skaters just looking for an opening to get through, see a gap and just go for it. There is a reason it is called the most dangerous outlaw race in the world...you could die! I think every year the city throws something unexpected at the skaters. This particular year it was a Korean parade! The road was blocked with a barricade and police. Haggy without thinking just skated under the barrier and found himself skating in a parade down Broadway! He later found out the police only let the first few skaters through and made the main group go down the footpath. Towards the end, Haggy knew he was close to the lead, he was racing Brian, both pushing and swearing at each other trying to get ahead. However, Kasper beat them both. Kasper won, but Haggy got second! Broadway Bomb is run every October. Go to their website to check out all things rad about NYC longboarding. Hopefully I have inspired some Australian skaters to make a mission to the 2010 race. You know that means you!! (tell em hop sent yah) You never know you could beat Haggy's result and win, or you could die.
We ask the questions you want answered The 2010 Landyachtz range is speeding it way to Australia, available in the next month at all good skateshops. What started out with Hop asking questions about the new range has turned into an interview with Ryan Theobald and Mike McGoldrick...and a cast of thousands. Sit back, grab a cold drink, and enjoy.
Ryan Theobald Interview
Hop: The Drop Speed disappeared at the end of 2009 fairly quick. There was a lot of talk it was getting redesigned. Has anything changed on the shape? Different concave? Improvements on the shape? Or just cosmetic with a new graphic?
Landyachtz: Our original intention was to replace the Drop Speed with the Nine Two Five. Once we finalised the 9-two-5 shape we decided that they are pretty different boards and having both in the line was a good idea. No changes to it, just the new graphic.
Hop: There has always been a bit of talk around about the flex on the Drop Carve I have heard skaters say they have seen super flexy versions with LY crew and riders. Has the flex been modified in 2010?
Landyachtz: We started with the ultra super flexy version. We tested a ton of different stiffness prototypes, and everyone here loved the super soft feel. Bouncing the board off the ground while carving hard and ripping around was a blast. We had never done a board that soft before, so we went for it. People weren't as stoked as we were about bouncing off the ground, and it didn't work for guys over 200 pounds (90kg) at all. So we stiffened it up. Most of the guys at the shop with a drop carve still ride the nice gooey ones.
Hop: Dually has disappeared from Landyachtz website, is this deck gone or in re-design or in graphic update?
Landyachtz: The dually proved to be too big. There just wasn't the demand to warrant pressing another batch, so it's been axed, for now. We're keeping track of how many people are still interested, we'll see what happens. (Hop's note: It never came back)
Hop: Does Landyachtz have a list of credits for the artists or contributors to your graphics?
Landyachtz: We do, we'll publish it on our website soon. We're really stoked on the graphics this year, some of the major contributors are Jeral Tidwell, Gord Bruce, Ewok, Nathan Wilson and in house here, Tom Edstrand (Meatball) and Greg Nicholls have done a lot themselves. We will likely be seeing some work from Chili Thom as well, who has done several graphics for us in the past. All of these guys are great, we couldn't be more stoked to have them all be a part of the 2010 line.
Hop: There definitely seems to be a ocean/aqua/fish theme on the new graphics. Has this been done on purpose? Is there a single artist influencing the whole range? If you have the whole range in your quiver can it be called a landyachtz aquarium?
Landyachtz: You know, I just noticed that. We've been talking about putting a Chinook Salmon on the Chinook for years, Nathan Wilson came through huge there. The Drop Speed killer whales came from Greg Nicholls in the shop here, his design took influence from traditional Pacific North West art. Once we get a few major graphic concepts or ideas, Tom and Greg will show them around and tweak them until most of us are stoked. You can never please everyone. I think the fish and birds are another extension of being from Vancouver. Most of us are closely tied to an outdoor active life style, that creates a big bond with nature, without really thinking about it.
Hop: Is the Evo getting a graphic change in 2010?
Landyachtz: Yes, it's a bad ass sugar skull style design by Jeral Tidwell. His work is some of my favorite, check him out at Human Tree
Hop: Any race team decks in prototype? A Scoot model? Team Green model?
Landyachtz: Besides the foam core, Carbon Fiber 9-two-5 and Switch Blade, nothing.
Hop: Any news on the Switch Blade?
Landyachtz: We were aiming to release the Switchblade or the beginning of the 2010 season, but we've gone through more prototype stages than we anticipated. Rather than rush the product out in its current state we figured we'd take the time to refine the shape and make the board the best it can be. Its nearly there, and everyone here is very stoked on the current prototype. The Carbon foam core version should be available in a few weeks. Once that's nailed, we'll get the bamboo version rolling.
Mike McGoldrick Interview
Hop: How long was the prototype period for the Nine Two Five and how many different versions did you do?
Mike: I can not remember exactly how many but there were about 6 different versions made. The last proto had a large cut out with multiple holes for the base plate so we could play with the wheel base and get it perfect. During the prototype process we experimented with different concave, rocker, widths and lengths. Tweaking the nose and tail areas was a huge focus for us. We wanted to give maximum foot room while still keeping the wheelbase as short as possible. I feel like this is an overlooked part of most drop through boards and is the real design flaw in a lot of boards. Working with the designers and board builders at Landyachtz we came up with something that really is the best of both worlds, they managed to slam the trucks back into the riding platform while adding more material around the truck to give strength. At the end of it all we came out with something that we are all super happy with.
Hop: Did you have a big influence on the graphic? Does it have a meaning,can skaters read anything into it?
Mike: To be totally honest with everyone I had very little to do with the design process of the graphic. I had been working on something else for the board when Greg Nicholls showed me some stuff he was working on. I basically lost my shit when I saw his work. It took me all of 1 second to decide on the graphic. It's super quirky, random and really played into my sense of humour. I am into cut and paste style graphics with multiple layers right now so he pretty much nailed it for me. Can skaters read anything in to it? I guess that depends how deep you want to get and what meaning you want to take out of it. To be super literal I enjoy that style of design right now and when no one is watching I have a secret fetish for very dry books on economics, business and global politics. I have also download lectures and debates on the same topics. I am a nerd, so the business theme kinda works on that level also. All that aside, I just thought it was awesome, so me and Greg hi fived on it, and it was decided.
Hop: There is rocker in your new board, I'm a huge fan of rocker, it featured in a lot of old school boards I use to skate, is that where you got your influence to put rocker in your board?
Mike: I don't come from an old school skate back round, about 12 years ago I got an element Vert deck and put soft wheels on it and started bombing hills in West Vancouver. I skated bowls and banks but that is the extent of my "old school" influence. The rocker is something I have wanted in a board for a long time. The rocker has a two part job; Locking you in to the board, And aligning your legs and knees for better power transfer and stability. I have been on the production version for a few months now and the rocker feels so natural to me now, I am not sure I will ever go back.
Hop: This deck has a new type of concave, gas pedal/wedge down the side. How does that come into play when a skater is freeriding?
Mike: The gas pedals are something I have been rambling on about for years. I use to make them out of hot glue and shape the glue with ice cubes. I will go out on a limb and say that 90% of people hang their heel or toe off the side of their board when free-riding so I wanted something to stand on when we did. The gas pedal is new and its cool to be the first to implement it in to our board design, I think that in the future we will see it on a lot of boards.
Hop: A lot of new longboarders will be looking at this deck carefully. Maybe it will be their first deck, getting into downhill and freeride. Most want to know if this deck is a good beginners deck or is it more for an experienced longboarder? Will the design help them master different types of sliding and cornering?
Mike: I hope they look at the deck carefully as there is a lot to look at. The builders and myself picked apart every element of the board and tweaked it until we were happy. Once the board is pressed with symmetrical W concave, it gets CNC cut, 3 router passes to get the shape we want on the nose, tail, wheel wells and the wedges. Then they get seamlessly blended by hand. Making the board is a very complicated process, but we all feel that it is worth the trouble, the product that comes out, is something to be very proud of. I don't think that this board is something for experts or beginners only, good design just works. Any rider who rides the board will benefit from all the features. The Free-ride movement is a pretty new thing to to the longboard and is constantly evolving. Right now there are two big trends in free-riding. The first being slower speed tech stuff like shove-its, stand up pendys and slashing. The extended foot platform and wedges help pop and stomp the tech stuff. The second trend is the amplitude, over the last year the speed of free-riding has gone through the roof. The added length (.75") of the wheel base gives a little extra stability at higher speeds and helps lock in big, fast and scary speed checks and lets the rider have more control to drift through corners, as apposed to doing a revert before it. I feel that anyone who rides the board will get some use out of all the features. I really wanted one board for DH and free-ride. As long as the rider wants to get in to the downhill side of longboarding then this deck will meet their needs whether they are a beginner, expert or racer.
Hop: What is your favourite set up for your new board (ie trucks wheels bushings)
Mike: Well going back to the one board idea, the Bear trucks have been re designed and I am currently on the prototypes. The hanger has a "step-up " design giving the truck a constant turn and eliminated any dead spot when the truck is at center. The hangers can still be flipped to give positive of negative leverage on the bushings giving greater or less torque depending on how they are set up. The bushing seats have zero play with the bushing and has an ovalised lip to let the bushing perform as it was designed. I have mine set up with stock Pumpkin bushings on the bottom and yellow Venoms on the top. As for wheels, I am really stoked on the new Zombies right now. They rule. The thane in them is butter smooth at speeds. When doing some faster slides on other wheels, you can heat up the wheel and it starts to melt and get slipy. The zombies don't gloss over during big slides. I am also really feeling the stone ground finish as the wheel performs right away and is constant through the wear.
Hop: Anything else we forgot?
Mike: Yea I just want a chance to give some credit where it is due. Everyone asks me all these questions about the board and I don't want to take all the credit. Landyachtz has an extremely talented group of board builders and designers, and an equally talented skate team. Larry, Sean M and Mike P were a huge help to get my ideas built into deck. Once we had the prototypes made they were put to the test under the feet of some thrashers like Wolf Coleman and Dylan. Long story short it may be my design but it was a huge process involving a lot of talented people. Without the recourses and talent that we have access to at landyachtz this board would still be just an idea. Thank you.
Huge big thank you to Ryan and Mike for taking the time to answer all my questions
This interview was originally published in the Hopshop newsletter, send out to subscribers. It was also put on teh original Hopkin Skate Blog. We have kept it online for historical purposes, and the Nine Two Five deck is still made, so it is still relevant.
Hopkin Racing now sells Atopic footbrake soles in both freeride and race version. Everyone is asking for tips on how to apply it to a shoe. For young and old, here are our instructions plus the Hop's pro tips. It takes a few times to get it right, but once you got this skill down you'll be putting it on your resume (CV)...it is a skill every employer is looking for!! What you'll need Atopic race footbrake sole or the freeride version Shoe (preferably an old one to start and make sure you choose the shoe you footbrake on) QuickGrip glue (in Australia made by Selleys) Something heavy, preferably clamps and wood or a big table and weights Stanley Knife with a new blade Preparation Make sure both your sole of your shoe and the footbrake sole is clean. You are cleaning the shoe's original sole not removing it. If you are replacing a footbrake sole, rip the old one off. Use a belt sander or a sander to remove any old footbrake pieces still stuck on. Do not grind a hole in your shoe, that would defeat the purpose of this whole exercise. Glue the shoe It is important to apply the glue in the right way. Glue gets put on the sole and also on the shoe. It is best to leave the glue for 30 minutes before putting the two together. During this time the glue will start to dry and will shrink. So when applying the glue make sure you go a bit heavy, and over, where the edge of the sole will be because the glue when it starts to dry will shrink into the centre. The best glue job, glues the edges tight, this will help the sole wear longer and avoid dangerous sole flap. After you left it for thirty minutes, the glue has a skin on top, so you can touch it without getting it on your fingers. Weighting Press the rubber onto the shoe. Focus on the nose and heel, these are the areas that will peel off first if it is not glued properly. So the best home DIY method is a heavy table leg inside the shoe on the heel. Then put heavy items on the toe. Try not to use books, go heavy like bricks or weights. Hop's tip is to use a wedge for the nose and heel. Best type of wedge is a door stop. The pointy edge goes under the nose. Other good DIY wedge is one made out of magazine covers (not Concrete Wave, use your Dad's business magazines), newspaper can work but not ideal. Why a wedge? The nose and heel are the places worn the most, which means they curve up. You want even pressure on the whole worn curve, so the heel and toe sticks to the footbrake sole. That is what the wedge does. It helps apply pressure over the whole sole. The weighting objective is to apply even pressure across the whole sole. Concentrating on the toe and heel, the centre will always stick, if there is a problem it will be on the toe and heel. Best DIY shed job will be two bits of wood, top and bottom, clamped down. You can get away with two clamps, one for heel, one for toe. The pro solution is to use a 1cm (half inch) thick piece of ply or wood in the shape of your inner sole. This can be slid into the shoe creating a top pressure for clamping. Then get a rectangular piece of wood for the bottom. Using clamps, create pressure on the heel and toe. Again, two clamps will work, however if you have a man size shed with plenty of clamps, the more pressure the better. How many clamps can you get on that shoe? (post up your photos for a prize) The waiting How long do you have to wait? This is an important question if you have used your Mum's dining room table leg, and bricks from the garden. You can ride on a 7 hour soak. So set up the weights at 9pm, and be good to go on your first downhill run at 7am. A 24 hour soak is best. Leave for three days and it is a rock. Cutting the sole Method for cutting is a sharp Stanley knife. Must be a fresh blade or it will hack the rubber. Best to put the shoe on a chopping board (you'll find one in your mum's kitchen, if you haven't already cut it up for slide pucks) and trace around the edge. Why not pre cut the Footbrake Sole? The reason we do not recommend precut, is the sole can move during the gluing method. While you are clamping or weighing it down, it does not matter if it moves a bit because you'll be cutting it to an exact shape. Also you can apply the glue liberally over where the edge of the sole will be, as any excess will be cut off. Why Atopic Footbrake Soles? Hopkin had it's own brand of footbrake sole when this blog post was created. However we can no longer get that product. We have search and tested many products, and like you we have been cutting up tyres or buying rubber at the local hardware store. That was before we found Atopic Slick product. This is a high density product, low wearing at high speed with a high heat dissipation which will save your griptape. Once you try it you'll never be ripping a tyre apart again! Can you glue and cut my soles for me? We no longer provide this service. Your local cobbler can do it for you.