Skate Setup Twenty Seventeen

In December I purchased and put together a brand new setup.  I had severely sprained my ankle in September ( refer to a previous post ) resulting in a three month rest period and the new board was a gift to myself  on my return to skateboarding.

The setup in question is a 8.5″ Hockey  Skateboards “Team” board, Jessup grip, Thunder Trucks ‘149 highs’, Reds bearings ( with spacers ). 54mm Prize Fighter Cutlery wheels and Indy bolts. This board represents a slight departure from my previous ones as it is wider with a steeper concave. To match this difference in width I have switched to 149 Thunders. I’ve never had a set of Thunders and was excited to try them out. The wheels and bearings are the same make and size ( of wheels ) as the last two sets have been.

So what attracted me to the new setup you may well ask? My answer would be that throughout the mid nineties until present day I have rode thin boards ranging from 7.5″ to 8.25″  but now want to try out something different. Back then and until very recently the boards I rode reflected the technical tricks I wanted to try. In the nineties I was a fan of the Girl and Chocolate companies. The  riders on those teams rode boards under 8″ wide and if that size was good for them it was good for me too. The trucks I rode were low to the ground and the wheels small allowing for a fast flip of the board and an overall light setup. My skating ethos back then was all about technical advancement in terms of tricks. Although I appreciated the simple act of rolling I wanted to keep up with what everyone else was doing and the setup I rode reflected this.

Roll on 2017 and with a nagging injury to contend with my skating has gone back to basics. I want to feel more stability on my board thus the wider deck and high trucks. I appreciate simpler tricks and no longer skate all day learning every flip trick there is. The new wheels and bearings are fast and give me an advantage on the rough streets. The Thunder trucks took some getting used to being slightly wider than my old ones but are now working wonders and appear to grind in a solid fashion.  The Hockey board has great pop ( wood by Paul Schmitt ) with its steep nose and tail and seems very resilient to wear and tear. At first I thought it wouldn’t flip as easily due to its size. Well I proved myself wrong with my ‘flagship flips’ popped and locked. Just cruising around feels joyous on this board, compromising a small amount of technical prestige for a ‘soul skating’ setup I feel has paid back in dividends and my skating has almost had a rebirth ( or maybe its all in my head ? )

Would I recommend this setup, most definitely! It works for my skating and tricks. The board has a great shape and construction. The wheels haven’t flat spotted and have retained their shape and speed after several sessions. The trucks turn and grind well. I’m really stoked to be riding something wider and more stable. My flat ground tricks feel solid and my size eleven trainers aren’t hanging over the edges. I’m going to keep an eye out for another Hockey board to replace this one when it gets old.

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Easy Tricks Vs Difficult Tricks

Different Skateboarders have different tricks in their repertoires unless your names Eric Koston then it would appear that you have every trick in the book.

Tricks come and go and for the average skater you’ll find that some stick around. For myself nollie heel flips are nearly always there and feel natural to me, to others a regular heel flip feels easier than the nollie version. Often when the tricks feel natural they look better and it’s always good to have ‘go to’ manoeuvres.

I’ve learnt a lot of moves that felt unnatural to me and never pursued them any further. Tricks like nollie hard flips were very trendy in the 90’s and if you could do them clean you were getting props! I did some damn decent ones but they never felt natural so I stopped doing them soon after.

Frontside Shove-its, 180* Ollie’s, straight Ollie’s and Nollie’s are tricks that form the foundations ( well at least for me ) of my street skating. They’re classic manoeuvres. I love front shoves and they always feel good. 180 No Comply’s too!

360 Degree Flips are harder to keep on lock but they’re my favourite flip trick and I definitely wouldn’t want to lose ’em! When you get a good ‘Tre’ other skate tricks pale in comparison.

A nice long board slide or nose slide also feels timeless. Tank it towards the Kerb or block. lock in and ride it out. Not forgetting simple grinds where you feel that resistance as truck meets kerb. Wallrides.. almost forgot those too.

Compare this to more technical tricks which take longer to achieve and for your average skater are very inconsistent to pull off more than once. I’ve spent hours trying technical tricks and losing the plot trying to land them. Getting stressed and chucking my board!

I’m looking forward to skating fast and stringing lines of tricks together down the street as opposed to mastering one manoeuvre. I want things to flow but obviously add some flips and slightly tech stuff in there. Too much focus on one trick surely kills the vibe?

No Comply Front Shove

What a Rad and fun manoeuvre this is.. It’s goofy and not as hard as harder tricks like 360 ollies.

Nose slides, frontside shove it’s and no comply’s are slacker skate tricks. Skating was always a slacker hobby to me. Who wants to work hard whilst skating?

Even so these tricks are still difficult to learn and it’s all very subjective as to what tricks are easier than others. Enough now, grab your board and try these, they’re so much fun and look ‘the shit’..

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The Commander kicking it at Corby

Worcestershire rennaisance man Gaz Hughes AKA ‘The Commander’ skates for fun with a disregard for what ‘people think’.. He lives on the fringes of skate tramlines by free styling it in his own space and time..

Here’s his Corby edit filmed by a randomer and using his ‘tools of the trade’ ( gaffer taped shoes! ).. Check it and go wreck it..

Crack Nollie

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Street skating pioneer Ged Wells pops a ‘Crack Nollie’.

How would I describe a ‘crack nollie’ ? Roll along and hit a bump or crack with your front wheels whilst unweighting  the front of your deck and you will do a nollie without having to tap the nose. Some people refer to the trick as a Chinese nollie and others a pavement ollie, whatever you call it the trick is a lot of fun to do. Relatively easy to learn as theoretically if you can roll you can crack nollie.

I first saw the move done in an old RAD magazine hand me down. The skater was the U.K street skate legend Ged Wells and he made it look so damn cool. You knew it wasn’t the hardest tuck, I mean you don’t even have to Ollie but something about it captured my imagination. It was simple, smooth and looked cool. Maybe that’s all skating has to be. With all the fuss over going big or getting tech in the modern World of skateboarding a sequence from 1989 is still one of the coolest things I’ve seen.

My memory fails me as to when I learnt the manoeuvre. I remember living on a street with lots of bumps in the pavement and on the way to do some ‘real skating’ I would crack nollie out of every raised bit of pavement seeing how high I could get. It’s almost the skate equivalent of skimming stones. If you think this is crazy try them for yourself. Push along and hit a crack front wheels first and feel the bounce. Tell me it’s not a great skateboard trick, definitely one of the funnest.

Ankle Agony Aunty

I think you should chill till next year. The doctor recommended ten weeks rehabilitation so you’d better do three months. You’ve got a severely sprained ankle.

A lot of great skates have gone down this year – ‘ count Ya blessings kid!’  Lots of filming ( too much at times ) . A kerb that never ground has been made grindable. A ledge that never slid now slides. Gaps were conquered and tricks learnt. Slams were had and tricks were lost.

Now it’s time to chill. Edit a video section of all the footage.At Christmas buy yourself a new setup and shoes to skate in.  When you begin again it will be like a rebirth. You will gain a new perspective, a fresh outlook. Till then..