Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wheel swaps and wet socks`

Vancouver. The ideal city for longboarding. For me, because I live in it. The only issue I can hope to have is that it rains. It rains enough so that it keeps you indoors by taking advantage of the fact that you don't want to really be cold and wet at the same time you want to be shredding. I know, laziness is a factor here, and a little motivation and I would gladly push myself out under the rain. But the winter makes it so that I don't quite want to get soaking, and then have to get un-soaking by un-dressing and being cold. Sometimes I want a shred that is hassle-free. However sweet it is to slide in the rain, the unpredictability and unease that come with it are simply something i'm not keen on dealing with all the time.

I enjoy the slipperiness of the rain, but it still makes me on average, 20 percent more tense while bombing. And last time, I carved close to a car and imagined (vividly, as I am often wont to do) myself flying into the bumper trachea-first because my board slipped. And though I haven't bailed hardcore (knock on wood now) as a result of rain, I'm always at least slightly on edge about it happening. Always apprehensive that the next carve could send my skull to the floor.

What I really enjoy is adapting. Adapting by, say, putting on my super wide big-zigs and sliding around in the rain at speed. See, their duro and width ideally compensate for the wet pavement. They make it so I get (more often than not) well-controlled slides out of speed that isn't really high or low.

Then the sun comes out and I have to switch wheels. So I have my 84a hawgs for bomb-sliding. The problem i discovered, recently, is that flat spots tend to be compulsively vindictive. The moment you get a slide down that carries you perp to the pave, you increase your chances of getting a PHAT flat spot by a lot of percent. See, the next time you're sliding, its' very likely that your wheel will spin in the slide, but then reach the flat and simply stay. And then as you slide, the flat spot gets deeper and deeper, because it keeps falling into that same flat spot and stopping the wheel, ever more enhancing the flatness of that spot.

So I rotate my wheels. Now here's where longboarding becomes a logistical sport. I search wheels for their spots, find out what the cone is like, and how harsh it is. After that I plan accordingly, predicting what the best wheel placement will be for the sliding I will be doing. I have to think about which corner will get what kind of wear out of the slides, and allocate the wheels accordingly. Put the least coned to the slide-st wheel. Using this foresight, the goal is to wear the wheels out as evenly as possible, so the wheels aren't monster truck on one and bike on the other.

Lately, I wasn't able to catch the most recent flat spot fast enough. I must've had some phat slides the last run I did because I have a HARSH flatspot on one wheel. With clever planning and foresight on my side, I still wasn't able to prevent an annoying pitter-patter coming from my rear right. If ANYONE knows a remedy to flat spots, please share with me in the comments. Thank you.

So my logistics didn't work out this time. The flat spot caught me. If I was riding in the rain, though, spots of the flat variety wouldn't concern me much. Because they wouldnt' happen. For dry riding, I don't mind paying for wheels that flat out. But I also don't mind being slightly stressed about bailing hard due to rain, if it means i can slide hella fo eva. I suppose there's always a trade off. However, I would simply much rather have my cake and eat it too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chopstick Octopus

Octopus made of chopsticks --
So, this is made of 2000 used chopsticks. How? Go figure. I think she put them together then chopped and glued them then sculpted away. I really have no clue. But it looks great!

Also, here's another cool octopii related item:

Ask a ninja on Black Friday

He knows how to tell it. Expressing my feelings on Black Friday, The ask a ninja Ninja:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toonies for blood

So The toonie race...

Yeah, that was all gnarly. Who soaped the corners!?
I leave Poco like 8:45, and hitch a bus to the uni. Y'all know what went down...
We didn't race much. We said go, and clapped our hands like a strange breed of human, and gunned it down a
few times. Then we went to another spot. There was no winner. But, actually, I think I was second the first
race. First on the practice run, then the last run i'm pretty sure I won, even though that one was completely un-
officiall, and not sanctioned in any way by the dudes that were organising the shit. It didn't seem like there was any decorum
because soon enough, there was cops! They were hanging around at first, baring their teeth, and showing their claws, as it were,
and then all of a sudden there was "like six cars", reports a racer. I dodged em when I was coming down on that run,
but once they were there, clearly they didn't appreciat our presence, so we peaced.
And yeah, someone SOAPed the corners. Y'all wanna see crashes, go watch nascar! I can't believe some of the dodges I
was getting away with. I missed this guy's* tail by mere... hairs. But like a lot of 'em together. so like 3 cms give or take
Anyways, I was riding easy, and only hit the soap once, luckily. I was really carving, getting on the inside of everyone's
business, spotting the corners far ahead, a smooth line that always had enough traction. I was just on top of the board for some
reason, only had a couple skids and one crash in the five? races we did. The secret: start on the outside and wait for the crowd to
clear. So striker knew a place where we could carve hella, also indoors. And this place: a gift from the gods.
No-one was parked there, bar a few cars
NO-one was using it
No-one was in our way.
It was just for us to enjoy, all ours. We thrived.
It was
... a magical discovery that had been passed on down to us from the longboarding elders. Wisdom that
we must use wisely and only in the wee hours of the night when the police officers are asleep
with doughnut crumbs in their 'staches and their gun in their hands.

So I am gonna shout out to my big zigs and how awesome they are. Also gonna shout out to Marco, and the guy in
the red shirt 'cus I cut him off. 'Feel ya, bro!' Without the thick contact patch and the not too-grippy duro,
I would've been a complete loss in the wet patches of our second locale. Our new baby had steep-ish one-story
ramps around the lot with tight turns directed in half by the thin rubber barriers that resided in the middle
but that was nice. There was a defnied lane this way, and I think it allowed for some good dodges. Like a
few times i took the wide route to get around a crash, and i could launch right into the outside lane. It got
pretty tight around the apex's, cause peeps were slipping out due to spread wetness, and later on due to some
...not cool. You're lucky i'm not a hostile guy, but whoever you are, don't do it again!
Whatever. I get grouch when my shredding is impeded or interrupted. Whatevs, it was so dope we skated it like
10 times, at least! Strike went back to the o.g. spot but we stuck around to shred this one 'cause we were all
shredding it to death. It's basically a long right-hander, with a speed bump on the last turn that I always
carved hard around. It was hella lean on that turn, just lifting my hand enough to get the outrigging over the
bump. A few times I came pretty close to the walls of the small, rubber barrier. My shoulder hurts. ONe time i ran
into a guy and hella smashed my elbow. Hard pavement. Shock all the way up the arm to the JAW, of all places. I
took a breath and kept riding the rail. There were a few gnar bails, but that's because everyone's so stoked to get
down they all either catch up with eachother or slide out and make the path littered with wet-wheeled outta-control
shredders. I learned that you must go wide in the rain, and EASY on the carve. Stay on top of it. A few times
I slithered back to the right direction after slipping a tad.
I really came to appreciate how many ways one can control the directions one's going and how their turn will go. There's
so many inputs into it. I was really learning to respond to the corner and Adjust where I was in relation to the board.
And it's so fun when it works, it feels like you're really riding a curving wave. Doing everything to stay on top of the
carve. That's why I didn't always want to be first, if I tried to do that I was always running into other dudes or sliding
out 'cus I couldn't figure out my line through the fallen. Although I'd say half the time I got through 'em all, it was
terribly good fun dodging bro's off their boards. I was just not able to handle the wet until about... later when I
realised low is the way to go. In da middle, not in da club. Now my knees hurt.

So for SOME reason, we decided to leave to try the last place out. Don't know why we chose to probe the security guard, but
he only showed on my final run, and if he would've told me to go, I would've gone. But instead he said "You're under arrest"
To my shocked yet guilty mug. Yes, my expression was one of shock and bewilderment, as it just moments before had been one
of good cheer and joviality. A good fun, you caught me, I lose, kinda attitude I had. But he decided to block my way. So I
wanted to get to my friend, throw a hug around' the guy, maybe rough his hair up a bit with joy of seeing that my ride has
not left, and pounced through a hole in his defences. He pushed back. And lo, my noggin whent a nockin' on the edge of the
elevator frame. Metal. On head. Ouch. Blood.

So I freak out, I mean, where was he coming from, getting off on using such drastic measures? He had been all, "I told you
already" And I'm all "No, dude, you did not literally come up to me to tell me to leave. And, to be truthfull, as soon as
they probed our track, instead of just prowling as they were before, I called it my last run. Then I was outie. New spot.
But he said he seen a guy with my same board and helmet and shirt. I could've picked something more under the radar. Eh.
Fok 'em.
I am telling him that he should be worried, and he's all saying I hit him. We had a spat. Lots of
shouting involved. So cops come 'round, Everything settles down. I was actually shaking, my head was hurting. And I was
very amped. I was also cold, my wet shoes and socks, not to mention sweaty kneepads were cooling off. I just couldn't
belive this guy. He didn't even say sorry! And now he's saying I hit HIM! Assault! PshA! And then there was some threat
charges he wanted to bring around. But I'm all getting cleaned up, guys are touching my stuff, cleaning it 'cus it's
bleeding. I made sure to tell him that we were using the other locale because there was noone there and noone to disturb
so we took it. I told him I didn't come there 'cus I had nothing of interest with so many police officers prowling around.
So He actually calls the medics over, to make sure I'm alright, and they put one of 'dem fake stitches, that's really just
a real strong peice of tape but it does the trick pretty good. I'm sealed, I should be in a day, but no playing with it.
Cop comes back over and tells me now that he has kids, feels bad that he bus'ed mah head op'n, and also that he gorges him
self with food over-extensively which makes his capillaries and veins constricted, not providing his brain with enough
oxygen to calmly and without prejudice and angst respond to a situation. He pissed me off. So the guard is gonna drop HIS
charges, if I forget about MY charges. How rich, eh? The medics are cool dudes and they calm me down hella. So I get sent off.
Always be calm and collected with the officer, because I know he wants to hear the story, and he gets so much bullshit that
it's best to tell him what he wants, use few words and they will be more ...empathetic. I just had to make it clear to the
other guy that he's not a cop, that he can't go using brutal, potentially harmfull force on people without abecause he isn't properly
trained to do it. A police officer is.

All in all, a very lucky night. I feel like lady luck wanted me from the start, and so she's all trying to do me favors 'n stuff.
I mean, from the start, I was dodging all the accidents and I ended up winning. You can se me HERE:
I'm at 2:30, passing on the inside, past the dude in the red Tee.

THEN, the cops let me go with JUST enough time to catch the LAST bus out of UBC, which I wouldn't have caught if the driver hadn't
slowed down. He turns out to be super chill, and buys us all coffee!! Thanks, lady luck.

Remember, people. Small acts!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Toe-sides and fat slides

An Ode to my board.

I love you

I have also thoughroughly fallen in love with physics. The act of, and results from opposing forces dancing a fine line of balance, sailing along while standing still. Flying between opposing air particles, deflecting and disturbing as few as possible while going as fast as possible. It's a good feeling.

Today I toe-slid for like 3 hours almost, railing the same corner over and over, just hitting it faster and faster. Today I really grasped a few things. That if you want a turn, you'll have it. It'll all depend on wether or not you get low enough. Truthfully, sloth on your board and loosen those knees and nerves and you can rail any corner. Spot it out early, eyes up, and you'll put yourself in place for it. My legs really got worked these last two days, My arches feel like they've never been loved. Foot massage for me, anyone?

I love dropping into a corner and adjusting my body position, legs and knees moving to keep my center of gravity above the rail, using outriggers called hands to stabilize, pushing into the ground, attacking the corner. And I can see the potential in this. It's beautiful how much is possible with this sport. Just look at the short "We got d'em purps" with K-rimes, swizer and kelley with louis pilloni bombing some mountain in cali, probably. I, personally, want to be there.

So a heads up. If you haven't listened to the Gorillaz "every planet we reach is dead" while carving you haven't really experienced experience and really should. Also, O Green world and of COURSE dirty harry.

Shred always!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Van City All DAY`

Getting back from a one-month hiatus from shredding, what else could I do but hit up south van? I stopped in to Landyachtz to talk and see what was new. The good folk there set my board up for downhill. See, I figured my board could shred the gnar straight-line style. I mean, it's pressed, it's basically an evo but with zero de-wedging in da back. But it DOES have the deep haunches in the front, with simply an easier sliding geometry because of the forward rake. And I got PHAT trucks that are fairly wide, defenitely look like they can handle downhill. Sometimes I do just bomb with my board, but i get wobs pretty swiftly. So they confirmed my thoughts and I got me some stiffer bushings, some 89's now, i think, instead of my old 80's. Stoked.

Left the shop in freeride mode, and followed guy's direction to school run in south van. I found this many awesome alleyways:3. But that's 'cause I got fairly lost. I didn't really mind, I had enough bus fare and I didn't really care where I went. I just wanted to carve, really. And vancity offered me quite a few quiet, sloping streets for a leisurely cruise. I would DEFEnitely appreciate moving there and doing that all the time. Although, for the time BEING, PoCo is defs a great place to practice. Quiet, secluded neighborhood with only two busy streets and a few bombs for your pleasure. Not very lengthy ones, but they're enough.

I found a little sesh -slope. A super-steep ramp that dropped down about 3 feet in one foot. That's what south van is great for, the organic paving in the alleyways. All the concrete slopes, walls, drops and carves are so fun to shred. I seshed it for about an hour, then...


I got chased out of vancouver by some light drizzle that started about forty minutes into my slope-sesh. I'm lucky it held out THAT long, I at least had a chance to get back to bombing after getting back. Which I had a chance to do last night when I bombed coast meridian.

Saturday, October 2, 2010



You now find yourself at a blog where gravity feeds desire, and adrenaline creates a passion, for going downhill.


A sport where you entrust your safety and well-being to a hand-crafted piece of wood with wheels on it. And then you go fast.

I discovered longboarding at the end of 2009, when I was in Australia. I bought a cheap longboard from a surf shop in Margaret River, on the west coast of Oz. There were some nice windy roads with butter-smooth pavement that ran along the sunny coast. I now know that what I bought was defenitely a walmart-grade board, a very flexy pine board with super wide LOC trucks and urban sk8er wheels. It was defenitely a beginner board.

So I started out pushing on the flats, as I'd only been on a skateboard a few times. my friend Dan got himself a z-flex longboard, and loved it so much that I couldn't help but get one for myself. He'd tried to teach me how to ride in an underground parking lot, but I didn't have a clue what I was doing. So I had to take what he taught me and just drill it until I got it. So the beginning was noble.

I first learnt to push on this one flat section at the top of the hill, and eventually decided, well, I might as well hit this hill. I guess I didn't know what could happen to me if I bailed, 'cause I defenitely went headlong down some of those hills, without thinking. But gradually, day by day, I got better. I was hitting steep bombs by the time I left oz, and had been carving fairly well for a couple weeks. Yet I was still at that stage where Longboarding exhausts you. No worries, though.

I got back to Canada, and discovered that we live in one of the best cities for the sport. In Coquitlam, I started hitting any hill I found, but was still trying to learn. It was a slow process at first, until about February. We had moved to Port Coquitlam, and, to explore, I took my board. And found the best hills on the first day.

From then on, I was bombing almost every day, keeping my weight directly over the front trucks all the time, because it was such a flimsy board. Luckily, the trucks were super wide and the wheels likewise, so I managed to bomb. But every day my love affair with longboarding grew. I started carving a little down the hills, and found some videos where guys had gloves and helmets and were sliding their boards like they were on water. So I thought it'd be a good idea to learn to stop, because... the speeds were fast. I had fallen a few times, but mostly kept myself under the speed limit, because I was terrified of this new love affair.

So I got some gloves.

My friend Todd and I had been hitting this one hill called foxwood in port mood for the past month or so, and in April, we made some gloves to help us carve harder. We were at the stage where we're bombing real hardcore. Without really knowing what we were doing. The gloves changed my world. I all of a sudden discovered a sport where you support yourself with all four limbs, while sailing over pavement at high speeds. I was happy to say the least. So Then sliding my long board was learnt. And I could stop, all of a sudden.

Well, If I can stop, then why don't I go faster?

Of course, I eventually started thinking of a better board, and found the Landyachtz Chinook. It was dubbed as one of the best freeriding boards around, easy to slide and stable through the corners. I stood on it at the shop and said, "whoa, this is my board." And sure enough, in late May, I bought the exact board that I'd stood on that day. They'd stop making the Chinook, and, finally having money, I was desperate to have it, so I bought their demo board. It was such a steal 'cause it was set up to the dream specifications one of the technicians had, and It was a dream. So carvy, slid like a beaut, and was super fun. I felt like I was surfing! So now, after a summer of hard bombing, I've decided to take you through my journey with longboarding. The feelings I have about this sport, since I love it so much, are going to be released through this blog. Also my progress and random rants about traffic and boardtalk in general. Join me!