WORDS & PHOTOS Jake Grove
Welcome to our June, 2017 edition of Tried & True. Through this constantly growing monthly product feature we are excited as ever to showcase a new collection of innovative, unique, and top-quality skate gear from across the industry—gear that we’ve tried ourselves and found to be true to quality skateboarding fun. Sit back, relax, and check out a few of our favorite skate goods this month:
Moonshine Rum Runner “Carbon” Deck
The Carbon Rum Runner is a board that has stood out to us from the crowd in design, durability, and overall quality. With a carbon composite build making it stiffer yet lighter than the standard Rum Runner, this board is built for the fastest and most demanding downhill skaters, and will stand the test of time, speed, and all-around riding without holding back. Coming in at 35″ long, 10″ wide and multiple wheelbase options between 23.5″ to 26.5″, the Rum Runner is a downhill machine, yet it’s medium comfy concave and micro-drop rocker also lend it to be a performance freeride setup. Going further into the build of this board, the Carbon edition comes standard with a two-ply carbon-composite wood core and 60D double-shot urethane rails which make it sealed waterproof, resistant to warping, delaming, and twisting, and able to handle impact greater than most anything on the market.
Our crew has put the Rum Runner to the test through a wide variety of riding conditions, and have witnessed this board glide through water, fly down hills at high speeds, and even take a fall or two off some moderate cliffs; it stands up to the test and is a finely tuned downhill beast. We are highly impressed with the build behind Moonshine’s lineup, and even more so with this carbon edition of the rum runner. We recommend riding a 180mm or 10″ truck on the Rum Runner, at a 44° for downhill, and 50° for freeride. Slap some round lipped 70mm freeride wheels on for a capable sliding board, or some 75mm sharp lipped wheels and take this tank up to speed!
Moonshine has been crafting top quality skateboards and longboards out of their USA factory, the “Distillery”, and continue to raise the standard for quality and durability through each of their boards.
Check out more from Moonshine here!
Sector 9 “Shaun Ross” Pro Board
Local Oceanside shredder and all around rad guy Shaun Ross has been one of our favorite skaters for years, going hard in everything he does and skating without holding back. If you haven’t seen his skating, we highly recommend checking out his full-part up on Thrasher. Anyhow, after years of being on the top of the Sector 9 skate team, Sector 9 is pushing a pro model series of pool and street boards designed with Shaun with the idea to skate every feature, pool, ditch, and barrier in the way.
“The Boss Pro” Deck by Sector 9 is a 32.5″ long and 10″ wide pool-styled board. With a 15″ wheelbase and solid hardwood construction, the Boss deck is built to handle all Shaun shreds; which is just about everything from pools to ditches to rails to DIY. This deck is part of a multi-board series, which also includes an 8.8″ street shape alongside this directional model.
We setup our Boss Pro Deck with some 215mm trucks, and a 54mm 101a park series wheel, and recommend a similar setup for all around pool and transition shralping. We are truly stoked on Shaun’s pro model deck, and can’t wait to further put it to the test on our future skate adventures. Sector 9 has been making boards out of San Diego, Ca since 1993 and has hosted Shaun as a team rider for many of those years.
Check out more from Sector 9 here!
Arsenal Cast Trucks
Through the past few years, Arsenal has grown to become a popular reverse truck brand among downhill shredders far and wide, and continues to craft both precision and cast trucks capable of dialing in a variety of downhill setups. The cast version of Arsenal trucks is a performance truck for Downhill riding, and comes in a black and raw finish; available in 165mm and 180mm widths as well as a 50° and 44° baseplate angles. Built from hardened steel alloy axles, grade 8 pressed in kingpins, tight deep bushing seats, and T6 heat treated alloy hangers and bases. Simply put, these trucks are built precise, solid, and specifically to meet the need of freeride and downhill stability.
We have pushed arsenals to speed through a range of downhill and freeride situations, and find that these trucks are designed precisely, and when customized with aftermarket pivots and bushings can fit near every rider’s specific needs. That said, Arsenals do come with high quality bushings from the factory, and were also very responsive yet stable straight out the box. We recommend the 180mm for a wider downhill setup around 10″ wide, and the 165mm for narrower setups, and recommend experimenting with both the 50° and 44° baseplate options. We have also heard great feedback on running these trucks as a split angle setup, with a mix of the 50° and 44° plates.
Arsenal Trucks have pushed quality designs through downhill and are no longer a new name to the scene, but a growing and trustworthy brand. Based in Central California at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Arsenal has pioneered their trucks with a great sense of rider feedback through their backyard downhill run gems.
Check out more from Arsenal here!
Krux K4 Gold Standard Trucks
The K4 Gold Standard trucks by Krux are an 8″ traditional kingpin truck ideal for a variety of skate setups and styles. These trucks have a ride height of 55mm, sitting them close to industry standard for similarly styled trucks, and a 5.35″ hanger with a heavy-grade 8.0″ axle. Krux was founded in 1989, and they have been making their signature hanger hole trucks with quality construction and a stock bushing set-up that feels perfect from the very first push.
These trucks are ideal for ledge-wizards, rail-huckers, pool-bargers, slappy-grind-soldiers, and of course tacoshop-crusier. Krux come in a range of widths and boast one (if not THE) most diverse range of colors and patterns. Bottom line is this: Krux are a proven to perform and all-around truck that rides and grinds superbly right outta the box. Get em, grind stuff, slide more things, and pop both an ollie and a top.
Check out more from Krux here!
Rad Influence; Jimmy Riha Wheels
The Jimmy Riha pro wheels are one of the latest additions to the rad wheels lineup; taking a well deserved place in the pro “Influence” series. With a 63mm diameter, 44mm width, and 34mm stoneground contact patch, these wheels are designed with freeride in mind, and provide an extremely smooth, predictable, and even-wearing slide. The centerset “Crown Core” provides ample support for the 80a urethane, and with its centerset placement and rounded lip are flippable to maximize the life through freeride. It’s called “Rider Approved Designs” for a reason; these wheels are designed by skaters for skaters and have been perfected with input from a range of industry pro’s.
Jimmy Riha freerides just about every hill with a style that consists of a little bit of everything, and this wheel is built to support that skate-style. We’ve put these to the tests ourselves, as well as watching Jimmy kill a few sets, and are highly impressed with the feel of this slide; it has an even and predictable breakout, even grip to slide feel, and with the supportive core has proven even wear and to be long-lasting. The 63mm size makes it a more compact wheel that can fit a variety of setups, and we’ve found it ideal for everything from larger freeride topmounts to skate-everything double kicks. For a perfected and quality sliding wheel, look no further than the Riha Influence!
Check out more from RAD here!
TSG “Kneepad Sk8 DHPs”
After seeing Kevin Reimer’s content and announcement of a downhill specific kneepad with TSG, we have waited to see the perfected design; the TSG “Kneepad Sk8 DHPs” has finally hit the market, and is one of the best downhill-specific pads we have put to the test. Coming in four sizes instead of the standard S/M L/Xl sizing, the pads fit properly for a range of riders, and neoprene velcro butterfly straps keep it in place through high speed falls. A common issue with kneepads in downhill is that many on the market are built for purely impact; the TSG DH Pads combine protection for both impact and high-speeds. This pad is designed to be slightly longer than a conventional pad and therefore protects more skin and body in high-speed collisions. The corder fabric build and extended side-leg hard cap are put in place where the most common speed crashes touch the mid-leg, and feature extra rivets to keep the pad intact through the hardest of slams.
We’ve found the TSG downhill pads to not only provide superior protection through downhill and freeride bails and slams, but also are impressed with the comfort of this pad. Even with its slightly lengthier build and extended cap, these pads are flexible for the movement of downhill riding and are comfortable through speed tucks and slide positions. These have saved our legs through moderate crashes, but if you really want to see how they stand up to speed faced by the top downhill riders, we recommend checking out some of Kevin’s videos and content.
Designed by a top downhill rider to increase the safety of a high-speed action sport, we fully back the TSG Downhill pads, and hope to see them save a number of kneecaps and calves through their use. TSG has been a leader in skate and action pads and protection for years counting. Check out more from them here!
Gorilla Griptape is a skater-run operation that pushes only the highest quality grip for a variety of skater needs. Through their lineup of “Gorilla Grip”, a combination of hundreds of scarcely-visible air-holes to prevent bubbles, high quality silicon-carbide grit, waterproof & tear proof backings, and “super-sticky adhesive” make for one of the longest-lasting grippes we’ve tried. Grip is one of the simpler components of a skate setup, but can make all the difference between a peeling slippery mess getting in the way, or a more responsive setup that makes landing the next trick that much easier.
With a standard 9″ x 33″ sheet size, we highly recommend gorilla grip for all street, pool, and similar decks. Gorilla Grip is a 100% skater-run and backed operation, and is led by the Gorilla Gang – a handful of knowledgable and professional skateboarders providing constant feedback that sets Gorilla Grip apart from the rest. Pick up some sheets of gorilla grip, and keep those feet where they belong – on that board! Gorilla Grip also has some badass designs, and with their next level of grit provide both kinds of “pop” to any setup.
Check out more from Gorilla Grip Here!
Riptide APS & Krank Bushings
Bushings are an essential part to any setup, and when properly dialed in to a rider’s style and preference can make a once “Dead” setup both precise and responsive. Riptide knows this all too well, and continues to perfect bushing and other products to fit every skater’s needs. We have rolled on some form of Riptide for quite a while, and have found their bushing to be some our favorites for a dialed in setup; be it downhill, street, you name it and riptide has improved upon it!
Riptide Bushings come in three formulas; APS, WFB, and Krank. We’ve tested a wide variety of these formulas thanks to the crew at Riptide, and have found them to offer a wide range of feel and responsiveness to a downhill truck specifically. Through their APS formula, Animated Polymer System, there is a very lively and high-rebound feel that provides an estimated 10 to 15% greater turn than other bushings in the same durometer. On the other hand, the Krank compound that we have tested is designed to change under pressure and has a greater response to the tightening of the kingpin to adjust turning-ability. Differing from riptide’s other two formulas, Krank will actually turn the same or slightly less than other bushings of the same durometer. Riptide also recommends that for the greatest control and performance, the bushings are sandwiched between cupped or precision washers.
The formula is a large portion of riptide’s knowledge and ability to adjust to rider preference, but the unique shapes riptide produces also is largely at play. Cone bushings offer the lowest resistance, which allow a truck to reach full turn; better for “carving” and sharp turning such as cruising or freeride pursuits. Barrels on the other hand offer a greater step in stability and are used for a broad range of skating applications. Unique to riptide however are the addition of FatCones and Chubbys, and more recently tall barrels for certain reverse trucks. The idea behind the FatCone is that their wide face offers the initial stability of a barrel, but as more pressure/weight is applied through a turn they offer a progressively higher resistance and lean. Chubby’s on the other hand are considered to offer the highest stability of all listed shapes, and work best with a stepped bushing seat that utilizes a secondary step in the bushing while turning, we have found these to be exceptional for high-speed applications, where precise turning is crucial.
We could go on and on about the slight, yet major differences through riptide’s bushing lineup, but will simply put it at this; Riptide offers near every bushing duro, shape, and formula to accommodate a large variety of skaters and setups, and with their lineup can step up any truck to outperform its stock-self.
Riptide has been around for over seven years, and based out of Santa Barbara, Ca has specifically engineered a wide range of hardware and bushings to meet skaters needs and provide full customization to dial in a truck or board. Check out more from them here!
Thanks again for tuning in to our June, 2017 edition of Tried & True! Be sure to check back next month for another collection and fresh skate related products!