Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
First, a short bit of history on this smaller company. Among those who have tried Bombsquad board, there is a bit of a cult following. Yes, they are lesser known, but they have become quite popular among riders who are looking for performance decks developed for and by riders. Wes Coleman and Tanner Leaser are the founders and have been in many disciplines of the longboard scene for many years now. Now, Bombsquad has been making bombproof products since day one (several years ago) when they noticed a demand for a beefier noseguard and began to deliver that very product to the public. It only makes sense then that their decks be just as beefy as their first products.
The Saltflat was one of Bombsquads first and most popular boards. It has gone through a few different iterations (aluminum and wooden), but their most recent is my favorite. Ladies and gentleman, please join me as we enter the Bombsquad Saltflat Throwback. Now, I did do a quick photo post when I first got this board with the specs and all, but I figure I’ll just post em again. The board is made of a solid 9 plies of tasty golden maple and is 37 inches long. At its widest point (right where your front foot sits) the board is 10.25” and tapers down to 9.5” right before the rear wheel wheels. So, it has a fairly symmetrical shape with a taper from the nose to tail and has an asymmetric concave (which I will talk about later. It is drilled for three different wheelbases, 28.5, 29.5, and 30”, so you have some options.
I used this board with two different setups. One was more slide oriented which involved 10” Fifty Caliber trucks and Sector9 Centerset Raceform 70mm 78a. The other setup was for a bit more speed and had paris 195mm (soon to try out Prandals w/ 42 baseplates) and some lime BigZigs. Both setups were mounted on the longer wheelbase.
Now this deck, as you might have guessed, rides like a responsive and agile bulletproof tank. The weight is considerable, but it is a wooden topmount speedboard so that is to be expected. The 9 plies of maple feel extremely solid under my feet and it is stiff as a rail under my 175 lbs—literally zero flex. Due to its size, however, it is still very easy to whip around for freeride and sliding and whatnot. Also, it feels great for early grabs and I actually am able to whip around 180 early grabs off flat ground—something that I was not able to easily do on my Bhangra.
I wanted to make a special note on the concave since the version that I picked up was one of a limited run with a unique concave. The concave throughout the board is pretty mellow: the front is about ½” radial and the rear is a VERY mellow W. Personally, this is a great setup for me because I like my boards to not torture my feet; I prefer mellow cave with gnarly grip (Gator is your friend!) rather than vice versa. The ½” up front keeps your foot where it should be and if there is any time you think you may slip off for some reason, the edges are wicked sharp and work great for digging in and throwing your board around.
I’m a big fan of the W in the rear mainly for when I use the board for garages or hills (every once in a blue moon). It is in just the right spot so that when I’m going around turns, I don’t have to worry about moving my foot to dig in on the edge or something. Instead, I can just keep my foot right where it would normally be while I’m a tuck and push my toes into the little pocket where the W is. I had never been a fan of W before mainly because I found it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time, but I couldn’t be happier with this mellow concave. That being said, this version of the board may not be for everyone. This model is great for those who love a directional board, something a little more race oriented. But to all those searching for a beastly topmount with symmetrical concave, there is nothing to fear! That’s because this concave was only for a limited run and they will soon (or may have even started now) be running the Saltflat throwback with a deep tub or radial concave throughout. Should be dope!
Another feature I wanted to point out on this updated 2011 Saltflat is the wheel wells. Bombsquad went and cut out some nice deep double wheel wells to accommodate tons of crazy setups on any of the wheelbases. Now, I am a fan of loose trucks so I was stoked to see the wheels wells in person—the placement is spot on. I can run my 70mm centerset raceforms on 10” Calibers with no riser on the outer wheelbase and I can run my 75mm Bigzigs on paris 195 with only 1/8” of riser. One of the huge advantages of topmount riding is that you have such great board control with all the weight you can put over the front truck. Often, however, you have to sacrifice a bit in terms of ride height, often putting at least ¼” of riser to get a desired setup. Bombsquad did an awesome job with these wells so that you can still run your favorite setup while keeping it reasonably low.
And a little on aesthetics: there is something to be said about the style of this board. I suppose it can be said for most topmount speedboards, but the simplicity of this deck really just stands out. Classic shape with no extra frills or fads going on; this board was designed for a purpose and it wants to go fast. The simple shape coupled with the vintage black and white roadster graphic makes for a hell of an attractive board, but why do I have to tell you that? Just look at the photos yourself! Though I must warn you, it is much sexier in person.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
So, you’re back for more, eh? My first review wasn’t enough for you? Don’t worry, I understand, and now that I have spent well over a month with the Loaded Fattail I really feel confident enough to get into the nitty gritty and dirty dirty of this board and deliver some insights to you! Again, I weigh 175 lbs and I’m rolling on the flex 2 Fattail with Prandal 150mm trucks, 80a otang stims, and orange otang nipple bushings. Now, if you want a bit more info you can check out my first review with photos and tech specs here, my initial opinions on the board in my second review here, or you could get some info from the horse’s mouth here.
Now in my opinion, every board has a soul intent or purpose for its creation. In a perfect world, every board would be perfect for every discipline of skating, but you know as well as I do that this is far from true. I will start off by saying this board is not one that I would label as an all around board. I will say, however, that you will be pleasantly surprised with how much ground (in both a metaphorical and physical sense) the Fattail can cover. And if you haven’t gotten what I was hinting at yet, well, let me put it clearly: this board is a mythical commuting beast, the type that will make you grab your skateboard to run an errand instead of hopping on your bike or in your car because, after all, it is only 10 miles away.
One of the most substantial characters that this board brings to the table is its weight (insert weight here). It feels like a feather if I’m carrying it around in places where skating isn’t possible and it can be likened to ridingPegasus while ripping around the streets and sidewalks. I have strapped the board to my backpack before and forgotten it was there, leading me to believe that I left it somewhere only to find it still strapped to my back after searching high and low for 5 minutes (now you’ll just have to take my word when I say this is a testament to the boards lightness rather than my forgetfulness).
Not only does the light weight help with transporting it while not skating, but it makes pushing it a breeze as well. Jump on the Fattail and ride to a friend’s house, then cruise to downtown for some lunch, head to another friends house, then hit up your favorite spot, and before you realize it, you’ve put in more miles than you can count. It also makes it convenient while carrying strange loads (perhaps a giraffe head or a bag full of cantaloupes).
Another fine attribute this plump little piece of bamboo holds is its maneuverability. This thing carves like mad! Much like a dolphin weaving through giant schools of herring, the Fattail will whip and wander its way through pedestrians and obstacles with purpose and grace. Simply lean your weight to one side and the Fattail will respond instantaneously and without effort. This is a huuuuge plus for those looking to get their urban slalom on, but it also means that this board has a bit of a learning curve. If you are used to a tank or a boat of a board, this one may feel sloppy or loose, but once you get a little more accustomed to the dance of the deck, well, you begin to truly notice how lively it is (I highly recommend getting used to it before you try shredding your local garages or hills). It’s the combination of the classic pintail camber, with a new shape and concave that gives it that little extra bit of spring.
And with all this talk of flexy, fun, and light weight you must be thinking that this board is a major push over—one that will snap if it is pushed too hard or will crack, snapple, and pop its way to your board graveyard. Well, you are wrong! Loaded went through and through the old pintail design and updated the construction to put a little more fat on its bones. It still pairs the time trusted vert-lam bamboo core sandwiched with layers of fiberglass, but now they use a new carbonized bamboo and also added in extra layers of carbon and fiberglass in the tail to make it a bit stiffer and more functional. Hearing about these extra layers gave me a new confidence in the board and lately I’ve been early grabbing and pounding down landings on this thing—I even took it to the skatepark the other day! The flex of the deck actually helps to keep it from snapping by absorbing more of the impact and distributing evenly so that it does not concentrate in a single area (don’t worry, I won’t discuss any of the physics because frankly, I don’t know them).
Now, we all know that all work and no play make Jedediah a dull boy (or girl), and so far it seems like I’ve been talking mostly about how this board’s features make it a killer commuter. Well, this board indeed has another side, one full of gusto, moxie, and enough chutzpah to kick your teeth out. The lightness is a big plus and will save your arms when early grabbing and your legs while ollieing and throwing those shuvits around. The extra thought put into the construction really let you give the board a good beating. Maybe that involves some bouncing off some stair sets or maybe it means you’ll be busting some rock ‘n roll stalls at your local skatepark; either way, the Fattails thin but beefy goodness has you covered.
Continuing with play, one has to comment on the most obviously updated feature that the Fattail offers over its predecessor: the kicktails. Kicktails have been popping up on a lot of new boards as of late, and for good reason. Extended the standing platform a few inches past the trucks mounts allows for better control and more precise movement in manuals. This, plus the little bit of upward curve at the very tip and tail of the board create one fine platform for keeping your feet where they should be and having them land in the right spot time after time again. They work well as reference points for your feet and let you focus on what you’re doing instead of having to look down at your board. Hell, you may even get some new tricks out of it by learning how to do some nose and tail blunt slides, let loose!
Like to get down and dance around? Well, although the Fattail is by no means a dancer, there is still enough room on the standing platform to throw in a bit of style while going from place to place. Even with my size 12 chunky Vans, I’m able to throw together two consecutive cross steps on the cambered surface.
And one final part where I would like to comment is the aesthetic of the deck. I mean, come on, just look at it. That is one sexy piece of wood if I do say so myself. They certainly did some fancy work to get an inlay teardrop graphic on the bottom. Treat it to a box of chocolates and a bubble bath, then go out and put some scratches on that pretty bamboo veneer and scuff up that coarse grip tape. Earn some battle scars!
Sum up: this sexy deck is a perfect pair of commuting and light freeride. Its light weight is ideal for pushing and stowing when necessary and its solid construction lets you raise hell when necessary. Its agility makes it beautiful for urban exploring and getting you from spot to spot and session to session. Though it will set you back a pretty penny (about 30,000 pretty pennies, actually) you definitely get what you pay for with the Fattail. Remember, it is designed around 70mm wheels and 150mm RKP trucks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other options.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Happy skatings and wear a helmet! Vicious sloths often hang from trees and pick at the hairy heads of foolish humans who skate without them.