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Downhill Skateboarding

This is an article I just wrote for CoolTools, the best thing since the Whole Earth Catalog.


Downhill skating is like surfing; carving back and forth on long downhills. Note: you guys who skated as kids and have quit. The technology is way advanced these days. Decks, trucks, wheels, designs. It's a different skating world. If you've ever skated, you've got the motor skills (due to "muscle memory"), and you'll be surprised at how much fun you can have skating downhill with today's boards. Here are three unique skateboards meant for downhill, as opposed to acrobatic street and ramp skating.

Loaded Carving Systems


This is my board of choice, after maybe 20 boards. The decks are made of 1/2 cm strips of vertically laminated bamboo (with the grain running truck to truck,) sandwiched between layers of fiberglass. The decks are convex (from end to end) and you can pump to accelerate, gaining speed from the flex of the deck and rebound from the truck bushings and wheels. They produce a graceful and flowing ride. I've got a Dervish model with Orangatang wheels. Check out the film clips on their website.



Dervish complete board w/wheels
$315
Available from Loaded Boards

Carveboard



This is a whole other animal. Surfers love them. They're heavy, have adjustable air pneumatic tires, and the deck tilts off springs so you can carve insanely tight angles. I use one with tires deflated to about 10 lbs. pressure to be able to skate a steep local hill that I can't handle on any other board.

43" Carveboard
$450
Available from Carve USA

Landyachtz Evo 2008



From British Columbia, land of heavy-duty mountain bike riders and downhill skaters, come these downhill racing boards. The drop-down decks give you a lower center of gravity and great stability at high speeds. Being closer to the ground makes it easier for skaters to get a padded glove on the ground for sliding (to slow down).

Evo 2008 w/Gumball wheels
$240
Available from Landyachtz

Safety Gear

1) Loaded sliding gloves -- best ones available. When you fall face down, these save the skin on the palm of your hand. They are also used for sliding.

2) TSG Force 2 knee pads.Top of the line; you can put these on over long pants.

Small House

This little farm building is at a winery near Philo, Calif., and is nicely proportioned for a tiny house plan.