Sometimes the stars align and you have to seize the day (to mix as many metaphors as I can) – I contacted a few makers over the last few days looking for a new deck with a single or double kicktail, including the small UK maker (are we supposed to call small makers “boutique makers”?) Hecs Decks, who shared that they have just started making an evolution of their short cruiser; yet to be named, but with a kicktail. So, hey, seize the day and ordered one with a gloss Bubinga finish. 🙂
Details from the very helpful Hector (hey, just got it: Hec’tor):
835mm length (33″) with a wheelbase of 505mm.
Big round tail with a mellow angle.
Mellow concave which curves towards a peak just forward from the centre of the board.
12 ply with thin layers (“so that it’s stiffer”)
Photos of his stunning walnut first cut (and what convinced me).
Have a spare set of Paris 180cm V2s and some 4President wheels to try on it when it arrives, but may drop down to some slightly narrower trucks. Will see what it is like before deciding on what to do with the face/top; which is probably just leave it and only ride it easy and dry, like the Hackbrett, although I do have some ideas on fancy grip patterns after gripping the Kaliber.
So that’s a Zenit AB, a Jungle Board pintail and now a Hecs Decks all to come and join the growing family collection… wupps 🙂
Time to find the next deck… it struck me a while back, while negotiating up a small pavement, that none of the longboards we have currently in the family have a nice big kick tail; hence, time to search for one. Classic skateboards excluded, it is interesting that most longboards rarely have them, especially when you consider how many longboards are used for simple urban cruising.
Some of the big US makes, like Arbour, Landyachtz, and Mindless, make models with good sized kicktails.
My main interest, however, is in the rarer European boards, and preferably something that does not look like a stretched-out skateboard. A few that I have found, and that have caught my eye, are a King Lui Native, Skate Timber’s Shred Sled and the Hecs Decks Cruiser.
The Paris trucks for the Kaliber deck came with Paris’s own black 90a bushings which, for my 85kg (187lb) weight, is too soft for my liking with the board tipping too easily and feeling overall less stable.
My understanding is that Paris use the following bushings on their trucks:
Blue – 81a
Orange – 85a
Black – 90a (which mine came with)
Red – 93a
I am not sure for certain, but it seems to be a bit of lottery what bushing you get with Paris trucks – my last set came with the red 93a and this set, an identical specification 50° V2, with the softer black 90a.
With a view to trying out some new bushings, I put in 94a Mindless JuJu Race barrel+cones bushings (wanted to try a new make), which firmed up the board significantly – a night and day difference from the default softer Paris ones; although it does not feel as perfect (which could be down to the deck as well) as my Hackbrett-Paris set up with white Venom94a SHR barrels combined with Red 91a SHR cones.
Try some out…
If you are unhappy with your board or never tried different bushings, I highly recommend having some fun trying ones with different durometer ratings and see how your board responds.
Buying replacement bushings also highlighted how much some people charge for them online. I initially looked on Ebay, and Amazon, and some sellers were selling the same ones, you can get from skate shops, for more than x5 the cost. The biggest rip-off was £13, and £2.95 postage, for just a cylinder and cone; which I can buy at my local skate shop for £4. Beware folks, there are unscrupulous people out there ready to rip off the unsuspecting.
Added the stunning red 50° Paris 180cm trucks and big Orangatang Kegel wheels (with Bones Race Red bearings); although I am not sure of the wheels, they aesthetically dominate too much for my liking. I may replace with slightly smaller and darker wheels like the Hawg Mini Monsters on my Hackbrett.
The grip tape work is my own with a bit of help from some pre-cut shapes (the black pieces) which were meant for a Loaded Dervish.
Now let’s see how Alfie rides; it will be nice to have some grip with the wet weather after the ‘too beautiful to grip’ Hackbrett.
Finally, made the call on the trucks and wheels for the new gripped Alfie (Kaliber Wild Africa Affe deck) and possibly the Zenit AB deck to come. I need to see Sam’s Jungle pintail deck first before I order the trucks and wheels for that.
Alfie – Kaliber Wild Africa Affee
As always, the choice was a combination of riding style and aesthetics; and given my casual riding style, more form, than function.
The trucks are to be red 50° Paris 180cm, the wheels big 80cm Orangatang Kegals. Have gone and my usual bearings of Bones Race Reds, with the built in spacers.
Ordered from the ever excellent Skatedeluxe (the best range of gear I have found so far for the UK/Europe and great service).
Had another moment of weakness (primarily due to a friend going back home to Montreal for a family event and then coming back to London) and ordered a deck I have been admiring for some time, the stunning AB made by Candian company Zenit.
A few weeks to wait before he gets back, but it should be worth the wait. Time to consider the grip-tape pattern, although I like my initial idea of reflecting the carbon-fibre bottom on the top.
Some black 50° 180cm trucks lined up with big 80cm Orangatang Kegal wheels.
Finally got around to putting grip-tape (first time I have put grip-tape on) on my Kaliber Wild Afric Affe, affectionbately now known as ‘Alfie”.
I had lots of ideas on fancy cut-out geometric patterns, including the map of the river Thames (I will do this some day), a big African tree, and a zebra; however, in the end, my alignment and cutting skills were the limiting factors and I ended up with a much simpler pattern. I found that although I could draw out patterns on the back of the grip-tape, the knives I had would snag too much and leave rough edges, especially on curves. Cutting from the top, the rough side, was much more effective in getting smooth lines, but difficult as you can not draw on it.
Thankfully I had ordered lots of grip-tape: 60″ for a 40″ board, so I could learn and throw away my bad attempts. In the end, I opted for a simple cover with just some curves cut in the end and then cover for the ends.
Covering and trimming the grip-tape is quite easy (a few videos demonstrate it well), if this was completely covering a skateboard, rather than trying to make intricate precise geometric patterns on a longboard, it would be easy and completed in a few minutes. Next time…
I had a moment of weakness seeing the discounted Kaliber Wild Africa Affe38″ (96cm) deck at SkateDeluxe (great service and online shop – German retailer, but no issue and shipping for the UK). I have been after another drop-through since my older son appropriated my original Atom 41 Green. Loved the dark wood on it and the distinctive shape. Not sure on the trucks and wheels for it, will get it and see what the flex is like before ordering some.
My little vanity project is nearing completion with the Paris 180 trucks and Hawgs Mini Monster wheels arriving, from SkateDeluxe, for the gorgeous Hackbrett balance deck.
… and another lesson learned- remember to order the bolts to attach the truck to
the board! Arrghhh. My fault, for forgetting; great service as ever from SkateDeluxe to feel sorry for me and just send some. Thanks guys – great service.
Went with the translucent red Hawgs Mini Monsters purely for the looks, which is not really a sound reason, but they will be fine for my easy cruising on this board. This is a show board, for pavement skipping into Richmond and hanging out at the local cafes by the river – let’s be honest here 🙂
Interestingly, I could not find a supplier in the U.K for the Mini Monsters, hence, got them from Germany, but the on-line service, cost and shipping were no different to other good UK suppliers.
Happily use again. My experience so far is that the Dutch and Germans markets, compared to the UK, seem to have a slightly broader range of parts and boards available to them. Lots of great stuff available from UK retailers, just less of the rarer and small-time made stuff, especially German and Austrian made decks.