Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Wood: What to Ride On?

       You've been introduced to me, my town, and what my general commute is looking likes it's going to be, but I haven't yet made mention of any particular longboard I plan to do this on. The board itself is not in my loving arms yet, it's still going through the postal system. If you look at the image/link at the top right of this blog, you can probably make a safe bet on the board itself being one of the boards from LandYachtz. I did my research before making a purchase and LandYachtz seemed to have one of the more diverse selections of boards available, at least from what this noobie could tell. I liked what I saw; the board designs, the variety, the being located in Canada, the price point, and what people had to say about them on forums also agreed with me. I knew going into this that I wouldn't be doing anything too crazy right away and so purchasing a board specially designed for something in particular wasn't a necessity. I did have some criteria which I felt had to be met on this purchase however.
       I'm a big guy, about 220 pounds, closer to 210 on a good day. I'm also 6'3” so I'm not a very 'low rider'. My centre of gravity is a bit higher than most so I knew I'd feel a bit top heavy and figured a pin tail style board that sat well above the trucks would potentially make the situation worse; I needed some added stability. That's two of my criteria: something that can take my weight, and something that can keep me low with my head out of the clouds. From my readings and hear-say knowledge, I also knew a wider ride would help keep me stable, as would a longer board, preferably more than 40 inches. Another thing I learned would help keep the board stable was the weight of it. A heavier board can take more jostling and remain a stable smooth ride than something light weight. A weighty and rigid board lacks the flex of a lighter model, however, and flexy models also can soak up some jostling as one rides around so there's a trade off there. Trucks and wheels were of little concern during the research portion of the purchase as I knew the stock ones would keep me going for a good while until I gathered up some more knowledge and became a more competent and aggressive boarder.
       I took a very long gander at LandYachtz' selection, and narrowed it down to some of their downhill model boards. There was the Switch, Switchblade, Evo, 9two5 (this blog was very nearly “Longboarding 9-5” I should mention), Time Machine, and Drop Carve. I liked the Switch and 9two5 the most of those listed previously, the 9two5 for it's low ride despite being mounted on top of trucks and it's flat riding surface, and the Switch for it's dropped riding surface, and it's fabled rigidity and weight. I wasn't sure what to make of the concave foot holds but decided that they weren't so aggressive that they were going to turn me away from the board entirely. I knew before making my order that I'd need to consult with someone from the company and see if I really knew what I thought I wanted.
       Given my criteria for a board and what I'd looked in to, the LandYachtz rep agreed that the 9two5 and Switch were good options but that the Drop Speed also shouldn't be ruled out given how stiff it was. After briefly explaining the pro and cons of the models, he decided that for me the Switch would probably be the most comfortable choice for a beginner commuter like myself. This made me happy as my mind had kept wandering back to that board even when considering the other models. I quickly ordered one, as well as a skate tool.

       The picture above is of the Switch, of course. Aside from talking about the board's length (41.25 inches) there isn't much else that I can say having not seen, held, or stood on the model. I've probably commit a longboarding faux pas having not tried prior to buying but I'm going to trust in my judgement based on the research I did in advance and hope that my first board doesn't have to be a perfect match to how I end up riding. A link to LandYachtz to check out there full product line is at the top of the blog to the right *red and white picture) at the time of posting this, a link to the Switch in particular can be followed by clicking here. UPS are the guys delivering the board and as I look at the tracking number I see that it's currently out for delivery. Past experience with UPS tells me this is probably a lie because I've waited at home for their delivery man before on numerous occasions and he hasn't entered my little apartment building ever, opting to update the package with a failed delivery attempt instead of actually trying. I'm not sure if it's UPS policy not to enter apartments or if they're just being lazy, either way I'll likely have to wait till Monday at one to pick it up.

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