Melbourne By Board

Its was way too early to be awake, but here we are at 5am in a cab on the way to Sydney Airport.
I haven’t been up this early in years.
Nick and I stashed our boards in a box, praying they didn’t get lost in a maze of multi-directional conveyor belts, and tucked to the gate. Excitement was building.

A flight, cab and train later we arrived in the heart of Melbourne to be greeted by Vault team rider and generally off-the-rails girl- Jenna Russo.

After a short introduction to the parents we dumped our gear at the Russo mansion and headed down to a local hill to begin the fun.
The road was a casual left turn into a straight away with a nearly untouched surface. It was perched at the top of a new development with a little man-made lake at the base of what was an old quarry.

The sun was setting and a full day of travel had left our stomachs empty so we piled into Jenna’s OG Merc “Bubbles” and headed to her place.

Dinner, Dinner was epic, hell I could write an entirely new blog about how good that food was. Both Nick and I were stoked – great skate, full bellies; it was definitely time for a nap.

10am rolled around and nick blasted into my room barking about wasting daylight – I was struggling for energy until we were introduced to the worlds greatest juice.
Pumped on a good breakfast we geared up and headed to a spot Jenna could see, but took us forever to find. After a few u-bolts we found the hill. A crazy steep drop into a sweeping right then left. The gradient and surface combination meant traction was a thing of the past. Nick threw down hard but the gradient got the best of him and after a few stacks and some long, long walks up we took a break for lunch.

A cheeky feed and quick review of the footage amped us up and we headed back to the quarry for some chill times and to catch a few more clips for the edit. Another day down, we loaded up on some ground breaking ratatouille and crumbed veal, smashed out the first of two sick edits and headed to the Russo band room for a jam – Jenna laid out some sweet tunes on the guitar until we were all ready to call it a night.

The day had arrived. RMIT longboardings end of year jam was only an hour away, Jenna’s wonderful mother Ida packed us a sweet lunch and we jumped into Bubbles.
The slide jam was sick, a heap of shredders threw down for one of Melbourne’s biggest events – Shout out to the RMIT boys who made it happen.

After a long day of shredding Jenna took out the girls prize and I managed 3rd in longest stand up – not massively stoked with my performance but hey good times were had. At the end of a long day we rolled back home and relaxed with the Russo clan.

On our last full day we woke up to rain, but thanks to spastic Victorian weather, it was sunny as all hell by the time we headed into Melbourne City. Jenna had taken the day off skating to study for her last ever school exam so Nick and I cruised the CBD relaxing, throwing down some flat land and generally having a swell time.

In the late arvo we would rolled back to Jenna’s for an afternoon shred that ended up becoming one of the greatest sessions I’ve ever had – the video of said shred session can be found here –

Going on trips is always rad and this one was no different. Big thanks to The Russo’s for putting Nick and I up for the week and feeding us.

See ya next time kids, Skate Safe!

I Need Your Help

Hello Longboarding world,

I need your help :)

I am startling on a video project that has been brewing in my mind for quite so time so stick with me and I’ll explain.
This all started when I was trying to describe longboarding to my parents, i want to define it, to accurately represent it, and I figure the best way to do that is a video.

So here is where you come in,

I want the video to feature as many people of all ages as possible answering one simple questions.

First introduce yourself
Hi, my name is… and I love longboarding
then answer this question in only a few words
I think Longboarding is…

If you want you can also include a single shot of you skating your favorite spot

And If you have one please include a clip of a bail (i want to have a bail montage in it)

Try to keep it under 20 seconds and don’t add any music please.

Either Upload it to YouTube and send me a link or email the video file to me
jonnyhurn@gmail.com – don’t forget to include your full name, age and location for the credits

The video is going to take me a while to shoot, keep an eye on here and or my YouTube or FB to see progress/trailer when I get closer to release.

Psycho Samurai Review

Here is the Video portion of my review:

Initial feelings -

When I first got on the board I was in love.
The gas pedals or Gas Knobs as I call them are brilliant, perfect place to maximize leverage without taking back from the platform.
The concave is deep and comfortable; it’s a sweet dish style progressive concave, locking you in without a restrictive feel.

Set up – Initially I was shredding the stock complete set up Vault RKPs and CueBalls but recently I’ve been running it with Anvil trucks and Vault moon boots. Even ran it with 82a Vault boosters for a DH race.

After 2 months -

So as of now I’ve been skating this for two months, I am notoriously rough with gear and this ninja warrior has held together through rain skates, big early grabs and many curb hits.

The extra meat around the noses gives you enough leverage to do some freestyle and also acts as a first line of defence against curb hits.

I’ve experimented with Wheel base options a bit, for a time I was running the longer option on the back and the inner most option on the front – This is great for really fast runs but I still prefer to have both ends in the inner most holes (27″) as your feet and literally right there on top of the inner bolts.

Set up on the Inner bolts you can get away with a 70mm wheel on most set ups without wheel bits issues.
I had no issues at all on the Vault RKP but lower cast or precision trucks will require a little riser if you want to run 70mm wheels. Personally I’m in love with 65mm wheels (specifically the vault CueBalls), great acceleration out of slides, supper buttery feel and no wheel bite issues make for a great combo.

All in all the Samurai is a great set up, very versatile and incredibly fun to ride.

Happy Skating.

Jonny Hurn

And the clock rolls over – An open letter to the Longboarding Community

I’ll warn you, this isn’t a review this is just an open letter to longboarding companies out there, share it, push it, post it on company Facebook pages if you agree argue if you don’t, discussion is healthy.

I am hardly an expert in the field of anything, basically I am a over opinionated uni student with a chip on his shoulder and a strong feeling of self entitlement. Hence the blog, but even in my own negative way, sometimes, I have something worth while to say.

Longboarding has become my life, my passion, I dream about it, I don’t buy nutella because of it. I don’t own a car or a bike, I push everywhere, I breath and live for Longboarding. So you can imagine how much of me dies when I see whats happening to it. Just this last year has brought so much change to the community especially here in Australia. We have seen an exponential growth in Longboarding as it begins to pierce into mainstream consumer goods. This marks on of the most exciting and dangerous times for Longboarding and i fear we have already failed. How you ask? Longboarding isn’t about tricks, it never has been. This is from Stoked Skateboards Facebook, big thumbs up to Chris Rempel who wrote it… It describes exactly how Longboarding was and should be

Its an Attitude, its not about a board, its not about RKP trucks, bigger wheels, sliding, speed or anything like that. The separating factor between Longboarding and everything else is (was) Attitude.

We have lost it.

As the community has grown the attitude has changed, It started slipping some time ago, you can see the change in the media major companies were putting out, Original is a classic example. Longboarding was never about flip tricks and grinds and as that stuff started sneaking into Longboarding promotional material the attitude started changing. Instead of holding our own and remaining true to what Longboarding is many companies bailed on that ethos, you can see it in the way videos are filmed, trick after trick cropped together rather than flowing runs, Longboarding Let go (Kyle Chen on a Voodoo Doll ripping it) is one of the best Longboarding videos ever, Abec 11′s video of James Kelly and K-rimes shredding together at a stupidly high speed is another great Longboarding video, Landyachtz are yet to produce a video I don’t like as are Rayne and comet, Thumbs up to you!  Loaded began slipping some time ago and for a time lead the charge with Adam colton popping stairs and doing a lot of old school skating, the Original blew it up with the Apex and since then every child wants an Apex 37 to do silly little foot tucking varials on. Now ALL of this I would be ok with but a side effect if this new breed of Hybrid Longboarding is attitude, the thing that defined us in the first place. Once we have lost the separating factor we have nothing, nothing new or different people on boards doing tricks, that’s all it is now. Every thing I learn I learn for a reason, I learn’t to slide so I could bomb bigger hills, learnt to stand up cause it was more fun and gave me more options in places where putting a puck down was a bit sketchy (like campus walkway). I learn’t to boneless to get up curbs and early grab to hop down the only place I would need to walk to get to my morning lecture (a humble 4 stair). Now i’m learning some dancing stuff, cause its amazingly fun, and I’m working on slide shov-its for the same reason. FUN,

I love street skating too, recently I’ve been getting back into it, to me all skating is the same but the reason i love Longboarding so specifically was the attitude, street skating has a real thrash yourself until you land it once for the video/sponsor attitude and I hate that, there is no flow no fluidity, some videos like this here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=77H2EY-M8TI : are legendary street skating the way it should be getting from A-B but living it, living in the journey!
But this is a minority. Longboarding has adopted the street skating attitude and it is the death of us. For the camera, for the sponsor, statements that now reflect Longboarding as it is today.

Don’t get me confused with someone who hates change and progression, its not the progression I dislike, its not the specific tricks i have a problem with, its the attitude. And Its not that I hate people making videos, I just hate watching someone roll around one little hill or even one little bit or pavement doing “tricks” and calling it Longboarding. If you a sick rider film it and share it please, It would be great to see every ones progression out there on camera. But remeber to reflect the attitude in your videos, I try too. And Even I think I’m guilty of filming tricks rather than filming Longboarding, but I try. At least try.

If you can’t do it 100% of the time you can’t do it.
This is something I learn’t from Parkour, consistency is everything. Longboarding was all about that, key word was. Practice, practice over and over then take it to a new hill and skate, don’t think. Sometimes I find myself at the bottom of a run, or a car park wondering what exactly I did on my way down, that’s the way it should be. I session slide hills to practice and prepare for the long sweet runs, so I can flow down them with my own style without thinking about each “trick” just watching the camber of the road and living the journey down it. Can you say the same? Or do you session a spot all day for the perfect shot of your switch check?

I guess this was more of a rant that anything else.
I’m tired and my fingers hurt from typing this so I’m going to go skate now, but I will leave you with my final 2 cents.

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”
― Henry Ward Beecher

I wish that to be true in Longboarding as it once was,
Live the journey,

Skate, don’t do tricks, just skate…

Cheers

Jonny

Doesnt Matter got pike

Welcome back to another episode of the mo-jonny show. today we bring you our thoughts on the recent-ish-ly  released Omen Pike.
this is a two part review, starting off with mojuu-raptors hunter-killer thoughts.

As my human associate sleeps I type this out to you. now i dont need to babble out the dimensions of the board to you, do your homework! but my opinion on how the specs FEEL is always open for you to read.

The biggest feature for me was the TRUE, flat top w. I may remember wrong but the killswitch was said to have *flat top* w in its release video a few years back. Omen’s rendition of flat top w feels right. with  my us9 size feet, i can find a cosy spot to lock the balls of my feet between the w and the drop during pushing, almost like that gap was molded to trap my foot in there.  during the ever important sliding moments, the w gives you good geographical markers and is effective at acting like w-cave.  i found the micro-drop to be fantastic, between that and the concave, you’ll find a zone of no-cave. you can use this to wedge your feet against the concave where it begins to aggresively take off again.

having run this board on paris and caliber 44′s DT style, i found the paris to be nice, no wheelbite issues. great for people who are fans of high angle trucks. on cali44′s you will very easily get railbite issues, and maybe wheelbite depending on wheels/bushings.

all up, i thought i found the last board id ever buy. but alas! TIS TOO LONG.  for a raptor, standing a mere 175 human cm tall, the sweetspots on the deck for my feet are too far apart to feel comfy. and so im sigining off for the hurn to round off this review. end thoughts for raptor? feels slick under foot, but forces feet to be too far apart :(

Hello Peoples this is Jonny now, OMG a review within a review, review-ception

Anyway, I have to agree with the Raptors thoughts above. I got on this board and was SO excited big locked in pockets easy to push.
I started with it dropped through on Paris and quickly moved it to top mount and I rode and rode and the more I rode the lower my stoke factor went, at 41″ long its a big board, even with the tails taking up a few inches the platform is still (slightly) bigger than a Nemesis, and even that’s to long.

I would like to say for people 5ft 10 and up this will be a really nice board or if you want a longer board and enjoy the wider stance you’ll love it, really useful yet small tails, fantastic concave just (for me) 3 Inches to long,
When/if a mini Pike comes out I will go nuts! especially if its a tad stiffer. The pike did have some flex. Very noticeable when you stand right in the middle but in a normal stance its quite a subtle give this I liked to a point… The board got a little weird to tuck on cause my back foot was right in the heart of the flex zone. Don’t get me wrong this board is very stable at speed and has 0 torsional flex it just takes some getting used to.

All in all we both like the boards design features but its a few inched to long for our tastes or rather our stance.
that said it has such a nice concave if your taller or like standing wider you’ll love this board.

Happy skating,

Jonny and Mojo

Vault Ghetto Freeride

Hello and welcome to 2012!

So over the summer we all need a project right?

As you may know I work for Skateboard Express. In the process of designing some new wheels we came across these abominations…
http://www.skateboardexpress.com.au/VGF.html
But The Dave knew the thane was good, even  though they were hidden behind a stupidly large lip.
If you cut 11mm of the lip off you end up with a fantastic center set freeride. Check out the video bellow if you want to see how we did it.

Be safe, wear a mask cause thane dust is evil.

Enjoy

Jonny

vault bearings

Quick and simple post for now guys:

On a rainy Noosa race day, I was wondering which set of biltins to wreck, then my homeboy jonny chucked me a set of new Vault Bearings.

vault abec 5 bearings  to be exact.  They rolled just fine on race day, and to be perfectly honest, the rest of the weekend i didnt feel any difference between my biltins and the vaults with speed rings and spacers. on the hill the only thing slowing me down was my parachute shaped tuck due to poor physical conditioning. previously ive ever held a race worthy tuck for more than a minute. keeping tight for 3 minutes was just too much without any prior practice or conditioning.

What can i say about these bearings? wow bearings, they roll they are pretty cheap. i havent pulled them apart to check if they have metal or nylon cages for the balls. but really. bearings are bearings. metal balls hold up better to abuse than ceramics because they wont shatter. sure shelling out a pretty penny for cerams that last longer versus metals in that *they fail due to CORROSION* slower, but would probably shatter after a few well placed early grabs.

ending statements?  RAWR skate bearings these ones are nice and even after an entire day sloshing about, i havent cleaned them and they are fine.

mojuuraptor out.

P.S Footage of trip, race and general skate trip actions located here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zAbqPZCHsQ

and Part 2 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v51-KSZP7co

Comet FSM Review

A few weeks back I borrowed what has become affectionately know as The FSSM the Flying slutty spaghetti monster.
This board has literary been through hell three times. Its been skated in the rain, ridden down stairs, jumped down stairs and two of the best freeriders I know have ripped this board all the way around Sydney. It was past to me third hand on a set of Paris 180 hangers that are now very very bent. I’ve been shredding it with Abec 11 FreeRides and my favorite Vault 82a wheels, I know its a board that has been out for years and well a lot of what I’m gonna say is self evident, but I wanted to say a few things for myself.

Comet FSM Review

I’ll start by saying a few things broadly about the FSM.
At this point you will all know the basics.  40″ long 10′ wide, a beautiful 1″ of rocker and .75″ of mellow concave.
Put simply some solid R and D work a few years ago has meant this board hasn’t dated and is regularly the subject of other companies “Inspiration” The Original freerides and the new Lush Elevator are two recent examples. The FSM was clearly built for skaters and by skaters the concave, the rocker, Its such an easy board to skate!  The FSM has little wee tails that provide a good amount of space for all kinds of no-comply and shuvit based maneuvers. Its not quite enough for me to be able to ollie but I’m sure it can be done…no idea why you would want too… I could continue to blabber on about how comfortable this thing is to skate but it’s all been said before. So, I will sum it up by saying, the FSM is a no nonsense board, It works and its excellent. Functional + Simple + listened to skaters = F***ing WIN.

As I said above this board has lasted a long dam time, its lived through a lot of curb hits, up side down landings, rainy days and car park collisions, the board now has gas pedals from being slammed upside down so many times. I have heard people criticize Comet boards due to there lack of longevity… I can’t speak to broadly for Comet but in this case they have done a dam good job.

I started skating the FSM on the loosest set up I’ve ever skated and now all my set ups are getting looser. This is a board you can grow into and continue to progress on. It is also a board you will always wan’t in your quiver

Happy skating!

Munkae Trucks

MojuuRaptor Back for another review!

Munkae Precision Trucks Review

This review is part review, part journal. I am a confessed worry wart, a few crashes early in my skating life left me with some scar tissue a broken helmet, some unfounded fears of speed and an obsession with being able to control it or deal with it.

So these trucks are precision? does it automatically make them good? NO. When a truck is marketed as precision it simply means they are manufactured by taking a solid block of aluminium and telling a CNC machine to cut the trucks out of that block. This allows for very strong trucks with fewer material defects and more precise curves and shapes to be made in comparison to cast trucks. This process creates a lot of waste material, pushing costs up. When compared to cast trucks, which are basically just like pouring water into an iceblock mould and freezing it. (replace water with molten metal, and freezing it with cooling down) you get things like air bubbles and contraction of the trucks as they cool. precision trucks are not automatically better than cast, they just have the potential to be better. A poorly DESIGNED precision will alway feel worse than a better designed cat truck. Now with the facts out of the way…

First off, specs.

My munkaes are 190mm wide and have a 42.25 degree base-plate. I trust the manufacturers specs but lets be honest, that quarter of a degree doesnt matter, treat these trucks as a 42deg truck. With a bit of fiddling with some calipers the ride height measures out as a bass tone of 48mm. this is a full 10mm lower than a randal 42 truck!

CAUTION REVELATION AHEAD: flipping a hangar with rake does NOT change the angle of the truck, it merely makes the ride heigt lower/higher. this alters the leverage you have over the trucks and creates the illusion of a different *turning angle* by changing the amount of push required to make the trucks turn. the BASEPLATE determines the turning circle, other factors like ride height deck mounting and bushings affect RESPONSE ie how your setup responds to steering commands from you the rider.

I digress, the hangar has zero rake, meaning flipping them does nothing to the ride height.  Munkaes also have a system of removeable axles.

After having a bash around on a few trucks before, namely paris, then bear, then surfrodz then munkaes, I feel i’ve found what i wanted in a truck. A few words of advice when setting these bad boys up, pick bushings that are one maybe even two durometers softer than that which you normally ride. The first thing i felt when having a preliminary push on the munkaes is how restrictive the bushing seat is. The bushing seat is basically the result of someone drilling a perfectly fitting hole about 3mm deep. This straight walled “well” fits bushings so well that you can jam some into the hangar, shake the hangar around and be surprised that the bushings are still sitting in the bushing seat.

These trucks really can do it all, or rather do all the things that i like, being freeride ,bomb, and with a bit of extra effort; pump the flats. I hover around 75kg and am running purple venom barrel/cones all around, i think they are 87a from memory. I’ve got a 2.5inch kingpin with the nut just showing half a thread. that is to say, the bushings are being ever so gently pressed against the hangar when centered. as loose as it gets without risking the nut falling off on its own.

Story Start, skip ahead for more review

I’m not gonna lie, these trucks have changed the way i ride. I know that riders >> gear but this is an exception for me. The turn on munkaes is smooth and controlled, the tight bushing seat ensures there is a well defined centerpoint that the trucks want to sit at when not turning. When i first got them that was my impression, I was running double 90a barrels at the time. Many friends faster than i who also rode munkaes suggested way WAY softer bushings. im glad i took their advice (thanks jacko, pat).

These trucks with softer bushings are intense for freeride! a consistent dive into a turn without any sudden movements allows for confident hill smashing and wheel wrecking. After some time freeriding the hills of sydney city I took them up to the mountains to test the trucks and myself.

Still not having the confidence to smash the hill at the theoretical top speed of 60kph i took a few runs down carving, i also cranked the kingpin nut down about 2 full turns after minimum engagement.  By the end of the day, I had the kingpin nut done up to ensure maximum looseness and was rocking runs in a very lazy tuck with no footbraking or carving.

Suddenly I felt this amazing amount of control, the ability to dodge obstacles on the road and still blast hills that i was constantly dropping pendies to keep to a *safe* speed on.

Now i keep the trucks as loose as possible and only crank it down half a rotation when I know im gonna be racing.

Story end Review starts again.

For those of you who skipped the story, munkaes offer a gorgeous build quality, the way everything fits so nicely and rides so low allows for soft bushings and smooth carves at speeds of 15+kph. anything below running pace and the trucks do suck though. These are great trucks but not for croozin the beachside with an icecream in hand. These are trucks to pull fat slides and blast down hills with a feeling of control and safety like never before.

a final note before i wrap this up, these trucks are tough! i’ve rammed them into curbs and rocks harder than i’ve ever done to anything else. when the guys at DDC say they coat it with a HIGH IMPACT coating, they are serious. It feels bad to damage anything you buy, ‘specially when these set me back 300 bucks 2nd hand

Closing words? Get these if you like; going fast without having the requisite skill to do so, and have the money!

Vault Slide Gloves Review

Firstly – A Welcome to James, Were gonna be turning out double the content – We have a whole lot of reviews coming for bearings,boards, wheels and trucks so get stoked click follow!
On with the matter at hand!

Vault Slide Gloves 
So recently I’ve been shredding a little Vault gear. In the interests of being ethical I will tell you It was given to me for free to review. I will also say I would never miss-lead people by making false statements about a product, what I write here is my honest opinion.  When I first started Longboarding I was warned off Vault stuff. Being a broke ass student there products had always appealed to me because they were so much cheaper than the alternative and over the months Vault gear has increasingly been surprising me.

Their slide gloves are one such item. $10 cheaper than the cheapest alternative the vault slide glove win on price.
To start with the gloves have both finger and thumb pucks in addition to the standard palm puck so the first thing I did was pull these off. I hate finger and thumb pucks but if your just learning, leave them on and save your gloves until you get you technique down! So after removing the grom guards I took to the streets. If you like you fingers and thumbs behind pucks you will love these gloves. They have so much velcro on the fingers and thumbs you can position the pucks perfectly to fit you.

They are comfortable to wear and are relatively breathable. There is a removable pad on the inside behind the palm puck it makes falling on your glove a wee but more comfortable. If your like me and like you pucks closer to you wrist the little pad actually makes quite a difference.

The pucks that come standard are decent. If your just starting out these pucks will be perfect. If you’re heading towards race speed you will notice the nylon compound has a tad more grip to it.

So negatives or negative in this case;
Velcro on the fingers reduces grip, if you’re looking for a monster early grab you’re gonna need good technique.

Positives;
They are cheaper, if you like finger pucks the negative isn’t a negative. They last and don’t tear easily. In the interest of testing i dropped a glove down for a toe side without the puck. While I would not advise doing this as it is both stupid and dangerous, the glove held together well and only had a bit of wear to the velcro.

Overall these are good gloves. They are cheap and they work. They may not suit you for racing or urban early grab mayhem but if your taking to the streets for a healthy session of thane shredding why not save $10 buy these and still have money left for lunch.

One thing I will add is that I have the large size Vault glove, my lush gloves are a small size…just keep that in mind when/if you order.

Peace,
Happy skating!