“You don’t innovate ’cause you can’t innovate, it’s not a choice”
Like many of you, my immediate reaction to the words “TWS Buyer’s Guide” is cynicism to the x-treme, at the prospect of a glorified CCS catalogue with (wait for it) ads between the glossy color pics of deck after shoe after truck after wheel. And then, you get to pay for it! It’s like those old Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, except without the nudity and legal gray area.
But. I’m a fan of the TWS buyer’s guide. Yes, it’s true. For one thing, I think they do an impressive job of educating the young’uns (those cursed with the ability and/or inclination to read, anyway) when it comes to explaining concepts like wheelbase, bearing seats, and, er, what a millimeter is. That’s something you can’t learn in school if you’re not paying attention, which sadly is most likely the case, so we could look upon this as an important public service in the event that our fair nation is stormed by ravenous Marxists bearing metric rulers and roadsigns.
Also I tend to find the Q&A’s in these things generally more informative on the whole than the average “how many years skating/who’s your sponsors/man when does skating become like a JOB man?” interview. That is, when the appointed pro isn’t plugging his signature bearings or whatever. (What constitutes a signature bearing anyway? A [meaningless] ABEC rating and a colored shield? Fancy packaging?)
It’s interesting though how some skateboarders genuinely enjoy nerding out over the various processes involved in setting up and maintaining a board, the technology or lack thereof that works for them, and how much attention they pay to setup fads, like ultra-loose trucks, the 38mm wheel of 2008. Kind of like when an otherwise moribund rock musician lights up like a Christmas tree when Guitar Magazine inquires after his pedals or whatever.
Of course you get the usual boring setup “madness” stories, but between these and two of the ugliest frontside flip photos I’ve seen in a good long time, there’s some interesting tidbits in this year’s Buyer’s Guide. Plus it’s entertaining how often the “if it ain’t broke” refrain rings out among the pro ranks, no doubt bumming Rodney Mullen and his pile of unsold $100 Almost impact boards (which I’m admittedly sort of curious to try), along with the rest of the deck industry, stuck with a product that should have climbed to $80 per board (in the US) over the last 15 years, if it kept up with inflation.
Overheard among ruminations on the superior flick properties possessed by suede toe-caps and the proper order in which to tighten mounting hardware:
“When I put my wheels on, I have to put extra washers on my truck axle, so when I tighten the bolt, there’s some extra slack, but the bolt will be flush with the axle. This way you won’t fuck the axle up.”
-a helpful hint from Bobby Worrest
“Right now I’m rocking the standard Swiss Bones bearings. These bearings could seriously be shit, but since I grew up hearing they’re the best, they feel great.”
-Cairo Foster on independent thinking
“I usually put the grip all the way to the left, so that way I don’t have to use the razor blade on the right side of the board. It saves me a little time. After hooking up so m any boards over the years, you find ways to make it easier.”
-Jeron Wilson explains how to accumulate valuable seconds over a period of several years
“Dustin [Dollin]’s working on getting a nine-inch board.”
-Lizard King, 80s revivalist
“I take ‘em off and I spray Windex in ‘em to take some of the grease out.”
Elissa Steamer, Martha Stewart of bearing care
“Other trucks turn better, but if you’re gonna ride a pool or vert, there’s nothing else to ride. I used to ride Indys, but now I can’t do it. I haven’t even tried the new ones because that whole kingpin-breaking thing happened. They kinda took a turn for the worse.”
-Amy Caron, ensuring a doorstep free of NHS products and weeks of ridicule on slash dog-centric messageboards
“Remember when I was skating Terell’s board? That Darkstar board and it had this weird carbon fiber in it? The point of the 7-ply board is to break it in half. I could not break the carbon fiber – it was so annoying. It gets me even more mad.”
-Mike Mo Capaldi on technological innovation