Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Risers & Copers.

"I've been riding riser pads for a while now. I couldn't make tricks and then just started putting them on. Like that one Thrasher cover, the front 180, I couldn't roll away, so I put on riser pads and rolled away. I got used to them and can't take them off." - Collin Provost

Risers have come in a variety of shapes and sizes over the years. The idea is to give your trucks a little extra height so that you don't get wheel bite. This was more of a problem in the 1980s when wheels were larger. Skateboarding went through a phase in the early 1990s where everybody ditched risers and rode their trucks directly in contact with the board. With wheel sizes dropping as low as 38 mm, wheel bite was not much of an issue. I'm thinking most people today don't use risers. When wheel sizes started to get larger again in the mid 1990s, risers came back into play.

The top riser is a Santa Cruz Cellblock. It was designed to redistribute the force of landings so that there was less stress on your board by the back truck, where a board was likely to break. A few adventurous types even used two Cellblocks.

The second photo is a selection of different riser pads. I don't really like the hard plastic kind and I don't think I ever used any of these, they just wound up in the junk drawer. The black riser on the right is more of a flexible plastic. It and the blue Cellblock were on the majority of my boards from the late 1980s to early 1990s.

I'm a fan of risers. I've been using the same pair of Lucky 1/8" risers since 1997 or 1998. I ride 56 mm wheels and at this point it would look weird not have risers on my board. It might help reduce the shock of landings a little, not that I'm jumping off of anything. Plus I like how they look.

I got the copers with my first board. I had Gullwing trucks, but I'm not sure if they are Gullwing copers. My guess is probably not. They took some abuse from curbs and PVC coping from my first year or two of skateboarding. Copers were created to allow for a smoother grind on rough surfaces, not that riding with a piece plastic on your truck counts as grinding. Of note is that select ramp and pools owners required copers to protect the coping on their investment.

Note: Collin's Thrasher cover was from September 2013. He frontside 180 ollied this tall wheelchair ramp that Heath Kirchart had tried to ollie in Alien Workshop's Mindfield.

Collin's quote: Transworld - March 2014 Volume 32 Number 3

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Naked was a company that sold blank decks in a variety of shapes. They were based out of Colorado and Maryland. Their premise was higher quality boards without graphics at a cheaper price, hence the name Naked. They also sold uncut blanks that could be turned into a high school shop project. Their ads alternated between product photos and submitted photos. Sometimes there were credits to go with the photos and other times you got an unidentified ripper with a frontside crail at China Banks. It also looks like Naked might have been one of the first companies to make a slick bottom board.

China Banks: Thrasher - May 1989 Volume 9 Number 5

Apply Yourself: Trasher - August 1989 Volume 9 Number 8

Millions: Trasher - September 1989 Volume 9 Number 9

Ptex: Thrasher - December 1989 Volume 9 Number 12

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rip Grip #2.

Santa Cruz came up with a soft foam stick-on for your board to assist with grabs. Theoretically it helped. At the least it was made in some neat colors. Rip Grip came in a variety of shapes and thicknesses. Everybody was using it.

I'm sure other companies made Rip Grip imitations, but I didn't stumble across any ads when I was looking.

C.R. Stecyk III took the photo of Dressen.

Eric Dressen: Thrasher - March 1989 Volume 9 Number 3

Rip Grip team: Thrasher - December 1989 Volume 9 Number 12

Friday, April 25, 2014


I'm a little reluctant to include rails as a gimmick as they can serve a functional purpose, especially on ramps. Early 1990s street skating was quick to eschew all plastic accouterments that had been a staple of 1980s setups. The masses haven't exactly gone back in the twenty years since, although rails still have their fans today. The dearly departed vert powerhouse Blaize Blouin was a supporter of a plain board without plastics because that stuff was just extra weight. On the other hand, Kevin Staab and Joe Johnson would bend a rail around the nose of their boards to make it easier to grab. It might have even been for noseslides, too. Rails certainly can be acceptable as Lance Mountain, Jeff Grosso, and Jason Jessee's boards all look really cool. Ride 'em if you want to.

Paul Schmitt at Schmitt Stix was always tinkering with ways to improve skateboards and his rail designs offered a variety of options. The Type II model are designed to improve your grip with the extended edge. The other rails are low profile and would be good for street skating.

World Industries usually had the coolest stuff way back when. The Skinny Little White Boys were neat. I never had a set of Bedpan Risers, but I always wanted a pair.

Z-Products ditched mounting hardware altogether and came up with Z-Skinz. These were thin plastic rails that had an adhesive backing that you stuck on your board. I never had any. Matt Hensley had a couple photos with a Z-Skin stuck on his board so that probably helped them sell.

Finally, we have the Cellblock rails by Santa Cruz. They were experimenting with different sizes and shapes as well. I had a few sets of Cellblock rails. I think they did slide faster than Powell Peralta rails, but don't hold me to that.

The Mike Folmer photo is by Paul Schmitt.

Mike Folmer: Thrasher - January 1989 Volume 9 Number 1

World Industries Plastics: Thrasher - February 1989 Volume 9 Number 2

George Watanabe: Thrasher - January 1990 Volume 10 Number 1

Eric Dressen: Thrasher - May 1990 Volume 10 Number 5

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gleaming The Cube.

Movies about skateboarding... that always turns out well.

Transworld - April 1989 Volume 7 Number 2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Every so often efforts are made to reinvent mounting hardware. This frequently involved some type of joined bolts with a metal connector that went over top of the griptape, as was the case with U-Bolts and Bridgebolts. There was a Deadbolt version that ran the long way from the front to the back truck mounting hole. Saving on not having to use a screwdriver was a big selling point.

One other method to get rid of that pesky screwdriver was to design a bolt that was pounded into the top of your deck. This is what Thunderbolts were. I couldn't find an ad so I rummaged around in the garage and found the actual bolts to take a photo of. The bolts have two little nubs under the head that are supposed to hold the bolt in place. However, since skateboarding rattles around the trucks and loosens the hardware, this would become problematic when the bolts needed to be tightened. The little nubs would wear away at where they were sunk in and no longer do their intended job. Plus they theoretically weakened the board from the impact of pounding in the bolts. This idea pops up every now and again.

I'm assuming Skully Nuts were just regular bolts. I only scanned the ad because of the cool skeletons.

Skully Nuts: Thrasher - November 1989 Volume 9 Number 11

U-Bolt: Thrasher - December 1989 Volume 9 Number 12

Grind King Bridgebolt: Thrasher - September 1990 Volume 10 Number 9

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dirt Wheels.

There have always been attempts to take skateboards off road. One method is to make a larger, softer wheel that can handle the dirt. Another is to have inflatable tires or build a contraption that resembles a skateboard for the most part. Adventure today.

The Road Weapon seemed like an unusual wheel to me way back when. It's bigger than a T-Bone and much softer. Corey is riding a Santa Cruz long board in the photo. You would need extra riser pads to prevent wheel bite with a larger wheel, too.

Jeff Phillips and his friends were into dirt boarding as something to do out in the Texas countryside. I think there even was a little video of him riding a dirt board somewhere.

Blockhead ad photos are by El Steam.

Dirt Clods and Road Weapon: Thrasher - July 1989 Volume 9 Number 7

Dirt Board: Transworld - October 1989 Volume 7 Number 6

Monday, April 21, 2014


"More Fun Than Your First Driver's License!"

The next two weeks are going to be spent on the assorted products that have been sold as innovations for skateboarding. Some of them have merit, others made sense at the time, and the rest leave you wondering.

Starting off in wonderland is the DanXer made by Chaos, Inc. from Troy, Michigan. Did anybody out there have one of these things? What's up with the silver rail? It should be noted that this ad was designed in 1988 and ran in 1989, yet it proclaims dawn will break on 1990.

Transworld - February 1989 Volume 7 Number 1

Friday, April 11, 2014

Satva Leung.

Welcome To Hell.

Satva was an amateur added to Toy Machine by Jamie Thomas. After parts in Heavy Metal and Welcome To Hell, he left the Machine for an opportunity to turn pro at Imperial for their Dynasty company. He later did his own company called Judah with artist David Flores in the early 2000s. Satva has been a team manager for Ricta and Mob Grip, as well as a DJ and videographer.

Walker Ryan dropped a new part on Thrasher today. It's well filmed and full of exotic spots in foreign countries. Ryan strings together some nice lines and tech tricks without overdoing it. I like what that guy is bringing to skateboarding.

I did a whole week of Toy Machine without an Ed Templeton post. Whoops.

RIP Corey Chrysler.

Vert Is Dead will be back on Monday, April 21. I need a break. Feel free to leave requests in the comments. Gleam that cube.

Transworld - July 1995 Volume 13 Number 7

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panama Dan Zimmerman.

Heavy Metal.

Dan is a Boston local who is originally from Panama. It is fairly easy to connect the dots on how he got his nickname. He had parts in the Toy Machine's Live and Heavy Metal. His Live part was all indoor skatepark footage. For Heavy Metal, Dan was out on the real streets of Boston. He rode for Nation after Toy Machine.

The photo is by Chris Ortiz.

Transworld - June 1995 Volume 13 Number 6

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Toy Machine Fan Art Contest.

I guess we'd just go by likes on Instagram these days. The future and what we've done with it is lame.

Donny Humes is the creator of Smelly Curb 'zine from Columbus, Ohio.

I've been slowly working on Gimmick Week. There are no shortage of products to fill the days. I'm probably going to end up doing group posts of things such as dirt wheels and hardware rather than spend a week on trucks you rightfully have forgotten. Also the week of women skateboarders is starting to come together. I've got two of the five picked out so far. I'm most likely taking next week off from updating. I want to get all the source material lined up instead of rushing.

Transworld - April 1995 Volume 13 Number 4

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ryan Fabry #2.

A few years ago when people started scanning their stacks of old skateboard mags for the internet, a lot of forgotten information resurfaced. Like that Plan B super am Ryan Fabry once rode for Toy Machine. He was also on Birdhouse Projects. I believe that this ad ticketed off a few uptight folks because of the Reaper Rat slaughtering innocent children.

Transworld - February 1994 Volume 12 Number 2

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ethan Fowler & Jerry Fowler.

It's going to be a quick week of Toy Machine to clear things off the old computer.

This is the first Toy Machine ad. After Ed Templeton and Mike Vallely had a falling out over Television, Ed started Toy Machine at the end of 1993. Ethan and Jerry were ams for TV and Television, but stuck with the Tempster for his new deal. As if anyone doesn't know this by now, the two are not brothers, although it is easy to see how you could think that back in the pre-internet age. Both had parts in Live, the first Toy Machine video. Ethan moved on to Stereo and Jerry left for Planet Earth's new Rhythm company.

Transworld - November 1993 Volume 11 Number 11

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ben Gore.

Look at me I'm on the Stereo, wait, make that Magenta.

Ben is from Pompano Beach, Florida. He resides in San Francisco now. He turned pro for Stereo and switched to Magenta last summer. Ben is into photography. He just had a solid interview with creative photography by Dave Chami and video part for Transworld. He also rides for Venture, MIA Skateshop, and Bones Bearings.

Toy Machine on Monday. Most likely.

Thrasher Photo Issue Summer 2009

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dan Drehobl #17.

Freedumb flies again.

Thrasher - April 2009 Volume 29 Number 4

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lucas Puig.

The hi-tech Frenchman.

Lucas is from Toulouse, France. He is pro for Cliché and has ridden for them for the bulk of his career. He dropped a strong part in Lakai's Fully Flared in 2007. Lucas later switched to adidas and has a pro model shoe with the three stripes. His part in Cliché's Bon Voyage from 2013 was full of refined technical street skating. It's progression without getting yucky. Lucas also rides for Fourstar, Independent, and Autobahn Wheels. He runs a hat company called Hélas Caps.

I finally hit up the skateboard park last night. It was warmer, but really windy. Besides the wind, it was fun to actually roll around outside. I don't think I need to worry about getting new bearings until all the sand has been swept away, which might take some time.

It's hard to believe Fully Flared is now seven years old. I watched a bunch of it yesterday. I think there is going to be a week of Rick Howard sometime soon. Nothing that hasn't been on the internet already, but whatever.

I need to do some scanning as 2009 is coming to an end. There was a bunch of good stuff in 2010, but I'm not going to touch that until next year. I've got a week of Toy Machine ready to go so that will probably be next. I want to put together a week of women skateboarders, but I haven't done much research on that as yet. I also want to have posts on gimmick products. I don't have anything scanned for that yet.

The photo sequence is by Oliver Barton.

Transworld - April 2009 Volume 27 Number 4

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Michael Burnett & Michael Sieben.

Silly business for April Fool's Day.

Thrasher - February 2009 Volume 29 Number 2