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