Man, if I only knew that tiny plastic skateboards would have made a come-back, I woulda saved some of my old sticks when I started skating in the 80s. Its really rad to see so many more people skating these days, even if they're never going to hit a skatepark in their life, TONS of people are ripping up the city, suburb and campus sidewalks. Especially here in CA's central coast, my new stomping ground, people are riding all manner of cruiser boards from the super huge long boards to micro plastic sticks.... enter the Penny. Although I prefer hitting up your local skateshop instead of a mall or sporting goods store, it can't be ignored how the Penny boards (here I mean specifically Penny brand boards) seem to be EVERYWHERE nowadays, in anything from mall clothing stores to skateshops to online. But being someone who a) wants something a little off the beaten path, and b) wants to save a buck whenver I can, I immediately started looking for alternatives to the Penny. Lets face it, its way easier to go with the big name. They're easier to find and (maybe) have earned the big name by being a quality product. I won't argue with the quality of a Penny board... but dare I say that other companies can do the same quality for less green. I searched around and ended up deciding to go with an Eightbit board. Like Penny, Eightbit makes a 22" board and a 27" (equal size to the Penny Nickel). I love how easy a 22" board sticks into a backpack, into the car, carried onto public transport, and so on... buuuuut ultimately I'm just used to traditional skateboards so the 22" was just smaller than I prefer to ride on a regular basis. For this reason I went with the 27" board and man am I glad I did! The product First off, this board will only set you back $39.99. Yes, you read right, $39.99. That is nearly $100 less than I've seen Penny Nickel's go for! Even when you can score a Nickel for a deal, you'll probably still pay $90 or more... For that price, you could score TWO Eightbit 27" completes and STILL have some $$ left over (and I'll even give you an idea of how to spend that extra scratch in a minute). The board even comes with some tools. For those who already have one or more skateboards, you'll most likely already have your trusty skate tool, but it is pretty cool that Eightbit includes these tools so anyone (including a first-time board owner) can have what they need right out of the box. One hitch, however, is that they do not include a wrench for the kingpin nut. The included tools fit the hardware (the allen wrench and a T-wrench to tighten/loosen the small bolts affixing the trucks to the board), and the truck hanger bolts (to remove the wheels when you want to... and you may want to). The size You may prefer the micro 22" board, and I can't argue with how great it is to have a ultra-portable board you can ride and take just about anywhere! But, for me the extra 5" was well appreciated when I was hauling over less-than-great sidewalks and streets. I like not having my stance so cramped and also the way the board rode a little more like a pseudo-longboard. That's not to say the 22" isn't a good cruiser, but I just personally prefer the extra 5" and still find it is pretty easy to chuck in the car, carry into stores, and so on. Here is is next to my regular board (which, before the Eightbit, did double duty as my cruiser and regular board by just swapping between fat and regular wheels). The ride Ok, so these boards will never be the total sidewalk surfers that those mammoth longboards are... but who wants to carry around a 4+ foot board? Not this guy! With that said, this board really cruises nicely. I took it over some fairly chunky sidewalks, bricks patches and cracked streets and it only got caught up a couple times. And when it did get caught, it could have been avoided if I was leaning back more instead of having most of my weight up front. And that's where wheels andbearings come into the mix. The board comes with some nice wheels that look and perform well. And it comes with ABEC 7 bearings, but the bearings left a bit to be desired. As you may already know, ABEC shouldn't be the real standard for skateboard wheels because it is based more on non-skateboarding specifications instead of skateboard-specific performance. But I won't get into the ABEC vs. SKATE rating systems here (but google that if you're interested). So, the bearings are legit ABEC 7s, but after a couple days I removed them and swapped in some old dirty ABEC 5s that spun like a top! I couldn't believe how the Eightbit ABEC 7s barely even moved when I spun them in-hand (out of the wheel). I swapped in some NHS (parent company of Santa Cruz) ABEC 5s that were beaten down and dirty from some old wheels I had kicking around. I did a simple comparison by spinning the Eightbit wheel with the new Eightbit ABEC7s vs. the same wheels with the old ABEC5s swapped in. The ABEC 5s won... by a LOT! The Eightbit setup spun for 5 seconds when I gave it a good spin by hand. Take that compared to the NHS ABEC 5s which spun for 45 seconds!! The bottom line So, while I do recommend this board overall, I also suggest you swap out the bearings ASAP. Best case, you have some other bearings kicking around, like I did, and you'll be good to go by just swapping those in. Worst case, run down to your local skateshop and drop less than $20 for a new set of bearings (no need to get spacers, since Eightbit supplies them already). Even after that, you've only spent a grand total of $60 for a board that'll go head-to-head with a Nickel (which were going for $120 the last time I saw them at regular price in a store)! If you've got an Eightbit, a Penny or another equivalent, share your thoughts in the comments!
New York is one of most photogenic cities in the world. Couple that with amazing and creative skateboarding and you will find it hard to beat the photos it will (and does!) produce. The problem is that there is no solid outlet for displaying these photos. You may get lucky to see a low-resolution version of one or two of them floating around some blogs, but is that sufficient? A lot of major European cities have their own mags to help represent their cities (Grey Magazine out of London, for example), so it's time that the world's city had its own. This would benefit many. For one, it would let outsiders into our world of skateboarding through one of the most chaotic cities. It would also help shine light on the local companies, filmmakers, photographers, and skaters that are pushing the boundaries with no mainstream support.
Link to reference: Web Site
Over Winter Break, my wife and I visited some friends in Myanmar Sarah and Matthew. I didn't plan on skating at all and didn't in the slightest think that I would, so I wore my flip-flops and left my board behind. There's not much in the way of skate spots in Bangladesh so I figured it would be the same in Myanmar. After arriving in Yangong and talking with Matthew, I found out that there are actually two skateparks. A metal park consisting of a street course and a small micro-ramp, and a rumored newly constructed concrete park. Of course I had to check them out! It was already late in the evening when we headed out. Luckily Matthew let me try out his board. The metal park is located at Hledan Junction Skyway and University Avenue Road (16.82531962, 96.13110434). It's a nice park in that it is big, under the expressway so it stays cool and dry, and is well lit 24 hours a day. I only had a few minutes and the only pics I got were crappy, but the park is worth the time to skate. What I was really was interested in skating was the rumored concrete park. Matthew wasn't really sure where it was but knew roughly. We walked over to the other area not more than a twenty minute walk, but couldn't find it. When we were just about to give up we decided to ask a local and they knew of it and walked us over to it. It's right on a busy road in a small lot adjacent to the road in some trees. The concrete park was designed and built by Make Life Skate Life, a non-profit organization that builds parks across the globe for youth to learn how to skate in underprivileged areas. It's located on Bayint Naung Road, near the Nar Nat Taw Street, Kyee Myindaing Kanner Road intersection (16.823306, 96.122676). There are no lights in the park and the only light comes off of the road. Even at night the park is crowed and there are a few trees in the course to contend with. Jon from Make Life Skate Life and his gang did a great job with the pour and the surface is smooth. They managed to put bankers in at the right spots so keeping a line through the park is simple. It's not a massive park like what you'll find in Oregon, but it's a damn nice park regardless. Even though I only skated it for a few minutes, I can't wait to hit it up on my next visit. For those that are park spoiled like us in Oregon, I think it's a great idea to spread the love of skating to other parts of the world, and to share with those who can least afford to build a park themselves. Groups like Make Life Skate Life and people like Vanessa Rude who teach kids how to skate in third world countries are heroes in my book. If you have the means to help out, donate or even join up with them with your knowledge to help other enjoy the lifestyle that we all enjoy :)
Link to reference: Make Life Skate Life
Can you skate paper? Hell yeah you can! We just posted our Cardboard Chaos series with Ernest Packaging where we see how far paper can go. The goal, make a skateboard out of cardboard that can handle the real elements of skateboarding. With legendary skateboard builder Paul Schmitt and the design crew at Ernest Packaging we build a few different boards until we land on one that is good enough for one of the best skateboarders in the world, Tony Hawk.
Link to reference: YouTube
Link to reference: Web Site
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