Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Sector 9: Cruise Around on the Best Longboards and Skateboards...
Skateboarding is such a popular sport nowadays and it doesn't take too much of an investment to get started. It's not just a summer sport... you can skate all year round. At the park, the beach, around your neighborhood, up hills, down hills, just about anywhere with a surface. Longboarding is our favorite because not only is it good exercise, it's completely enjoyable, and it's a great mode of transportation. However, one thing we want to stress is: always wear safety gear because you can get pretty beat up and you want the best, most complete protection possible. Don't take any chances.
We're suggesting a few companies to you, one is at the top of their game with smooth-riding boards, sweet wheels choices, and cool graphics.
Sector 9... (sector9.com)
Owned by another favorite company of ours, Billabong, Sector 9 started up in 1993. They specialize in longboard skateboards for all ages and levels. They offer some mean setups and when you ride their boards, you will literally be the envy of your friends, getting compliments galore. While testing the boards for Sector 9, we had dozens of boys/young men commenting on how awesome they were, and they definitely went right on their radar. Reviewing many boards over the years, we couldn't help but notice how incredibly solid these boards are after quite a bit of wear and tear. We are featuring a few good choices, but you honestly can't go wrong with any of their boards.
Our favorite series of Sector 9's is Sidewinder, and our favorite of those is:
- Fractal. This board has the feel of a longboard but it carves great, turns so easy, and it can handle hills comfortable. Speed and agility is no problem with this board. If you're just into cruising, its longer wheelbase makes it perfect for that as well. It comes with Gullwing Sidewinder IIs, PDP Abec 5 bearings, and top shelf wheels. The 8-ply maple is tough and takes a kicking pretty darn good. Get the complete and you're ready to go, no fine tuning necessary.
Our next favorite is their Platinum series, and our favorite board is:
- Faultline. This is the perfect free ride board. It can handle speed but also is excellent for just cruising around. This 5/8" double-drop mold was based on the Tiffany Drop. The concave brings you a little lower to the ground, which helps with balance. At the same time, you're locked in for controlled drifting around corners and it handles really nicely.
- Mini Shaka. The Mini Shaka has a drop-through deck design. It's an all around fun free ride board and it comes in at 40.25 inches long and 10 inches wide. The slides on this board are unexpectedly nice and fluid because of its included Butterball wheels. The Mini Shaka has an almost effortless kick out for a smooth 180 slide, as you drift corner and shave off the speed as you plow straight ahead. The extra-course grip tape will keep your feet locked in and that's a great safety plus. The Mini Shaka is a little higher than other boards, but once you're adjusted to it, it will feel completely comfortable.
- Dropper. This is one of our favorite free ride boards. Made of 8 plies of cold pressed maple wood, this 41.8 in (by 9.6 wide) board is equipped with broad shoulders at each end for better foot control, making it amazing for commuting or sliding. Its 28.75 inch wheel base and and course grip tape make it ideal for whipping out awesome downhill slides. And the double kicks... wow. Even though the board is a little longer, it kicks up lightly and easily.
- Skiddle Wheels. These are basically the soft Sector 9 Butterball wheels but with popping color, which we happen to love. The Skiddle urethane was formulated to create a smooth, consistent, and predictable ride as it splats your color on the road, leaving a satisfying mark on the territory you've covered. You'll do some incredible slides with these wheels. These 70mm wheels have rounded inner and outer edges to keep you out of cracks. They're worth every penny, plus a few.
- Butterball Wheels. Butterball wheels are amazing. They come in both 65mm and 70mm. They are Sector 9's most popular high performance sliding wheels and have a sweet, smooth, (truly) buttery slide with a nice amount of thane. Perfect for any board you own, they are also excellent for cruising. Just get through their break-in period without getting discouraged and you will be thrilled with what they have to offer to enhance your boarding experience. This everyday wheel has no flaws.
The boards at the top of this page were designed by artist Erik Abel for a collaboration between Sector 9 and himself. The series included four styles highlighting Erik's unique graphic designs, bold colors, geometric patterns, and of course distinct ocean waves. His work is all around the country and what we love about him is that he gives back, and then gives more. His nonprofit work includes: Heal the Bay, Waves for Water, Surfrider, Surf the Waves, and SurfAid. He commented that "working with Sector 9 has been as smooth as fresh asphalt. Great people, great boards, stoked!" You can check out his gorgeous work at www.abelarts.com.