A friend of mine is taking off from Toronto for a while to get away from it all and do a mental reset, something I totally can relate to and support vociferously. Stops will include Japan and Australia (where summer is coming) so needless to say I am very jealous. But in his generosity (or maybe because he was drunk at the time?) he left me in charge of his longboard, an Arbor Fish.
Thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed the Arbor Fish. It is an absolutely solid longboard made out of Hawaiian Koa wood (which my research tells is acquired sustainably). As a result of its construction out of this wood (and I believe maple), it is very stable albeit a little heavy. (Though for compaison’s sake I weighed the Fish (7.0 lbs) and my Hammerhead (6.1 lbs) and the difference should be negligible.)
- Not sure if it’s the wheels or the bearings but it is one smooth ride. You barely have to kick to get any momentum. I’m feeling that the Fish keeps momentum very well also because of the weight and sturdy construction.
- The Revenge Trucks compress much deeper than I expected and this allows you to make deeper carving turns as well as quick turns. When you get your groove on down a gradual slope it really looks and feels a lot like you are surfing the asphalt.
- The Fish is really only a little heavier than my board but feels a lot heavier when you carry it for a while. Maybe I just need to work out! :$
- Not a real negative, maybe it just takes more getting used to but I am finding some difficulty controlling my speed going down hills with steeper pitches. The thing just wants to fly (wait maybe that’s not a con at all).
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time using this Fish, I think it’s a fantastic longboard. I knew about Arbor’s positive reputation as a snowboard manufacturer (I have a buddy who rides an Arbor Draft), yet the Fish still exceeded my expectations.
Koa was used by Hawaiians to make early surfboards. Cowabunga dudes!
If you LOVE snowboarding as much as I do then from May to December you are doing anything and everything to fill the shredding void. This leads to things like getting into motorcycles, trying unsuccessfully to skimboard on the slanty beach at Killbear or planning for this summer being the one where you will go snowboarding in Chile. It also led me to try longboarding.
Contrary to what non-riders may think, all of these boardsports are different and skills to perform them are related but not always transferable. Take for instance a skateboard and a snowboard. A snowboard has a potential contact surface on every part of its edges and the full base whereas a skateboard has the four wheels.
When I went shopping for a longboard, what I was doing was looking to simulate snowboarding without the need for snow. I went out to a remote skateshop in Ajax actually looking for a freebord. Freebords ended up being special order but they had this demo Hammerhead made by Loaded. As you can note by the picture the Loaded Hammerhead has 7 rollerblade-ish wheels in the front. This allows for more snowboard-like turns. You can make more angular turns that are deeper more sustained, that feel more like carving in snow than a skateboard or typical longboard might allow. Speed going down hills can be controlled with the size or quickness of your turns.
The Loaded Hammerhead is a lot of fun, I am loving cruising down hills around my ‘hood. I highly recommend it to others needing that snowboarding fix that they are just not getting when it’s shorts weather. It has a really low learning curve, I am horrible at skateboarding but I love this thing. Takes some getting used to the super bouncy flex of the deck itself, it’s made of bamboo (which has the added benefit of making it lighter and easier to carry). The only other advice I have is wear sunglasses so that you can ignore the stares you’ll get when you’re cruising on 9 wheels.
I’ve been working on a video to show off the Hammerhead in all of its glory, stay tuned!