Friday, November 21, 2008

There is no way to make the term "schlongboard" not sound inappriopriately raunchy

Our tale begins, as so many do, at a party.  Or rather, if you insist on specifics, at an indie rock bar that doubles as a jazz club.  I'd seen on my cousin Mark's Facebook that he, and his thoroughly brilliant latin jazz/fusion/world music combo Cumako were set to host the Saturday afternoon jazz jam at Broken City, and I, being a fan of sax solos, ninth chords and weddings-parties-anything-bongo-jams-a-speciality, thought it a worthy way to unwind from work.

So I arrived while the band was on break, and wound up chatting with Mark, and he asked me if I want to go to his charming wife's birthday party that evening.  "Sounds like a plan", I said, or words to that effect.

Now it must be said that Mark, for all his bohemian hippie-surfer-dude appearance, is a man who believes in the old Scouts' motto of "Be Prepared" to the nth degree, at least where parties are concerned, so along the way, in addition to said aforementioned charming wife (Hi Eva, if you're reading this!) and a couple of other guests, and the expected assortment of wobbly pops and exotic small-label tequilas, he winds up loading a guitar, his bass and three skateboards in the back of his right-hand-drive Mitsubishi van.

Anyway, after a suitable time has passed at the party, we decide the evening calls for a nocturnal longboard raid down the broad, sweeping backalleys of whichever suburban neighbourhood this actually was.  I've never ridden a longboard before, only the standard popsicle stick skateboards and a frankly kind of scary '60s Makaha mini I bought at a garage sale like 20 years ago.  I knew to expect a smoother ride than I was used to, but beyond that, I was unprepared for the sheer magnitude of radness.  I was riding a borrowed Loaded Vanguard, with a nicely flexy bamboo construction and huge Gumball wheels, and the sensation of riding it was a kind of floaty euphoria.  Long story short, I knew I needed to get something like it.

Unfortunately, it was--and as I write this, is--November in Calgary, and the cheapskate in me blanches at the thought of dropping $300 on a setup like that Loaded one, or even $200 on the Landyachtz board I like best out of what I've found in the local shops, and then waiting until next frickin' year to ride it.  However, I did have a spare shortboard deck , a set of longboard trucks and wheels I'd bought for $5 at a garage sale in the summer, a drill and a couple of hours to kill today.  The forums at Silverfish tell me this combination is called a Shlongboard, a combination of shortboard, longboard and "ha ha dick jokes are funny."  Sounds thoroughly doable...

The victim.

After removing the existing trucks, step the first is to take a straightedge and scribe a line past the stock truck bolt holes.  This will align the new holes.

Right here looks nice.

Now figure out where you want that truck, and mark some mounting holes. Measure 'em well to make sure they're square and drill, baby, drill. After the first two are drilled, you can use the truck itself as a template for the next two. Then do the same thing on the other end of the board.

And here's the end result. You can see the increase in wheelbase for yourself. Ride height is, surprisingly, only a half inch or so lower, and the new trucks turn hard enough I'll probably need to carve cutouts in the nose and tail to avoid wheelbite.  More surprising is that the board seems flexier than in its stock configuration, which suits me fine. I took it for a little test ride, and while it's nowhere near as fast or Cadillac-smooth as the Loaded board I tried, it'll still make a nice neighbourhood cruiser. I'd like to try setting it up with some faster bearings and bigger wheels, but I definitely got my five bucks worth!