Author Archives: Kyle Bihler

How to choose the perfect snowboard bindings

We may be in the heat of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fantasize about carving down that perfect powder next season. Prepare for winter by getting all your gear now. You might even be able to find some better deals since it is such a slow season for boarding companies. One important piece of gear that you may want to reassess is the bindings. With the right snowboard bindings, you can finally nail that trick you’ve been dreaming of and maneuver with precision through the mountains. If you’re revamping all your gear, choose your boats first, bindings second and board last. If you’re just looking to upgrade your bindings, be sure to know what type of bindings are required for your board.

There are two major types of bindings: strap and rear-entry. Strap-in bindings are the most common and are compatible with all brands. These are very secure and can vary with the type of straps used. Rear-entry bindings are a time-saving binding that allows the rider to step right in to the binding through the hinged high back.

When picking out your new snowboard bindings:

  • Bring your boots shopping with you. You need to make sure the boots and bindings have compatible flex and fit. Although you can’t match the feel of the mountain, it is smart to try them on together.
  • Know your riding style. If you tend to ride off-trail mountains with a lot of powder, you’ll need different bindings than someone who sticks to half-pipes and rails.
  • Be prepared to pay more for lighter bindings. Lighter bindings make long rides much easier and take a load off when jumping and doing tricks.
  • Know that stiff bindings are for more advanced riders that want precise control, and don’t offer the forgiveness on rough landings that the softer recreational and intermediate bindings.

The history of longboarding

Longboarding has become increasingly popular in the past few years. The casual board is an accessible way for novice skaters to get in on the fun. Because longboards have a larger surface, they are much easier to balance on and riders typically don’t use them for kick flips and tricks. Longboarding has become just as much a means of transportation as it is a hobby. But where did it all begin?

While longboarding isn’t a far cry from skateboarding, its innovation differs slightly. It was avid surfers, rather than avid skaters, that conjured up the longboard to occupy their time off the water. The longboard is more comparable to surfing with the precise gentle carving and turns. Surfers were not as interested in the tricks and speed that traditional skateboards offered.

It is said that in the 1960s Makaha and Hobie (two skate and surf shops) began to produce the first longboards inspired by the waves of the ocean. As more and more surfers began to pick up longboarding in their spare time, the boards were honed. The clay wheels of the first models were not the best for maneuverability and speed, so the availability of urethane wheels was a welcome innovation. The increased traction meant better control, allowing riders to step up their rides.

The longboards of today benefit from improved technology and materials. The similarities between longboarding and water sports don’t stop at surfing. Some longboarders use a land paddle similar to stand-up paddle boarding on the water, which the Hawaiian surfers created. The paddle, or stick, is used for propelling the rider forward and balancing while turning. The next step in longboarding is unknown but with the increase of interest in the sport, riders are sure to find tweaks and innovations that will make the sport even more accessible.

Gear guide: What to bring to summer fests

Fest season is the highlight of the year for many. With day long competitions, showcases and expos – it’s a skaters dream. But don’t show up empty handed, with a daylong festival you’ll have to be prepared for what is going to be thrown your way. Before setting out, make sure you’ve got the right gear.

Remember to bring:

  • Water. Lots of water. Spending all day outside in the summer can get pretty hot – especially if you’re skating. Keep hydrated all day long. Bring a reusable water bottle so you don’t have to shell out for bottled water and do your part to keep the world a little greener.
  • Hat. Under that midsummer sun you’ll definitely want some protection from it. Cover your face to keep cool – and add some style – with a hat. Choose from a wide selection of hats at Eternal.
  • Sunglasses. You have to keep style in mind just as much as functionality. If the sun is glaring, a hat might not be enough to get the best view of the park. Add some hip shades.
  • Backpack. If you plan on spending the day at a fest you may want to bring a backpack to tote around all the stuff you’ll be carrying. Just make sure that the fest policy allows backpacks before you leave for the day.
  • Comfortable shoes. Make sure your skate shoes are just as comfortable for walking as they are for riding. You most likely won’t be doing much sitting around.

If you’re allowed to ride the course after the pros are finished, or if there is an open course for attendees, don’t forget to bring your board. You might not have another chance to ride that type of course, and you never know whose eye you’ll catch with that trick you’ve been mastering this summer.

DIY custom skate decks

If you want to showcase your creativity, a custom skate deck may sound like a cool way to stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of skate companies that will work with you to create a custom board, but a custom skate deck definitely sounds like it would take a decent chunk out of your wallet, right? You’ll be happy to know creating your own board isn’t difficult if you go through a DIY customization retailer, and surprisingly you can find some retailers that will do the job for cheap. Pick your board and then you can add whatever images and text you desire. The only drawback is the limitation of board quality. Finding a high quality blank board may be difficult.

If you’d rather save the cash and be more hands-on, you can customize your own deck without the screen printing or fancy equipment. You can simply purchase a blank deck, a minimalistic one, or even revamp your old board, and add your own artwork. Many skaters choose to outfit their boards with stickers, but take it up a level and use grip tape to give it some personality. You can create cut-out designs on the tape with a utility knife or rotate decorative grip tape along the board. If you’re feeling like the next Picasso, you can always paint directly on the deck for a truly unique board. It can be as simple as doodles with permanent marker, or as intricate as taking a brush and acrylic or oil paint to a blank deck. To ensure that you can actually ride your board without worrying about your prized artwork fading, cover it in a wood varnish after you’ve completed the masterpiece.

Whatever method you choose, creating a one-of-a-kind board isn’t only a great way to showcase your skills; it’s an easy way to make your board stand out at the park.

Of course if don’t have the time, energy or creativity to make up a custom skate deck you can always stop by you local skate shop.

How to replace your skateboard bearings

Unless you’re riding through a lot of mud and water, skate bearing generally last a long time and require little maintenance. Bearings allow the wheels of your board to spin smoothly, without creating excessive friction between the wheel and axel. These work well for a long period of time, but if your ride is being affected by old or dirty bearings, it may be time to replace them.

Replacing your board’s bearings is simple. You’ll quickly learn to fly through the process and save lots of money by doing it yourself.

  1. First remove the wheels from the axel. You’ll need a socket wrench or ratchet to remove the wheels. Be sure to keep the washers, shields or spacers in a safe place to put back on after you’re done.
  2. Push the bearing out of the wheel and place the new ones in each wheel. Line the bearing up so that it is flush with the side of the wheel and repeat the process with all eight bearings – one for each side of each of the four wheels.
  3. Place the wheels back on the axels.
  4. If you use washers, shields or spacers, replace them outside the bearings.
  5. Gently tighten the wheels on with the wrench. Make sure that your wheels are on tightly, but still have enough wiggle room so they can spin freely.

Take your new bearings for a test ride before you head to the park. You’ll want to know if you secured your wheels properly before you hit the streets. Find skateboard bearings and more at Eternal’s Skateboard Shop.

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