Snowboard Season Ender 2015/2016

Well, winter is over and spring is (finally) here for real on the east coast. Despite the low snow numbers here this season, it was still my best season ever. Still scored, and I go out more days than I ever have. Looking forward to next year, but for now I’ll be enjoying a slightly warmer ocean. Cheers!

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Why I Wear a Helmet

A while back, I had an accident riding my longboard. It was really dumb. I fell off it. I hit my head on a metal railing. I blacked out for ten minutes.

To this day, I still have a bump on the left side of my forehead. Needless to say, I had a really solid concussion. The effects of it really messed me up for a long time, and still mess with me today. For at least a year afterward, I was really irritable, forgetful, and my memory was generally fuzzy. I actually would have moments where I would completely lose my train of thought while talking. That was freaky. I would see spots, and actually still do sometimes. I still struggle with my memory, but it is slowly improving. I still have trouble keeping a train of thought sometimes though.

The bottom line for me is, none of that is worth not wearing a helmet. The way in which I fell was dumb because I was just pushing around, I was riding somewhere easy and mellow, and I could have avoided the whole thing. Wearing a helmet isn’t a good idea, its literally the best idea you could have, especially if you’re really going for it.

Just do it, it’s not uncool or whatever. Wear it on snow, and especially on pavement. Find one that’s comfortable and stylish. Put stickers on it and make it obnoxious. Just wear one and save yourself from my mistake!

Music for Shredding // Pt. 2

To see part 1, click here.

For a playlist of songs, click here.

In the last “Music for Shredding” post, I threw out some suggestions for what to listen to if you just want to vibe out, cruise a little and shred. Nothing too intense in that post. This time it’s different. Last time I broke my playlist into two general categories: “Cruising It,” and “Pushing It.” These songs are…

For When You’re Pushing It..

Music is my favorite way to get into “the zone.” It helps me quiet the parts of my brain that second guess, throw up doubts, and generally cause hesitation. For when I’m pushing my own limits, I like to listen to something heavier and driving. Probably my favorite band along those lines is Rage Against the Machine. I love funk. I love it so much. So, Rage is up there on my list.

This song is called Wake Up, from RATM’s self-titled debut. I love the funkiness of the guitar riff. The rapping over top adds to the funky drive of the song. I can lose myself grooving to this easily, which is exactly why it’s the perfect song for getting in “the zone” and shredding hard. Other RATM songs on my playlist are Sleep Now In The Fire and Bombtrack.

Another less known, but still kick-ass band is Radio Moscow..

These guys are sick. I think I found them on Pandora a while back. They’ve got a fast and driving type of psychedelic rock going on and I really like it. The song above, Hold On Me, is off their album Brain Cycles. Rancho Tehama Airport is a great track from their most recent album, Magical Dirt.

Middle Class Rut is an amazing band I first heard on an old radio station in the NYC area called 101.9 WRXP. They’ve got a pretty hard style of rock, but they do have some mellower songs as well. Dead End (above) is a great track, but these guys have so many more. Leech and Sad To Know are two tracks that are definitely worth checking out.

This song, called Burnin’ In, is by a band called Spirit Caravan. This group has a more guitar driven hard rock sound. I think this track was released in 1999 but I found it the other day and I think it still rocks. Another good song by them is Dreamwheel. If you want even more to listen to, Them Crooked Vultures is a ridiculous super group made up of John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme. What a combo. Check out Scumbag Blues. Another band worth looking into is The Dead Weather. This is actually a Jack White side project, but they have quite a different, interesting sound compared to his other bands. Treat Me Like Your Mother is a great song.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I will add songs to the playlist sometimes that aren’t in any of the posts, so keep an eye on it.

Now go shred.

How to Wax Your Stick – Hot Waxing for Snowboards

Ever hit the slopes a little too hard and ended up flat on your face? I have. Typically, a few things can contribute to this. You should ask yourself: is it slush season? are you even on snow? and, what’s your wax situation? I’m going to focus on wax, because the other two should be easy to correct if you have waxing down. The steps for doing a good hot wax are simple if you have everything you need and are in the right environment. You should find a table in a well lit area and cover it and the surrounding area in newspaper. Don’t do this in a place where pink wax might stick to and ruin something, because it will stick to everything. If you got that, then here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clothes iron or Waxing iron
  • Hot wax
  • Plastic scraper
  • Wire brush
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper Towels
  • Gummy Stone (optional/recommended – get one here)

The Steps

1: Prep/Gummy Stone

I like taking my bindings off before waxing because its easier to work with the board. If not, you should at least loosen the screws so the heat doesn’t mess with the mounting holes. You should make sure you have the right temperature wax. Hot wax can be all temperature (more versatile, good all around) or temperature specific (faster if the conditions are right). It’s a preference for you. I like temperature specific wax because I re-wax my board a few times a season anyway. Also, if you have a gummy stone, the first thing you want to do is rub that thing all up and down the rails of your board. This will remove any rust, dings, burrs, or rough patches in your rails…as long as it’s nothing serious. This will make some metal shavings so after that..

2: Clean Your Base

Take your rubbing alcohol, get it on some paper towels and rub it all over the base of your board. This will clean off any dirt that could get stuck in the fresh wax. Wait for this to dry for about 15 minutes. Once you’re sure its dry..

3: Drip the Wax

Heat your iron up. For an average clothes iron, the right setting is the lowest one. On my iron, it’s called “synthetics.” It could be called “wool” on others. For a fancy waxing iron, the temperature should be set to whatever it says on the wax you’re using. Between 250-270 degrees Fahrenheit is a safe bet if you don’t know what else to do. Drip the wax up and down the base until you have some pretty dense coverage. You’ll probably have to move the iron back and forth a bunch of times.

4: Spread the Wax

After you drip a good amount of wax, you need to spread it all out. Run your iron slowly across your base. Keep it moving though, or you risk burning your base! A good pace is around an inch per second. If your iron is a little hot you may have to move it faster, so keep an eye on it. A few slow passes with the iron and you should have a pretty smooth layer of wax. Leave this to dry and harden for 45 minutes to an hour.

5: Scrape the Wax

After the wax is cool and hard, you need to scrape it all off. Hot wax doesn’t work if it’s just on your base. The heat from the iron actually makes it go into the pores in the base, and any left on the base surface will make you go slower! So, take your plastic scraper and really put some effort into it. Your arms might get tired but you should try to scrape as much wax off as possible.

6: Brush It

After you do a bunch of scraping, take your wire brush and brush your base. You don’t need to be super aggressive with this, just enough to take off the last thin layer of wax. Brush until it seems like no more wax is coming off. A good way to check if there’s any wax still on the base is to run your fingernails down it. If you have any wax under your nails, brush a little more. It doesn’t need to be spotless though so no need to go nuts.

That’s it! Check out the video up top to see it happen.

 

Music for Shredding // Pt. 1

For a playlist of every song in this post, click here.

If you’re like me and a ton of other skaters or snowboarders, you like to listen to music when you ride. Obviously we’re not the only ones who enjoy music – just look at all the headphones in the gym or jogging around town. Music has the powerful ability to take the mind to a far away place. I find people listen to music when they do other things because they want to take the mental aspect out – that can be a good thing if your mind is saying “STOP it hurts!” or “NOOO too scary!” When you stop thinking, that’s when you get into “the zone.”

But, the question isn’t why we listen, its why we listen to what we do. I love lots of music, and I love shredding, so I shred to lots of different music. In the end, it all falls into two general categories that I just made up: “Cruising It,” and “Killing It.”

For When You’re Just Cruising..

For the record, cruising doesn’t mean riding like a kook. Cruising means riding just inside your limits, not pushing hard, but not slacking. For this kind of riding, I like tunes with a more relaxed vibe. I still need a steady, driving beat but with a happy, relaxed, less intense feeling. Let me give you an example..

This song is by French Kiwi Juice (FKJ). He’s a DJ I’ve really been digging lately. Most of his tracks have a similar vibe. If you like this, you should check out tracks like Instant Need and Lying Together, and maybe buy his EP. Electronic music has really had my ears the last little while, so here’s another example of some serious vibes..

I don’t know much about Sorrow but I stumbled on this on Mr.SuicideSheep’s YouTube channel. That channel is full of similar stuff if you dig this, and I’ve spent hours just listening to song after song. Another great group with a slightly different style is Thievery Corporation. Pretty much anything by them is great, but check out Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes, and All That We Perceive.

If you like hip hop, you should check this out..

I’ve been getting really into classics like this lately. AZ in particular has a real smooth flow, and Rather Unique has a great beat. This kind of hip hop is chill but not dull, and I dig that. Along similar lines, I’ve also been listening to Everyday Struggle by Biggie. You should check out this song by Danny Drive Thru too. I had never heard of him until I heard this track in a video part and now it’s on my go-to playlist.

For those more into alternative or rock type stuff, check out Apocalypse Dreams by Tame Impala..

Tame Impala is sick. I love music with that psychedelic vibe. That driving beat combined with the trippy sounds and searing melody gets me every time. If you dig this check out Restraining Order by Anarchicks, and The Boat Song by The Black Angels. Actually, anything by The Black Angels is worth a listen..

That’s all for now. Keep your eyes open for the next part of this post series. I’ll talk about more intense music for pushing the limits. If you have any song suggestions or think I missed something, comment down below.

You’re (NOT) Too Old to Skateboard..

Anytime I hear someone say anything along the lines of “You’re too old to skateboard” I cry a little inside.

How depressing is it to hear that as a result of time spent, experience gained, and blood shed, you’re now past the prime and shouldn’t be doing it? The same applies for any board-sport, and my answer to the haters is the same in any case: you don’t get it. Nothing is worse than self-righteous rants by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. I skate because I love it. Its a feeling that I get. There’s no way I’d stop just because someone else thought I was being immature or irresponsible. Besides, doing something consistently for a long time is a great way to become really good at it and get some confidence. When you have that confidence (not cockiness) its easier to shred more and get hurt less, which is helpful when your recovery times start to drop.

On top of that, skating for me is like going to the gym for others. I wouldn’t tell someone to stop doing their thing because I think its a bad idea though. I skate as much as I can (almost every day depending on weather), and every time I do it makes me feel better. It helps me loosen up, get in a rhythm, push myself a bit, and get a good workout too. I’d much rather keep on skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding for as long as I possibly can than do anything else.

You could say I live for it.