The Ivory Yeti nears completion

“Wait, I thought it was done? Didn’t you post photos of it and state that you’ve been out riding it?”

I know what you’re thinking. And that’s sorta true. I did get the grip tape installed, and started hitting my street. But that’s about it. My legs were not ready to just get out and ride for great distances. They weren’t even ready to ride short distances! So I’m hitting the street almost every day, even if for just a ride around the block. My front foot needs a bunch of conditioning!

The Kracked Skulls Scimitar arrives as finished wood, but with zero decoration. I’m sure this is exactly the canvas most skaters are yearning to personalize and express themselves; myself included. My grip tape design was only the first step in achieving this personalization. The underbelly of my Scimitar also needed to reflect Trevor.

So, I tapped into my existing artistic expression, and decided to camouflage the whole thing! Longtime readers of my blog may recall that I tested this technique out with great success a few years ago, on my kids’ Nerf guns.

Obviously this will look fantastic on a skateboard! So I dug out those same spray cans of paint and started my plan. I never clear coated those guns, so I right away decided that a trip to Home Depot was necessary. Shopping for clear coat that wasn’t glossy was the first step. Yuck! I didn’t and don’t want glossy! There were several choices of matte and satin finishes in the spray paint section. While reading the labels I realized that something a bit more durable might be a better choice. That meant furniture paint. I found a spray polyurethane by Minwax, that I decided would be perfect for my purposes.

I set up in the garage, and stripped down the Ivory Yeti. With special attention to straight lines, I taped around the whole edge, to keep the camo relegated to the underbelly. I needed a little more tape for the base of the trucks, which I decided to leave installed.

My camo’ing process is simple. The same steps I used for the Nerf guns was applied here. I chose tan as the base color, and built upon that. This time, I went for a tiny addition, my initials. I masked them off by precutting some painter’s tape into very blocky versions of my initials, “TSC”. Rather than simply paint over the mask, I decided to use one of the camo steps. So I used the palm-like branch and the black paint to apply the paint for the initials.

I used the dark brown for the tiger stripes, and then went to work with the green and brown using the palm branch and the smaller pine branches. At this point, you’re done when you decide you’re done. Too little, and there are blank patches. Too much, and the whole thing becomes kinda muddy. It’s very subjective, however.

I gave it about 3 hours after I was done applying the camo paint before I put down the first coast of clear coat. Two more hours of dry time, and I applied the second and final coat. Then I went to bed.

Today, it’s killing me to wait, so ripped off the masking tape, and installed the Randal trucks. That’s not going to hurt anything!

I really should wait the whole 24 hours, meaning 11pm, before I ride it. I’m not sure if I have that self control. You’ll have to watch my Google+ stream, to see if I can make it.

Ready to shred? No.

Now that The Ivory Yeti is set up and ready to bomb some hills and slide to my heart’s content, am I?

The short answer is, no. But how do I get there?

Well I first had to set down some goals. In doing so, I also had to decide what I don’t want/need to do; like break bones or die. I really did start with all the things I don’t want to be doing, really ever. I don’t want to hit 30 mpg, bombing hills. Ever. I don’t really care to learn how to slide. Ever. I don’t want to be doing tricks that imply a learning curve that includes hitting the ground with various body parts.

Now that that’s covered, what do I want to do? I want to cruise, and increase my ability to ride and carve, for hours at a time. I want to set some longer distanced goals, and then achieve them.

Knowing this, my G+ friend Eric made some recommendations:

Cruising is a ton of fun, but learning how to handle yourself at higher speeds is a must, simply because it might happen.

When cruising, try riding one foot, turning on one foot, etc. Get familiar with it, you don’t need to do it with both, just do it with the foot that isn’t your braking foot. Explore your board, see how riding towards the nose or towards the tail effect the ride. Carve with your feet closer to the edge and see what happens.

This is the most awesome and practical advice! My pal James came over last night and showed me a few things that I expect will be quite helpful, and Eric’s words here fall right in line. You know, one thing that’s great about the skating community, is that there’s always someone better than you, willing to share with you some pointers to help you get to the next level. Love that! Too bad the Church isn’t always like that!

So what are my immediate goals? Well, first off I want to commit to riding every day. I can do it, even on work days! I want to get a simply path in my neighborhood that I can get out, and cruise. The layout of my neighborhood makes it easy to add another street as I get comfortable with an existing path. I plan to follow this method, until I’m ready to kick it up to my next goal; a one mile ride.

Getting The Ivory Yeti road-worthy

My Kracked Skulls Scimitar arrived recently, but that didn’t mean it was ready right out of the box.

Let me first describe my new board:

  • Kracked Skulls Scimitar, 44″
  • double glass add-on
  • Randal, 180mm RII 50° trucks
  • Abec 11 83mm Flywheels
  • Abec green bearings

That was the recommendation from Bill at Kracked Skulls. So I took it. It arrived with part of the trucks installed, so I had a little work to do. I got the trucks installed, then the wheels. I knew from the beginning that I’d want to design my own grip tape look, so I declined the clear grit/grip that Kracked Skulls offers as an extra. I had picked up a pair of grip tape rolls at One Way Boardshop, in Santa Maria, in preparation of the Scimitar’s arrival.

A few days before it got here I loaded up Illustrator and traced a photo of someone else’s Scimitar, from Google Images. Then I spent some time poking around Google images for some inspiration in designing my grip tape. Early on I decided that I was attracted to the idea of an argyle-looking design. It would be a repeating design, with at least half the board deck covered. In the midst of tossing those ideas around, I realized that I could really represent my affinity for Android, by tossing in a look of Andy. So I did. Take a look at the intended design…

Once the Scimitar was built, I printed out one of the diamond shapes, and the accumulated shapes for the Android logo. A center line, and parallel side lines, then a cross centered line, were my guides. Easy peasy! Cutting out the diamonds were easy with a new bladed box cutter. But the closer details of the Android logo needed a finer blade. An Xacto knife handled that nicely!

As soon as the grip tape was installed, I hit the street in front of my house. Being horribly out of shape kept me from doing much other than going back and forth a few houses away on both sides. Not to worry! I’ll be shredding the neighborhood in no time!

(Actual riding is seriously held back right now from a work-related staff infection.) (Yes, yuck.)

The finished Scimitar looks great! I’m quite happy with the design, and have had requests from online friends to make it up for them! Just today the family went on a bike ride, and I could have gone along on my board. I expect that in the coming days and weeks, we’ll be doing a lot more of that, all to my physical fitness delight.

The Ivory Yeti

Yes, from that article title you should have figured out that my new longboard has been christened The Ivory Yeti.

If you need an explanation, you don’t know me. 🙂

Most of my readers are followers or friends of mine somewhere else; Twitter, Google+, or shockingly in real life. So in one of those places you probably already knew that I just got a new longboard. But why?

Well, I need to exercise. I hate to exercise. I hate running. Been trying to like it since last fall. Walking will work, but is boring. Swimming is cool, but too much get-in-the-car-and-drive-to-the-YMCA. When I look back at the periods of my life where I was in decent physical condition, I was exercising but exercising was the side effect of some other fun or cool activity or hobby.

A few weeks ago I was having coffee with my friend James, when this topic came up. He suggested longboarding. I said, “What’s longboarding?” Yeah, I did.

We ended up in the parking lot of Albertson’s/Starbucks with me test riding his bamboo longboard. Don’t remember the name, but remember checking the price online and being shocked.

That turned into me considering it as a possibility. Then I talked about it with my brother-in-law, an avid skater with contacts in the skateboard manufacturing community down in the CA Southland. His contacts started taking too long, and I had put aside some money to pay for it all, so I just bit the bullet and decided to get my own.

Some research took me to a thread on their forum just for “big boys”. (Shhhh, I am one of those.) I read a gazillion pages of big dudes discussing good boards for their girth and settled upon a Kracked Skulls Scimitar.

A short phone call to Bill at Kracked Skulls resulted in Bill telling me that he and I are similar in size, and he subsequently described the board he rides for cruising. That’s the board I ordered. That’s the board I now have. Yeah!

So, thus begins my journey into becoming a longboard champion. Whatever that means.