If you spend an ungodly amount of time on the Internet, you have probably seen a video or two of people racing down some anonymous mountain road on a longboard. Once in a while you are even treated to the sight of someone running into a deer. It looks dangerous, but also looks like a lot of fun – so when I got the opportunity to test out a couple of Landyachtz longboards – I jumped on it.
Longboard company Landyachtz sent me two different length variations of their Drop Carve longboard, which they assured me would be a good board on which to learn, thanks to its design, construction materials and the way they set it up. The trucks are top-mounted, which looks unusual to anyone who has done any amount of skateboarding, but it brings the board closer to the road and makes it easier to control and footbrake. The trucks and wheels that it shipped with were what they ship with any complete board: Bear 852 Trucks, Abec 7 bearings and 70mm Mini Zombie Hawgs Wheels.
I have never ridden a longboard before, but have dabbled in skateboarding and spent a lot of time body boarding. I have owned my Landyachtz Drop Carve for about a month and have enjoyed every minute of it.
The deck material is a fiberglass – bamboo sandwich arrangement that provides a generous, but not too generous amount of flex. The level of flex really ramps up the maneuverability of the board.
While longboards are skateboards of sorts, they handle very differently to their shorter cousins. With a shorter board, it is easy enough to make a quick turn by leaning back on the tail, popping the front wheels off the ground, and pointing the nose of the board wherever you want to go. The design of the Drop Carve makes that impractical. This is where the aforementioned flex really comes into play. It allows you to apply very precise amounts of pressure to the board. That, combined with the right trucks allows for a great deal of control over the. While that might sound extremely complicated, it is actually very intuitive. You can really feel the difference in different foot placements – and learn very quickly where you want to put your weight when you are traveling at different speeds. I found myself picking up on some of the nuances within the first couple of hours on the board.
The Landyachtz Drop Carve may be designed for carving, but as I found myself challenging steeper and longer inclines, I found no difficulty in going fast. Let me get this straight, I am in no way confident, prepared or skilled enough to take on any of the mountains near my house – not yet anyway – but the idea of it seems far less insane than it once did. Doing that would mean learning a couple more maneuvers and getting some decent safety equipment – and is probably something that I will consider next spring. For now I look for moderate slopes at times when there are unlikely to be many cars – which means some very early mornings.
The Drop Carve does fast well, but it does slow well too, which makes for a lot of short fun rides around my neighborhood. The Mini Zombie Hawgs do a great job of conserving your momentum and let you travel a good distance off each kick – which gives you plenty of time to take in your surroundings. On more than one occasion, I have found myself spending longer than intended riding along the deserted rural roads past the tomato farms and rice paddies that make up the landscape of this part of Japan. It makes for a Zen-like mind-state and is a great way to unwind on the weekends.
This board is nothing short of awesome. I had been looking for a fun, low-impact activity that I could enjoy in my limited free time for years. As a 34-year-old teacher, I should probably be taking up golf, but this is much more fun. As far as the Drop Carve goes, I could definitely see myself riding it until I kill it then going out and buying another one – as long as I don’t kill myself on it first.
Price: $251 (complete)