Saturday, July 21, 2012

Uh Oh... I Think I May Have Just Become a Tech Deck Collector!

I haven't really mentioned this on the blog, as I'm not really sure if this fits into the "geek" theme here at the Lair, but I have recently reignited an interest in skateboarding. This must be yet another manifestation of my mid-life crisis (I'm about to hit the big four oh).

I started skating just like every other kid on Earth back in the mid 80s, during skateboarding's 3rd resurgence, with the rise of Powell Peralta and the reign of Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain. I skated like a maniac all through middle school and a bit into high school. Later, in my early 20s, I would rediscover skating and find myself on a board again for the next few years. A nasty head-first collision with some concrete, complete with concussion, got me off of my deck permanently. Or so I thought.

My most recent reconnection with skateboarding started a couple of years ago with the purchase of a new longboard, which is basically like a skateboard for old guys, content with surfing the sidewalks and paved park trails. (I suppose I was also influenced by all of the skateboard related artwork I was assigned to create at my t-shirt/toy design gig.) I had come to really love my longboard, and have been casually riding it for a while when early one one morning, while most sane people slept, I got it in my head to grab my vintage Valterra Dragon deck and to head on up to the new nearby skate park. Luckily, the place was deserted since most kids didn't get up to skate at 6:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

Long story short, I had a blast and went out that day to buy a new street deck, some pads and a helmet.

I've since been heading up to the skate park about every other morning (I usually need a day for my sore muscles and knees to heal), but that is another story.

Today, we're going to talk about how my new-found love for skateboarding has clashed with my penchant for toy collecting, when both aspects of my life lined up like the suns and moons of the Dark Crystal as I found myself staring at a display of little toy skateboards called Tech Decks.

I have walked past the Tech Decks at Target and Toys R Us a million times while on my search for action figures and Lego minifigures. But now that I was a totally radical skate rat again, I found myself taking a closer look at these little four-wheeled wonders. And what little strength I had against buying any of them crumbled when I saw this sweet Black Label longboard. What's that? It's only $3.49? One thrid the price of an action figure? Done. Take my money.

The board itself is a work of pure beauty. I guess the Tech Deck people have really mastered the art of applying crisp, clean graphics on their products, and they would have to, because that's pretty much what these bad boys are all about. Sure, you can do all kinds of little finger tricks with them, but I'm a stranger to all of that. I'll learn some moves soon, but until then, I'm just loving the graphics on the deck.

Each Tech Deck comes with a slew of killer miniature skate gear. Grip tape, wheels, stickers. This one also came with some sort of sticky gel-pad thing that supposed to help you do tricks with your deck, but that didn't really interest me.

Putting the grip tape on the board was pretty easy and it didn't take me long to get the tape lined up with the truck screws.

One of the coolest features of Tech Decks is how you get to change out the wheels. There was nothing sweeter back in middle school than when I finally got a bright orange set of new Slime Ball wheels and put them on my deck. This was like living that moment all over again, only on a really teeny, tiny scale.

Surprisingly, despite their almost microscopic size, the wheels came off pretty easily.

I switched them out for the set of black wheels. I sort of liked the white wheels better, but I wanted to experience changing the wheels on one of these. Look how tiny that nut is! (That's what she said.) It takes a steady hand to switch out the wheels, but I managed.

Oh man, now that I look at it, this Black Label deck looks even more badass with the black wheels on it!

As I mentioned before, the deck came with a small sheet of stickers. I didn't want to grime up the graphics too much, so I just chose one small sticker and applied it near the tail.

Seriously, I think I'm hooked. These things are just too damn cool. I actually bought a few of these, so get ready ready for more Tech Deck reviews/show-and-tells. In fact, I may have to do some more general skateboarding posts. Sure, it's not necessarily a "geeky" subject, but I sure am geeking out on it. So, get ready kids.

Hey! Check out Frank! He's totally shredding! Actually, he really should be wearing a helmet.