Archive for the ‘Articles’ category

The East Lansing Police Are Rad

February 1st, 2010

Last night Bill and I were banshee bungee’ing in the Hamster Cage. We hung out on the 4th floor because it was the driest and warmest. We were about 45 minutes in and have a great but cold time, and I saw someone in a beanie coming up the stairs from the 3rd floor. I thought, “Cool, someone is coming to watch us.” Then I see a patch on his shoulder and immediately am not stoked. The first thing he said was that he didn’t care we were skateboarding. Score #1. Bill and I got a little bit more at easy after that. He told us he got a call because there was a busted car window on the floor below us. I told him I’d understand why he’d question us since skateboarders don’t have the greatest stereotypes and he said that he wouldn’t have acted any differently if we were just standing there talking. Score #2. He asked if we had IDs on him and we said yep, then he asked if it was okay if he could run them through to dispatch. We said sure, because we both are clean. Dispatch was taking a while so he decided he’d go downstairs to his car to run it. He told us that he didn’t want to be in the way of our skateboarding so he said to keep going. Score #3. Right before we pulled back the bungee again another cop car pulled up and stopped right in the middle of the ramp. The cop we were talking to tells her to roll down her window and says, “You need to move! You’re in their way!” Score #4. So after they run it in the car and see that we’re both rock solid, they then say they’re going to stick around and watch us for a couple runs. We explained to them the bungee and told them to come back and skate with us. They said they didn’t care at all, they just wanted to make sure we had helmets and cell phones just in case someone got hurt.

I’m really happy to say that these guys did not fulfill the typical “pig” stereotype. If you’re reading this EL Police, thanks for being so awesome. We really appreciate it.

PS: Apparently banshee bungee’ing down a parking ramp isn’t the weirdest thing they’ve ever seen. One of the policemen said that he saw a guy rappelling down a garage once! I responded with the time old adage that if it a person is “crazy” enough to do something like that chances are he/she’s good enough at it to do it.

The MSU Longboarding Club

January 26th, 2010

I am pleased to announce that the MSU Longboarding Club is now official and recognized by Michigan State University. This is great news for us as it will hopefully get more people involved and maybe get a little more respect for our hobby/sport/whatever. I am going to set up the website later today but in the mean time check out the Facebook Group ( and stay posted for a kick-off party in late February or early March. Hopefully there will be free food too.

One more thing to throw out there: you don’t have to be an MSU student to be in the club.



The Results Are In!

January 4th, 2010

The 2009 ISSA rankings are in and it looks like Michigan has done a pretty good job in the rankings. Check it out, all are Men’s Amateur.

Jason Yerke – 28th Place
Derek Yerke – 32nd Place
Tom Risk – 117th Place
Peter Croce – 171st Place
Alex Kwiecinski – 253rd Place

These are all out of 664. Hopefully we’ll see some even more Michigan domination in 2010!

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

December 16th, 2009

Way back in 1970, a small plastics factory called Creative Urethane began experimenting with urethane roller skate wheels. In the meantime, avid surfer Frank Nasworthy moved to California and realized hoards of kids were riding skateboards and attempting to carve empty pools in the area.

Creative Urethane was owned by the father of one of Nasworthy’s friends. Frank saw the urethane wheels and soon realized that they may have tremendous value to skateboarders. Up until this point the only options for skateboarders were steel wheels and wheels made of a clay composite – a combination of plastics, clay, paper, and finely ground walnut shells. Skateboarders went through wheels weekly, and a slalom skateboarder could wear down a set of wheels in less than 8 hours. Frank tried a set of the urethane wheels and noticed an incredibly smooth, controllable ride. He soon started the company Cadillac Wheels (on account of the smooth ride). Skateboarders around the world went crazy over the new technology, the second wave of skateboarding began, and the days of clay skateboard wheels were put to rest. Steel wheels are now obsolete, used primarily for performing 360 spins.

Thanks to Frank Nasworthy and good ole’ capitalism, there are a wide variety of urethane wheels available in today’s marketplace. Wheels vary in color, shape, size, core construction, and durometers (hardness); all of which affect the performance of the wheel. The exception is color, though many riders jokingly assert that color is most important.

Often times riders have questions about which wheels are best for a specific purpose. Below is a list of features found on today’s skateboard wheels with a brief explanation of each ones function.

Size: Skateboard wheels typically range from 55 to 90 mm, with a few freak exceptions. Smaller wheels accelerate faster, but larger wheels tend to top out at higher speeds. Smaller wheels slide slightly easier while larger wheels provide a smoother ride

Durometer: Durometer is a measure of how hard a wheel’s urethane is and is usually measured on the ‘a’ scale. The ‘a’ scale ranges typically ranges from 0a to 100a, and most wheels are between 70a and 100a, with 100a being the hardest. Some wheels have their own rating system, like Earthwing’s slide A’s, which are rated on the ‘d’ scale. Soft wheels provide a smoother feeling ride with more grip and rebound. Harder wheels slide easier and tend to roll faster on smooth surfaces. Many slalom racers ride with harder wheels in the front because the front does not need as much grip.

Outer Lip: The outer edge of the wheel is often referred to as the lip. The lip of a wheel affects grip and determines how easily the wheel will begin sliding. Wheels with rounded lips will break traction easy and are good for sliding. Wheels that have 90 degree lips are harder to break traction and the wheel tends to ‘chatter’ a little bit when sliding. There are also some cone shaped wheels that have triangle shaped lips. These will be the grippiest and hardest to slide.

Core: The core is the center support of the wheel and is the piece that touches the bearings. If they have been used equally in both directions, they will wear the most over the core. There are many different shaped cores, each with a different purpose, but the most important factor is whether the core is center set or offset. Center set wheels typically slide easier while offset wheels provide more grip and rebound in corners. Offset wheels also protrude further from the hangar.

General Shape: Some wheels, usually offset, have a conical shape to them. These wheels typically have more grip and rebound through corners, but are a little slower for straight bombs. Some wheels also have rippled edge, which supposedly provides more rebound.

Contact Patch: The contact patch is the portion of the wheel that actually makes contact with the pavement. Other things equal, wheels with larger contact patches have more grip and wheels with smaller contact patches slide easier.


Downhill: Lime Bigzigs (75mm, 80a) are my favorite. Anything 75 to 80 mm, 78-83a will work well. The more turns, the more of a cone shaped wheel you want, in my opinion.

Tight Slalom: 66mm wheels between 78a and 86a. I use 66mm zigzags, orange(86a front)/lemon (83a rear). Lemon/lime is also a good combination for beginners.

Hybrid Slalom: 66mm to 70 mm depending on the steepness of the hill. I use the 66mm zigs above, 69mm 84a hotspots, or 70mm 86a/83a split zigs.

Giant Slalom: 70mm – 75mm, 78a to 86 a. I use 73 mm seismic speed vents 80a rear/84a front.

Sliding: You can use any skateboard wheel, but hard works best. Earthwing slide A’s are unmatched in my opinion.

All around: There are too many good all around wheels out there to recommend just one. I like something 66 to 75mm, 80 to 86a, center set, with a rounded lip, and fairly small contact patch.

Remember, the main thing is using the wheels!

Get out there and skate!

– Derek

Racing 101

November 28th, 2009

As we attempt to get the scene going here in Michigan more and more races are popping up. From my point of view, these races are more about getting people together than winning. That being said, I notice a lot of people are afraid to push it hard in the race. I feel this is for a few reasons, but mostly because people are afraid to take out other people. Below I will outline some etiquette and pointers.

1) Don’t be afraid to charge it hard! After all, we are racing. Don’t take a stupid line (aka if you’re on a dropped/drifty board don’t try to take the inside-inside line) and think of other people around you, but go for the gusto when you think you’ve got it. If you’re in back, your main job is to not injure the person in front of you, so be extra careful about rubbing wheels with the guy in front of you. This will hurt someone.

2) If you aren’t into pushing it, chill in the back. You’d be surprised how far you can come, especially if there’s a crash corner.

3) Don’t slide to a stop if there’s a lot of people around you or if there’s people behind you. This is recipe for disaster. Run it out, footbrake it out, or announce that you’re about to slide (throw your hands up in the air and wave them like you just do care.)

4) The guy putting on the race is extremely grateful if you bring exact change for the pot.

5) And last but not least, the ugly. There’s always people who are not content with the organizer’s rules. Unless a complete idiot is putting on the race, there’s a reason why he picked the rules he picked. If you don’t like the rules, don’t come to the race. It’s pretty simple. If you want different rules, take the time to make your own race, which includes getting your own sponsors and advertising the thing.

6) If it’s a slalom race, NEVER ask the timer, who has typically graciously donated his/her time to doing it, what your time was right after your race.

Racing is awesome, and winning is fun, but ultimately it comes down to having fun. There’s very few people who are out there only to win. I’d rather just get together with a group of guys and rip it. So come out and have fun.