Review: California Bonzing Da Kine board
More and more I’ve been seeing board companies sponsoring skaters that value versatility over single-functioning setups. These skaters like to ride anything and everything and they need a board to heed that noble call. So, when it comes time for someone like Adrian Da Kine to design a pro model, the result has a little something for everyone. I’ve spent the better part of the last month trying to discover what kind of skating this beefy double kick is best suited for, riding everything from rough mountain roads to crunchy alleyways to glossy cement parks. And what have I discovered? First and foremost, that the California Bonzing Da Kine could easily be considered a quiver killer. The Da Kine has quickly become an ally and has found a permanent spot in the trunk of my car as an all occasion kind of deck.
From looking at the specs, this board is pretty straight forward. A solid 7 ply deck in the tried-and-true Canadian maple, a somewhat old school, asymmetrical shape, and wheel wells based around TKP trucks. The numbers run at 35.5” long, 9.25” at it’s widest point just behind the front trucks, and a tight yet capable 17” wheelbase. The tail is 6.5” long and the nose is 5.75”. There’s some mellow concave running throughout the deck, of course, to make your feet feel a bit more at home. On my Da Kine I most often used Caliber Standard trucks with a combo Blood Orange/Venom bushing, an 1/8” riser and wheels under 65mm to keep away from wheelbite.
[sam id=”11″ codes=”true”]
So, what is this board meant for exactly? Well, if anything, it’s meant for exactly what Adrian Da Kine created it for. It’s ideal for city riding, for sidewalk slashing, for hitting the hills until you’re bored and then hitting the skatepark. While I haven’t gotten to ride the Da Kine in its birthplace, the streets of San Francisco, I did take it everywhere with me in Seattle and all around the Olympic Peninsula. Its tight wheelbase coupled with its kicktails make for a supremely maneuverable board when navigating traffic, popping up onto curbs, and weaving through clueless pedestrians. Having the wide front on the deck also gives you maximum control and leverage when taking corners while its fat tail is great for getting out of tight spots. It’s been awesome commuting on it whenever I’m in a city.
The board’s short wheelbase and overall shorter length keeps the ride lively and responsive. However, this does have a bit of a drawback: short wheelbases aren’t for everyone. I found the short wheelbase challenging at speed but typically have a wide stance since I’m 6’1″. Not everyone will bomb hills on this deck, that’s for sure, but you can have a lot of fun on the Da Kine without taking it to top speed. Keep in mind that you don’t need to go 40mph on this deck if you don’t want to. I found the sweet spot right around 30-35mph.
As you could imagine, the Da Kine can slide with ease. Being so small, it’s easy to just whip the board sideways whenever you feel the need to. The slightly skinnier rear of the board makes it easier to switch from heel to toe when necessary and the kicks provide some good footstops for locking in. Again, tiny size equals easier to maneuver equals going sideways as much as you can muster. I slapped some Bones hard wheels on my setup for a few sessions and once I got used to the harder duro wheels it felt like I was flying in complete control.
I’m a big fan with how the Da Kine performed in the park and on the streets. I never got into technical and fliptricks, so I can’t really comment on that, but I do love a solid deck with a lot of pop and that is exactly what the Da Kine brings to the table. The big fat tail has a great angle/length for making solid contact when ollieing. It provides plenty of room for my big size 12 feet to find the right spot back there. The deck itself is fairly light, making it easy to get the board in the air and keep it there without wearing on your legs too much. The maple makes a nice stable platform for attacking airs with everything you’ve got and the wide front makes it all the easier to catch the board with your feet afterward. The construction is also plenty burly for when you need to kick out of something too big or gnarly. I’ve smashed my board into curbs, cars, and quarterpipes countless times and it looks ready to take a lot more abuse.
The Bonzing Da Kine is the kind of board that all riders should consider having. Something small and easy to grab when you’re running out the door. It’s the kind of board that you don’t really need to think about taking if you’re riding multiple kinds of terrain. It’s simple in design and materials, but not lacking in either. You can go fast on it, you can skate bowls and stairs on it, and of course, you can slay streets without hesitation. It’s not a downhill board, it’s not a techslide board, it’s not a freestyle board; it’s a do-whatever-the-hell-you-can-on-it board that’s meant to keep you entertained and riding away clean.