Worth The Money: Max Dubler’s Favorite Skate Products
Even though I am a jaded industry douchebag who has spent the last several years leveraging my ability to skateboard, operate cameras, and have opinions on the internet to acquire free skateboard gear, there is still some gear that I’m willing to pay actual money for.
* Note: These are my opinions and are not those of Skate[Slate] or my sponsors. You’re welcome to your own opinion and it may be different than mine.
Here it is, in no particular order:
The Earthwing Superglider – Brian Petrie, the guy who does Earthwing, is an extremely talented skateboard designer. Never satisfied, he tweaks the Superglider a little bit with every run. I have five different versions dating back to 2008 and every single one is a damned fine cruiser longboard.
Bones skatepark formula wheels – the fastest and grippiest I’ve ever ridden, and they come in the narrow side-cut shape that helps me do grinds despite my thoroughly mediocre transition abilities. One $35 set usually lasts me 8 months before I flat spot it.
Independent Trucks – they turn good and grind good. I’ve been riding them since like 1998 and see no reason to change brands. I’m sticking with what I know works for me.
Powell Peralta Rails – boardslides are awesome and that low-profile shit wears out too fast. The beefy uhmw ones are gangster.
Decent Hardware bags – I can fit all my skate gear, including my full face helmet, in one bag with plenty room to spare. I had my first one for three years of heavy travel before I sold it to a homie and bought a new one. The 42″ Body Bag is what you need. (Also, If you’re a camera guy, the Pelican 1510 rolling carry on with padded dividers and lid organizer is the best camera case in the game. I’ve had mine since 2009 and it’s kept my camera gear safe on every skate trip I’ve ever been on.)
Riders Fly brake soles – remember when you first switched from worn fine grit skate grip tape to fresh gnarly grip and your feet didn’t slip anymore? That’s how it feels to skate with Riders Fly soles. The soft, super grippy rubber grips at least twice as hard as regular skate shoe compounds and lasts forever. Throw some Wippermann spikes in the mix and you basically have bindings. When you eventually wear one out, you can just rip it off and replace it, making it possible for one pair of shoes to last a whole season. (Full disclosure: Riders Fly just hit me up to ride for them last week. Until that point, I was happily paying for soles and telling all my friends how awesome they are.)
Nike sneakers – all the “skater owned” skate shoe companies think we’re kooks and get their shoes made in the same network of horrible asian sweatshops that supplies the big boys, so you might as well get sneakers from the giant evil corporation with shitloads of money to spend on developing the best technology for actual performance. Just saying.
Bear wedge risers – These little 5° Bear wedges aren’t super tall like every other wedge riser. Worth the three bucks.
NJK Leathers – All the top pro riders pay full price for NJK leathers because they know they are the only choice for serious riders. Mine have literally saved my life. Get the El Diablo suit because it offers unprecedented freedom of motion. Can’t afford customs? They offer pre-fit “Race Ready” leathers for $650. (They also usually do 10% off on Black Friday.) If you can get to SoCal, you should get measured in person for the best fit.
Ojoom Pucks – they’re the only ones that last on slurry seal pavement, which is why all the Malibu dudes use them.
Riders Fly Crema Fire Pucks – spark pucks are fucking awesome. Make them yourself or buy them from Riders Fly.
Smith Scabs knee pads. The adjustable top strap with firmer elastic keeps them from grabbing asphalt and flipping down. I don’t care for the bulk when I’m tucking, but if I still wore hard cap knee pads for downhill, I’d ride Smith Scabs.
187 Pro Knee Pads – A little too bulky for tucking, these are good shit for park skating.
Demon Hyper Knee X D3O V2 – A middle ground between the big hard-cap pads and no-cap thin crash pads commonly being worn. These very comfortable mountain bike pads are pretty much everything I want from a flexible impact-polymer knee pad. Built on a gasket-like neoprene sleeve, they have a substantial piece of d3o foam that covers the whole front of your knee, pockets of gel padding on the sides, and a kevlar skin for abrasion resistance. I wear them under double-knee Carhartts and haven’t fallen in them yet, but I’m expecting them to meaningfully protect my knees and not shred apart on the first minor fall. (Shout out to Spencer Smith for alerting me to these.)
Aera Precision Steel Spacers – “precision” aluminum spacers are too soft and get deformed, so fuck that shit forever. Get on that hardened steel game for less than $20. (Side note: the newer sealed bearings with built-in spacers from Zealous, Muir, and Bear are good too, but I typically get Cadillac bearings for free at work.) I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out my sponsors here, because the gear I get for free is excellent and I am not one to ride it for free if I don’t believe in it:
Rad session today. Shout out to @madridskateboards @venombushings @roguetrucks @ridersflyfly @gangstergrip @skatehousemedia @skateslate @foothillspedorthics A photo posted by Max Dubler (@maxdubler) on
Venom Bushings – Number one choice of pro riders who don’t get paid to ride other bushings. I paid retail for them in 2008, got on the team in 2010, and haven’t ridden anything else since.
Gangster Grip – The grip is durable and grippy, the stickers are the best part.
Madrid Skateboards – the Formica downhill boards in particular are well-made, durable, and very inexpensive. They’re also made in the USA, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Rogue Trucks – They turn deeply, grip and slide precisely, and have a lifetime warranty against bending. Also, they have a cool baseplate library system, so if you want to try different baseplate angles you can mail your used plate in and swap it out for another used plate. If you’re a brokeass, the cast trucks should be out for the holidays.
Trojan Gloves – They’re totally good and I get them for free.
The bottom line? GO SPEND MONEY. THOUSANDS OF SKATERS ARE DEPENDING ON YOU TO HELP THEM AVOID GETTING REAL JOBS.
PS: Industry people who are about to be mad because your product is not on this list: I almost never buy skateboard gear or ride anything other than what’s given to me by my sponsors. If you think I would be hyped on your product, give me free shit and I’ll honestly try it out.
PPS: Industry people who are stoked because your product is on this list: hook a brother up!