Worth The Money: Ryan Ricker’s Favorite Skate Products
Over the years I have become more and more immersed in the skate world. Being involved in the skate industry of course has its perks. You meet interesting people, skate amazing places, and try to figure out how to make it all last forever. Sure you may get a ton of free swag from your sponsors as well as random companies now and then, but that’s not everything. Here are a few of the necessities that I spend my money on.*
* Note: These are my opinions and are not those of Skate[Slate] or my sponsors.
In no particular order:
Helmets – The number one most important piece of safety gear you will ever own is your helmet. Making sure you have one that fits properly and meets safety standards is important. Not only that, but owning one that you are stoked on so that you actually wear it.
Having a full-face helmet means a lot to me. I crashed when I was younger and smashed most of my front teeth out on the pavement while wearing a regular half-shell. That being said I have tried a number of lids. I bought my TSG Pass and couldn’t be more stoked on it. It’s extremely comfortable, has a large, unobstructed view, and most importantly, it’s safe. I don’t always wear my full-face however. It’s equally important to have a good half-shell for the park, mellow freeriding, and commuting. Triple 8 and S-One helmets are just a couple of brands that I’ve worn on my dome and been happy with. Get a helmet, wear it.
Turn Co. – That flossy full-face helmet is that much better with a banger paint job. Doing it yourself is rad, but there is nothing like getting your helmet painted by someone that will give it that professional touch. Skip Marcotte from Turn Co. painted my helmet and it turned out incredible. There are definitely a ton of artists out there that would be happy to get creative on your lid. Hit up Turn Co or find someone locally and kick ’em down a few bucks, you’ll be happy you did.
NJK Leathers – Getting a suit is a big deal. They aren’t cheap but they are worth every penny. Kelcey at NJK Leathers does an incredible job on every suit he makes. Mine fits perfectly and offers more protection than anything else giving me the confidence to charge on any hill. If you can’t afford a custom suit, they offer premade suits in a couple of sizes also. I wouldn’t go anywhere else to get my ass covered, literally.
Skins – Now if you’ve ever worn leathers than you know having good “skins” to wear under them is a must. Wearing a lycra shirt and pants under your leathers keeps them from sticking and binding to your skin allowing you to move freely, in and out of your tuck. Not to mention getting them on and off a whole lot easier. You can often find a pair of leggings in the woman’s section at Walmart for $5 if you don’t want to spend the extra cash for compression pants.
Vans – I have tried them all and by far my favorite skate shoes are Vans. It’s all about the board feel and grip you get from the Vans waffle sole. Second runner up are Adidas, no waffle sole but they skate really well.
Tommie Copper Sleeves– Injuries happen. Every once in awhile I’ll have an injury or a joint that flares up, like my wrist or knee. Tommie Copper compression sleeves speed up recovery and offer relief. Comfortable and unobtrusive you can wear them under anything. It may be hype, or just all in my head, but they work for me when I have persistent aches or pains.
First Aid Kit – Being skaters, we should all have a first aid kit. It doesn’t hurt to have a small one to carry around with you on skate sessions. Road rash sucks. It’s nice to have first aid available when you need it. I usually take with me and also leave one in my car just in case. I found mine on Amazon.com for about $25 bucks.
Kershaw Pocketknife – Were you a Boyscout? If so, you know the saying, “Be prepared.” Having a nice pocketknife not only says something about you as a man or woman, but also can be useful in any number of situations. A good knife is also dependable. A cheap once can actually be dangerous. Spend a little money and get a good quality knife like Kershaw and just don’t lose it. Knives are like skateboards, you’ll want more than one.
Hydroflask – It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re skating. I always bring a water bottle with me. My favorite is my Hydroflask. Double wall, vacuum insulation keeps my beverages cold longer than any other bottle out there. Perfect for those hot summer days skating. Starting at $18.
Poler Napsack – Skate trips are the best. There is also nothing better than making all your friends jealous when it’s time to turn in for the night and you put on your Poler Napsack. It’s like a wearable sleeping bag with zippered armhole openings and a drawstring closure on the bottom so you can walk around (which is super convienient if you are camping and have to get up in the middle of the night when nature calls). Coming in at around $130, it’s worth it if you want to be cozy when you gotta sleep on your homies’ floor.
Angle Grinder – An angle grinder is handy when you have a board that gets wheelbite. This thing is great for making DIY wheel wells and giving your board a bit more clearance to avoid wheelbite. You can find them pretty cheap and most hardware stores, some for as low as $19.99. Read instructions, wear safety googles (full face!).
Ojoom Pucks – Hands down the best pucks around (pun intended). These pucks are insanely good and virtually indestructible. I can’t imagine slapping anything else to the palms of my hands. If you haven’t put these on your mitts yet you’re blowing it.
Don’t get me wrong though, I do get most of my gear for free from my sponsors. But it’s not stuff that I wouldn’t pay for if it weren’t free. Not to mention I wouldn’t be riding it if I weren’t stoked on it and I have built these relationships over years of skating.
Gravity Slick Ricker and The Rook – I’ve had the opportunity to design a couple of sweet boards over the years riding with Gravity. The Slick Ricker is a simple topmount downhill board with an aggressively sexy shape that I’ve always been into. The Rook is a twin kick park, pool, ditch and street board that is just slightly larger than the average popsicle stick at your local shop. Beefed up for people like me that have been riding longboards for too long and need that extra bit of platform for my stance. Both with New Mexican inspired graphics that pay homage to my roots.
Paris Trucks – Surfy, lively and carvy, Paris Trucks are all around pure FUN. The all-new Savants are forged and strong as F@$K! The axels are precision machined and dead straight, and the slightly tighter bushing seat and race inspired pivot make these killer for any hill I come across. However, the Paris V2’s keep me stoked and rolling smooth on most of my boards.
Divine Wheels – Can’t argue with the supreme urethane offered from Divine Wheel Co. that keeping me of the couch and in the streets.
TimeShip Racing Ragdolls – Leather gloves is where it’s at. Comfy, durable, and deliver the most protection, Timeship Ragdolls fit like a glove.
MuirSkate.com – Skater owned and run for over 10 years, MuirSkate.com is where I get all the gear that keeps me on my board.
We all pay for things out of our own pocket for in one way or another or for one thing or another. Find the gear you like with products you can rely on and back those companies. And since we’re all part of the skate community, I recommend checking skater run brands first and supporting what we do directly first.