Worth The Money: Riley Harris’ Favourite Skate Products
Sometimes I forget I’ve been around as long as I have. I started my passion for downhill skateboarding at the ripe age of 14, and I am now 24. I often don’t clue in that I’ve been at the game a decade. In that time I’ve seen the birth of many skate companies, skated just about every style and brand of product you can imagine, and experienced first hand the rise and progression of the sport during that time. I’ve worked hard in these ten years, I’ve strived to win and get my name out there, and I don’t let anyone judge me for my hard work. The following is my list of what I believe to be Worth The Money when skating downhill. * Note: These are my opinions and are not those of Skate[Slate] or my sponsors.
*Thanks to Steep Shot Photography for the feature image.
Let me just start by saying, I hate road rash. Like really, really hate it. I’ll take being sweaty and uncomfortable over losing a couple square feet of flesh any day. So without delay, the list (in no particular order):
Solid Skate Pants – Just wear some sturdy pants already! Are you freaking kidding me? Yes, yes, wear what you want, but I like the skin on my ass thank you very much. Go out and buy a solid pair of jeans. When you and your buddy [or a random pack mobbing down a freeride] gets a bit too close in a corner and things turn south, you won’t be the proud new recipient of instant leg pizza, a possible infection and the time and energy off your board dealing with it. And don’t cheap out either. The $80-$100 pairs stack up longer, and offer more protection. How much do bandages cost? More over time I can assure you. I’ve used Volcom brand denim in the past and been quite pleased.
Safe Helmets – My full face is extremely impractical, it’s a Uvex ice skeleton helmet for those curious. It just fits and the visor doesn’t go up. Plus it’s an obnoxious green that when not paired with my leathers is a complete eyesore. If I was writing an article on what was not worth the money, it may top the list for someone paying full price. I lucked out with this unique and ultra rare lid though. A friend of mine spotted the gem of a helmet in a sports thrift store, gave me the tip, and for the fancy price of $40 it was mine. I rode the helmet for a bit too long not really knowing what kind of protective foam was inside. While I like that it is unique, I care about my brain and so I did the responsible thing and got the helmet refurbished. I highly recommend that you wear a safe helmet. If you want to be unique as well, do what I did and spend your money with Team Mids. Stephan Vaast and Kai Salam are wizards when it comes to composite materials, sourcing strange and obscure helmet liners, and fabricating visors. I’m 100% satisfied.
Unbelievably stoked that my helmet made it back in time with only days to spare. The boys at Mids Lids did a fantastic refurbish and rebuild for my Uvex. I definitely recommend them for all your helmet needs. @midsvan #landyachtz #beartrucks #hawgswheels #daddiesboardshop #loktongriptape #hillsidegear #teamnobull #rileyreels
My opinion of half shell helmets is pretty lax. Make sure it is certified, has hard foam not soft, and the strap is adjusted tight so it doesn’t come off your head. I ride a TSG right now that i am happy with. I am most happy my head is safe in a certified lid.
Helmet Cameras and Recording Your Runs – I use a GoPro because it’s simple to use, produces top quality footage, and it’s light. I have it rolling anytime I’m on the race track, and surprised more people don’t. Check out #RileyReels for lots of great footage, and not just of me! Ultimately, even if you don’t want to be a sponsored rider, or even don’t care about watching your runs, a POV recording on open roads could be the footage you need if there were an accident or an issue with Police. Wear one. Record. And have some fun with the footage. Even if you don’t use most of it, I enjoy putting out crash footage for fun too. Check out my 2015 video here:
2016 Landyachtz Wolfshark Mini – Aaron Brown, head engineer at Landyachtz outdid himself with this board. Working with Wolfgang Coleman, he created the mini version of an already amazing skateboard. Hollowtech construction and a permanent fibreglass sublimated graphic; I’m in love. Sorry Big Lean, no more Charlie Horse for me.
Personalized Stickers – I’ve had my own sticker for a couple of years now, and may I say, they work. I usually get flack from some people, so it’s a good thing I don’t care what other people think. It makes me happy bringing a smile to faces all around me when they read those obnoxious words on the door of an outhouse, the race brackets, or any other highly calculated “heavy eye traffic zones.” Perhaps I’m just starved for attention, but I don’t regret for a moment spending money on thousands of stickers with my name on it. My efforts help raise awareness for what we do outside of our small circles and help out my generous sponsors and supporters, so Don’t Bash The Hustle, and get some for yourself. Skateboarding is about personal expression at the core, so let’s keep it that way!
Hillside Leathers – Based out of New Zealand, I feel your money is best spent with Hillside Gear. Having the freedom for total customization is just awesome, down to the exact leather colour and shade you desire. No preset colour choices here! Fully custom and for those people looking to add a lot of patchwork, they won’t break the bank like some other top quality leather brands. They also do rad screen printing on their stretch kevlar, which is an awesome touch.
Hillside Leather Slide Gloves – Landyachtz has some hilarious glove designs for those days slashing alleys and messing around, so you can’t go wrong there. Personally, my go-to on race day is Hillside Gear’s gloves. Tough, rugged, leather gloves, keep me from getting any more scars than I already have. Again, road rash freaking blows. Hillside is also working on crash shorts and knee pads and I’ve gotten my hands on some awesome prototypes.
iPad – I spent my tax return this year on an iPad Air 2. I travel a lot whether it’s on a plane or in the van and I have a job with Landyachtz. When I’m away from my position as events coordinator, I can still conduct my day-to-days and remain in the loop. I can’t be bothered to lug around a laptop when I’m travelling to skateboard, so a tablet is the perfect solution. Not only can I get work done, I can help keep up my responsibilities as a sponsored rider, especially on social media, and keep entertained when there’s nothing else to do. It wasn’t cumbersome to carry in the Philippines and I can do everything and more with it versus my old laptop. Add a bluetooth keyboard case and you’ll be the travelling professional rider you always dreamed of being in no time.
Seismic Lokton Griptape – At first I was skeptic of the trend with grip tape companies adding holes and designs to each sheet, but now I am a changed man! My good friend Aaron “A-Swag” Hampshire hooked your boy up with some Seismic Lokton Griptape, and may I say, it’s awesome. Definitely the longest lasting grip tape I’ve used, remaining sharp far longer than any other option. Plus, the holes look really cool on my Hollowtech Wolfshark Mini, so there’s that. Strongly recommended.
Vans Shoes – There are lots of options out there and no one pays me to wear them, but I keep things simple with Van Half Cabs. Nothing fancy. Tried and true.
Bear Trucks – While I am sponsored, I also choose to ride Bear Trucks. Bear Trucks have the variety, and versatility to meet everything you need and they’ve been doing it for a really long time. Cast, Forged, or Precision, colour options, multiple baseplate angles, reverse and standard kingpin options, you name it! That means I have trucks for everything from my Dinghy to high speed downhill and can count on the quality and performance. Plus the brand is named after Bears, and Bears are awesome.
Daddies Board Shop – When I need gear that isn’t on my sponsor list, Daddies is there for me. A scene supporter from the beginning, Daddies rules. Eric the team manager is a homie, the staff is friendly, and they always have what you’re looking for. Based in Portland, Oregon, they ship all over and have a huge selection. Check them out here.
That’s it, that’s all! I’ve been on the hustle for sometime and so have so many others trying to bring you great gear, good times and a solid community. Support those that support us! Go and spend some of that hard earned cash and then get out and skate.
Big thanks to Craig Barker and Steep Shot Photography for the feature image. Craig has been hitting up events like Danger Bay and Britannia Classic this summer already and sharing his images with the community. Check out his instagram, give him a follow, and show some stoke!