Stop Buying Used Snowboards From Swaps

Snowboard equipment is expensive, i get it. But snowboarding has inherent risks involved in its participation and you NEED to make sure you are participating on safe equipment. This year in particular i have seen a rash of unsafe equipment brought into the shop that people have purchased at local swaps. Equipment that never should have been sold in the first place, and that paying any amount of money for would have been too expensive.

If you have a child interested in snowboarding but are not ready to spend the money on a new snowboard set-up i highly recommend renting at first. All the mountains have rental shops and renting when you go up that few times for the first season to see if your child enjoys it and will stick with it is a safe and affordable way of assessing their interest. If after a season they are still excited about snowboarding, then go to your local shop and have them help you pick out a set-up that will work for your rider. There are plenty of well priced options, but dipping below a certain point is done at the expense of safety.

Here’s just a sampling of the horrors i’ve seen come out of swaps and used gear, just this year alone:

-Ancient Burton 3-hole bindings “forced” onto an industry standard 2x4 pattern board (which also was at least 10 years old) with 2 bolts, heavily slanted and barely grabbing any threads (would surely have come out mid-ride)

-Board that in addition to being over 10 years old (a GNU without magne-traction is how old this was) that looked like someone tried to wax it with their mom’s Yankee Candle - that snowboard wasn’t going to go ANYWHERE on the snow.

- Countless “over the foot” toe-strap bindings. This toe-strap style has been out of product lines for much of this millennium and is a sure sign of a set-up you shouldn’t pay any money for. Even more than the tech being old is that the gear itself is now outside of it’s lifespan and the plastic recipes used in that era are now at a age that is likely to crack and break in cold situations.

- Franken-bindings! It’s never a good sign to see mis-matched pieces on bindings. It means that stuff has broken on them before and you can only assume that things will continue to break on them. A sure sign they are passed their usable lifespan and are now a safety concern.

-Grossly incorrectly sized gear. Those of us who own snowboard shop do so because we love snowboarding and we genuinely want to see others participating and enjoying this activity. Beyond the safety concerns of riding improperly sized equipment is the worry that frustration will end up turning someone excited about snowboarding away from the board forever. The wrong gear makes learning and riding more difficult. A low priced set-up at the swap may not be the right size for your rider and add to the difficulty of entry into the activity.

-Brand WHAT?!?! i’ve been snowboarding since before they let us at the resorts. Even if i haven’t ridden them all, i’ve at least heard of most every brand to have entered the realm of snowboarding. Well this year i saw a complete board and binding set-up made by a company i’ve never heard of before. This was an old set-up, mind you, not some brand new company that may have been a start-up. There were all kinds red flags on that thing.

Snowboard is fun. That’s it. Anything that gets in the way of that one goal is a problem. Spending $250-300 getting a board, boots, and bindings at a swap that will lead to rider frustration and safety issues is not worth it, especially when there’s the possibility of getting into entry level new gear at reputable snowboard shops between $500-$700 that will last and be safe for years to come.

Re-issue of Real Kelch Flyer

Getting to live out a dream and own your own skate shop has a lot of great and emotional moments, as i’m sure you can imagine. Almost 7 years in now, i’ve had quite a few but recently i had a top experience that i knew was coming, but still caused a level of joy that i was not expecting.

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A few months ago i received the email from Deluxe that they were going to re-issue the Real Kelch Flyer deck, and that they were offering pre-books (pre-orders) so that us shops could ensure we had them for the release date. This made me quite excited, and then i saw that they were also including the option of the original shape in a slick - which the early 90’s version was. This made me ecstatic! i imagine this deserves a bit of explanation...

The Kelch Flyer was the board i was riding during an emotional high point in my skateboarding life. It’s the board where i really transitioned in trick selection from what we’d now call old skool to new skool. Shuvits, pressure flips, nose-slide EVERYTHING (because it had a full nose as big as it’s tail), and the kind of technical things that smaller wheels, a thinner symmetrical board, and a slick bottom would allow you to do. It’s also the first board i purchased while in college which is when skateboarding took on an even deeper and personal emotional bond for me.

Skateboarding had already saved my life by then, and the love was there since day one, but in college i was finally in a life situation where my time was more my own. On that flyer deck i started a skate regiment that still is my preferred mode today - solo midnight sessions! Sure, going to school in Massachusetts meant that quick train rides started my love affair with Copley Plaza, alongside the fantastic new skateboarding friends i made there (many of which i’m still friends with today). Sure i now no longer had parental outfit inspection before leaving every day. But even with all those quality of life improvements, nothing… NOTHING warmed the cockles of my heart the way that self-exploration on a board under the darkness of night when it felt like the rest of the world was settled in for the night. Pushing through the streets, sliding those ledges, flipping those manhole covers, all alone and on that Flyer.

And then something else magical happened. When i’d take a breather, or while lying on the ground from a failed attempt i started hear it… that sound… my favorite sound… the sound of skateboard bearings rolling. Someone else was out here too?!?! Elusive and solo, around the midnight hour, staking a claim on the world when everyone else had left it for tomorrow. i started referring to him as Phantom Skater. Emotionally torn as to whether i should try to find him or if i should leave him be, i seemed to shuffle back and forth, depending on the night and depending on how much alone time i myself required.

Of course we eventually ran into each other at a spot and he quickly became my favorite person to ever skate with. No conversations, just his random comments muttered from a half-open mouth, or a recommendation for a spot we should hit. Rare silent car rides to said spots, accelerating to 90 mph for this one spot in the road where his truck could get air - and his double giggle (he-he) subtly squeezed out every time we hit it. He’d watch Jason Lee parts and try to recreate those tricks (often successfully). It was like getting to skate by yourself, but with someone else. We didn’t skate together every night, just periodically. To be able to feed of someone else’s stoke and energy, but without all those social pleasantries and baggage.

i loved skating with Phantom Skater and he fully embraced my nickname for him, sneaking a tight half-grin when i’d say it out loud. All those nights on that Kelch Flyer. i skated it until the ‘slick’ layer had completely come off the nose and i had a boardslide groove in the center worn all the way to the wood. Those were the nights where i was discovering who i really was. Those were the nights where i got to skate with my favorite skater, pro or otherwise. Those were nights of pure joy where skateboarding once again was saving my life.

The following year Phantom Skater just didn’t return. It would have been his senior year, my sophomore year. No one knew why he didn’t return. i had no contact info for him away from school, just that his family lived in Michigan. Of course that Flyer deck eventually broke as well. But those nights were some of the best nights i’ve had on a skateboard, equal parts fun, therapy, and self-exploration. Getting to hold that board again floods me with emotions. Somehow it feels just like i remembered it did. So much so, i can’t quite bring myself to hang it in the shop yet. Every so often i just wander out back and hold it for a second, just to have a feel.

Black Friday& Small Business Saturday 2018

Well, it’s that time of year for the annual running of the…

This year’s 2 - day sale celebrating Black Friday and Small Business Saturday will be: 25% off snowboard outerwear, goggles, mittens, and skate shoes. When you’re done knocking the turkey and cranberry sauce out of your fellow Mainers for that TV deal at the local box store, come here and relax to snowboard videos and the calming effect of a punk soundtrack as you save money on your snowboarding and skateboarding needs.

Just like in the pit, remember to pick up the fallen. No one needs to spend the holidays crushed.

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Dinosaurs Will Die

We are happy to announce the addition of Dinosaurs Will Die to our menu of snowboard offerings. You’ve seen many of the boards from this creative and impressive brand under the feet of rippers from Loon’s parks to magazine pages, consistently winning Good Wood awards in recent years.

It’s a brand i’ve been personally excited by for a few years now and this was the right time to bring them in to the shop in our constant efforts to provide the best quality snowboard options for customers no matter your riding style. With DWD joining GNU, Lib Tech, Ride, Rome, and Winterstick in our shop we’ve got the board to make your day on the snow the most fun possible. Because really, that’s what it’s all about!

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LBS Holiday Hours 2018

We’ll be closed for a few days during the holiday season, and also open for Christmas Eve, a Monday, because Tom will always be a last minute gift buyer at heart. So he gets it.

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