One Ball Jay

Snowboard Picks 2015

Ah yes, with the holidays marching ever closer and the mountain snow blowing in full force it is time for this year's installment of Tom's Snow Picks. You can pick your board and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your board underneath the chairlift seat. IMAG0888

1st off: boards. The board i most want to see go to a good home this year is the Gnu Space Case. At the On-Snow demo i rode most of the models we carry and lets face it, there are not really any crappy boards made by the companies we carry (weird, yes, like the bizarre ride of the DUH) but there are always a couple that stand out for various reasons.

Unlike the asym ghosts of snowboading's past most companies are getting the modern asym design right. You don't ride your heal and toe edge the same so it's always seemed logical to have different approaches to their construction and shape. A banana-pickle sounds like it tastes awful but man does it ride great! We've all seen great graphics on OK boards and shitty graphics on great boards but the Space Case has delivered on both. This year of the Super Moon phases graphics has got my crescent waxing!

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I can't say this enough - your boots are your day! If you're not comfortable, warm, and if your heels are slipping around it doesn't matter what kind of board your riding your day is going to be rough. If you've spent any time around the shop you know just how opinionated i am about footwear in general (and probably know what brand i heavily favor). i have to admit, i actually had no intention of adding DC to our boot lines. At the snow show while looking at the DC skate sneaker pre-books my wife and Mike both pressured me to try on the DC boots at least - and now here we are.

Again, at the On-Snow i rode almost every boot we carry. i'm only carrying ones that are solid riders. Like some mad scientist on a mission at On-Snow i am distracted as i talk with our friendly reps, i am judgmental of other chatty shop employees who are holding me up from my next set-up to demo, and i rush off so that i can squeeze in 2-3 runs on as many different combos as possible making mental notes of each of their strengths and truly having an incredible time just geeking out on all the tech and how they ride.

Once i got in the DC Control i rode them for about a half day (kind of an asshole move, sorry to anyone waiting for them to come back in to try).  i just didn't want to turn them back in. So see, as stubborn as i may be i let the quality speak for itself and i have really fallen for these.

Bindings - so often overlooked by so many. Like with boards, bindings have evolved and gotten so good, durable, and comfortable that there really aren't too many stinkers out there (well, maybe except for rear-entry designs) so it really comes down to what seems to work best for you design and price-wise. i've got a sweet spot in my heart for companies that do just one thing and do it well. Union just does bindings, and their dedication shows. The Union Contact has a great looking and great riding design that is incredibly light, especially at that price point.

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Can't hit what you can't see, or not hit - depending on your riding style. i won't go off too much about these goggles because they seem to make the list every year and i don't want to keep flogging a dead horse here. Annual favorite around the shop: best selling, most worn by team riders, worn by both shop owners - Smith I/OX (well, Sarah wears the I/OS 'cause she's got a pea sized head). Frame-less, 2 - lenses, great price.

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The extras! Another repeat to the list: One Ball Jay Biogreen Wax. i wont ride anything else. You don't need those chemicals in your lungs while waxing and our rivers don't need those chemicals in them as the snow melts... and they make the shop smell like a soy latte on waxing day.

Black and white snowboarding socks with a skull on them - win. Stance socks, you know because you're probably already wearing a pair.

Another case of a company just doing one thing and doing it well - Crab Grab. Black and blue because that's what color my hip bruises are and Mega Claws because i'm a big crab. (Discovered that if you heat them up with a heat gun the little grippy texture smooths out/disappears - but that's another story on how i found this out)

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Clothes, because some mountains still frown upon nudity. With the continued trend to not look like a skier in a parka, all the companies are putting out great weatherproofed hoodies and flannels. They're all great, i just picked the ThirtyTwo version because - SNAKES. And if you haven't picked up one of our new LBS Army Seal long sleeve tee's, what the hell are you waiting for? Writing down the arm, shamrocks, Stay True, and hammers.

-tom

Snow 2015

With most of our snow stuff in, holidays sneaking up just around the corner, and cold weather inevitable i figured i'd throw out a sampling of what we've got to get you down the mountain the way you need to. Obviously, many more sizes and not all selections are pictured but here's a taste to get you salivating. IMAG0872

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From age 2 all the way to the grave we've got you covered, because really - you're kid should start on a board, not skis.

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Of course we've got everything you need to take care of your board...

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Stay tuned for our annual "Favorites" post where i wax about my favorite stuff of the season. Pray for snow!

-tom

Winter Gear Update

As we ride past the mid-point of our snowboard season i wanted to check in with some commentary on a bit the gear and products i've fallen for (and on) this season to date. First i'll get the enviro-geek in me out of the way. WAX! To be honest i have never found a huge difference in wax quality from one company to another. As long as you ride the right wax for the right conditions they all seem to work very well with just subtle differences in ride from one to another.  All made my board ride better after a tune-up and good 'ol New England ice was equally good at scraping them all off on me... until this season. Being the eco-nut vegan that i am i have always had concerns with waxes both from what me and our tuners inhale when we heat it and apply it to what happens to all those chemicals when they mix with our snow and eventually melt off into our brooks, streams, and water sources. After selling through all of our One Ball Jay's Biogreen Soy Bean Shredwax last season before i could try it out i kept a few aside this season to use for our tune-up and my own boards.  This stuff is incredible on all fronts!

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The shop smells like a soy latte when tuning (unlike that chemical wax smell we have all fallen in love with but is likely killing our brain cells... if we had any to begin with) probably reminiscent of the coffee shop that once inhabited the retail space we now call our own. It goes on well and HOLY SHITE does it ride well.  Not only better than the factory wax job of the first time i rode the board but the best the board has EVER RIDDEN! i've had quite a few people come back after tune-ups to say just that same thing.

Next comes gloves.  This winter i have now had to get into the habit of packing two sets of gloves because my Grenade gloves are just SOOO warm that sometimes after lunch i'm switching to a lighter pair. We're not talking Colorado or Utah winter temps, we're talking New England COLD!  Too Warm?  Yup.  If you are someone who typically has issues keeping your digits warm enough i recommend a pair of Grenade mittens.

Lastly, the old school curmudgeon in me has been holding pretty hard-fast to classic laces on my boots throughout all the fads that have come and gone over the years. But after selling 50/50 Boa to laces last season and closer to 90/10 Boa to laces this season combined with Boa's lifetime guarantee i gave them a try (Vans Encore - i like lots of flex)... holy shite is BOA awesome! Sure they're super fast and easy to get in and out of, blah blah blah. Not having hockey-skate-lace-hands that hurt all day from your excessive lace tightening: luxury.  Loosening up you boots for lunch and tightening then back up for the hill in a few twists: luxury.  Tightening/loosening up right on mountain depending on what you're about to charge: luxury.  Having to just deal all day with whatever tightening job you did on you laces that morning is a first world hardship that you no longer need to suffer from.

Snowboarding - you are starting to spoil me. Next i'll be be going out for manicures... alright, that's never going to happen but you are turning me soft in my old age.

-tom

PS - BTW - Grenade mitten w/ skeleton hands are vegan friendly (other models have leather), Vans Encore boots are vegan friendly non -leather as well.

Xmas Picks - 2013

Here are our Christmas Pick's around the shop this year.  We play around with this stuff, we order this stuff, and if it makes it home with us or is under threat of walking out with us one evening then you know it belongs in a separate category.

Tom's Picks:

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Gnu Street Artist Series - Banana Tech changed the industry, magne-traction for us icy east coasters, and the classic hardcore art of Edward Colver... come on now, i'm only human.  My defenses are useless against such an attack of goodness. Model only available at core snowboard shops.

Vans Encore Snowboard Boots - Classic Vans styling, very flexy, and the Boa system (i'm getting old, not having to pull laces means i can sleep in and extra half hour). 20 years of snowboard boots can't be wrong.

Banshee Bungee - You don't have one already?  What's wrong with you?  They're getting scarce, and we have one more left.

Anti Hero Hoodie - i don't believe in heroes, but i sure believe in this hoodie. Can't wear your Long's Board Shop hoodie all the time, and this one is so comfortable.

Remind Insoles - i now put them in EVERYTHING (except my coffee).  They have been saving my knees and lasting longer than my sneakers.

Grenade Bad Religion Gloves - i became a spring boarding glove fanatic a few years ago (Rome's great version was on my list last year). i use them as my winter driving gloves and more throughout the winter as i await the joys of spring riding.  They threw in a colab with Bad Religion and i fell for it.  Do you see a trend here? Damn hardcore music.

The Yowie - i realize that not all of you can grow a beard and even the beard can't keep my gigantic nose warm.  The Yowie is lightweight, warm, versatile, and even comes in a bandana print option - 'cause you shouldn't EVER be wearing that cotton thing. Looks great holding the ladies' hair back as well.

Vans Cabrillo Mountain Jacket - This lined, water resistant, flannel styled jacket is intended to bring the street look to the mountain (which it does well) but fuck, it is so much more. It's become my daily wear so far this winter. Teamed up with the Anti Hero hoodie above this was riding outfit of choice for late fall motorcycle trips right up until freezing temps threatened ice, salt and sand.  Motorcycle to mountain, this thing stole my heart.

Honorable mentions - One Ball Jay Biogreen soy snowboard wax (environmentally friendly and smells like a soy latte when heating up), Rome Mob Boss bindings (a fav last year and soo good looking this year), Ride Manic (timeless board look that's going fast).

Sarah's Picks:

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Outdoor Technology Chips -  Outdoor Tech makes all kinds of wireless audio, I've also put their Turtle Shell speaker on my list (see below), but these are specifically for helmets. 90% of the helmets we sell for the slopes have audio liners with earphones already in them. The earphones run a cord that you feed down through your jacket and connect to your phone or iPod. BUT there's a better way. These chips are wireless and slide right into any audio liner. I use the OT tags constantly for everyday, especially for phone calls. They have great sound quality and are completely reliable. Now OT has taken it one step further and made these Chips that fit comfortably into your helmet and allow you to listen to your music AND call your buddies to brag about the great conditions.

Spitfire Formula Four Wheels - We cannot keep these in stock. Half of our team (that half that have tried them) skate these wheels now and swear by them. Team rider Adam is convince they're made with magic - allowing him to slide & ride fast BUT never slipping out. He's skating the 101s and says they grip better at Rye Airfield than any other wheel he's tried. Click here to watch the best video I've seen reviewing these wheels.

Vans Skate Duffels - Got a skater in your life that travels back & forth to school or to see his or her buddies? Are you a skater that travels? These duffels are perfect for any kind of travel - bus, plane, automobile. Fit your board and your other necessities all in one back and never have to check your baggage again. Adjustable straps on the bottom for your skateboard and tons of room inside for everything else. Grab handles & adjustable over the shoulder strap.

Glassy Sunhaters - A sunglasses company started by skateboarders for skateboarders. Mike Mo & his brother Vice keep putting out some great styles and for a totally reasonable price. Glassy's start at 14.95, and I'm not talking just plain black (although we do have those) - there's turtle shell, camo, wood grain all for that price. Or opt for 29.95 for polarized pro models! Polarized for 30 bucks.   Oh Mike Mo, when will you make a Batman edition.

Vans Sk8-Hi - Takin it back to where it all began. This was Vans first high top and today they remain in their original form. Sure, you want to skate in your Chimas or Westgates or Astas but throw these on for kickin around - instant style.

Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell - Here we are, back at OT, but the Turtle Shell has been one of my favorites from the start. Everyone who has walked out with one loves it! Use with your device that has Bluetooth and get great sound (the bass on these things is amazing). Just like the chips, you can use it for phone calls too. The best part - it's water resistant, shockproof, dustproof. An indoor, outdoor speaker that you can use in the shower, go ahead. There are plenty of these wireless speakers out on the market, but if you're looking for one that will stand up to the elements the Turtle Shell is your pick.

Honorable Mention - The newest videos from Fallen & Zero are out and we have copies in store. These are both so great, for very different reasons. Fallen Road Less Traveled is more documentary style with some amazing sites & skating, and of course some Jamie Thomas. Zero Cold War - Tommy Gun's part is worth picking this up for, oh and then add Burman's part, no skater would be disappointed to get this under the tree or in their stocking.