Slalom Board Kicktail. Construction & Function.

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Vlad Popov
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Post by Vlad Popov » Wed Oct 08, 2003 9:41 pm

How to make a kicktail with lift and no cant? I'm interested in the UR13 version.

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Post by Guest » Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:19 pm

Vlad...all I did was figure the depth of the "kicktail" i wanted which was 5.25"...cut a 8"x5.5" 3/4" oak blank ,used an electric planer to plane down an angle by eye bringing one end down to the table. This was done by eye, i didn't have a specific "kick" angle in mind. Once I had the blank planed down I layed the tail of the board on the flat side at a 15* angle shift toe side for me to give me the "cant" angle. The whole process took under 10minutes.

It is stuck to the deck with double sides 3M tape.

I tried a straight "kick" tail (no cant) and found it worked fine, better if my foot was closer to 90" accross the tail (which isn't optimal for anything other than wide pen GS if that). I then tried the cant angle which puts the highest point of the kicktail directly under the arch or my foot or my heel..I tried 45* first, too much, 30* next, better but too much (though if I were to ONLY use the board for tighter courses I might have used this given it felt best with my rear foot angled forward around 50*) i settled on the 15* given it is the best of both world for my footplacement for tight to open courses.

i find that the kicktail with "cant" provides a pocket for the ball of my rear foot allowing for more positive grip/feel of the board, especially in extended toes side turns (reach around large offsets, "jani style" as you call it). It also gives me something to push against with my rear foot much like you push against a toe block with your front foot on heel side turns. I also find it helps me find the proper foot placement for push starts into a course. I also lets me know faster when my foot is NOT in the proper place and I can adjust.

When I step on flat boards, espcially no flex planks I miss the "kicktail/cant". It feels odd to me now NOT to have it.

The latest thing I am going to do is add some grip tape down the side of the board like Luca's new grip tape job form his board at Morro (look at Glenn S's pic of Luca's deck, you'll see wht I mean. it makes sense to have grip going for the rail of the deck under the toes of the rear foot for extra grip "just in case". I used to do it all the time with my Turners, the ones with the rolled edges (which i actually miss BTW). Given the kicktail is just stuck to the deck with double sided tape the grip tape going over the sides of the kicktail piece will also help to keep the kicktail block on the board.

---

On an unrelated note...I think the kick in an s-camber is another type of soultion to the same problem as this kicktail....however it can be used on flexy decks were the one described above really can't be...

GS s-camber anyone??? :smile:

Adam Trahan
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Post by Adam Trahan » Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:36 am

Cool.

Vlad, this is the type of kicktail that I was describing to you previously. Did I re-invent the wheel or did I have a good idea???

Does it werk?

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Post by Terry Kirby » Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:06 am

Gravity makes a nice foam kick tail you can stick right on.

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Post by Slappy Maxwell » Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:16 am

Vlad, I've got an extra Gravity kicktail it you want it.

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Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:34 am

On 2003-10-08 22:06, Terence Kirby wrote:Gravity makes a nice foam kick tail you can stick right on.
The Gravity one is too steep and too shallow to be of any use for slalom. I tried it before I made my own.

Guest

Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:35 am

On 2003-10-08 21:36, adam trahan wrote:Cool.

Vlad, this is the type of kicktail that I was describing to you previously. Did I re-invent the wheel or did I have a good idea???

Does it work?
Oh it works, does it ever work!

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Post by Glenn S » Thu Oct 09, 2003 6:19 am

Dan Hughes used a kicktail on his decks up in Breckenridge that had velcro on it so he could move it around.

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Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:27 pm

adam trahan wrote:Has anyone done this before you Chris?
No clue if someone tried this before me, i wouldn't be surprised if someone somewhere did, though I have never seen it before...but for that matter I can only think of 4 "slalom" boards that a) have a tail behind the rear trucks and b) have some kind of kicktail...and my board is one of those 4.

I got the idea from alpine snowboarding and the mechanics of how the ball of your rear foot needs to stay on the tail of a no flex/wood slalom board.

I think if the tail wasn't so wide on my deck cant wouldn't work or ned neccessary. Tway has an old Logan earthski with a super narrow kicktail and stepping on it in his living room it felt pretty good, though the tail was far too narrow for my tastes.

Watch Freewheelin' and watch how Stacey Peralta rides his Zephyr... look at his feet and where they are on the deck. Alot of it comes from there. Stacey's zephyr had a tail, not much (any?) kick but the deck had rocker....which is something I would also like to try on a no flex/wood deck ...I think rocker could aid in heel side pumps much the same way a toe block does. However the mechanics of setting up a table to steam bend 3/4" oak isn't something I want to do, nor learning HOW to steam bend oak. To use rocker you HAVE to absolutely NO FLEX in the deck of any sort (not that I have tested it but in theory that is how it should work). All the fancy birch/maple plys and fiberglass/carbon fiber (which rock in their own regard) can NOT dulpicate solid oak.

There is only one company who makes a "oak slalom deck" (and no I don't include mine as I have no aspirations to sell my decks)...Bahne makes a <a href="http://www.bahneskateboards.com/bahne_p ... duct_id=27" target="new">30" Oak deck</a>. If you don't want to make your own this is a pretty good solution, the shape looks pretty good (given it isn't intended to be a slalom deck). I'd love to try one myself.

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Post by Jim Siener » Thu Oct 09, 2003 5:44 pm

i thought i saw some skaters with heel cants on their decks in a video of the race in Switzerland this year. It was the race that Richy Carasco and Howard Gorden went to (I think). Anyway they had some close up shots on some decks that had all kinds of modified deck surfaces that looked like they molded right to the bottom of their feet. When I saw that I kinda figured Vlad would be all over that idea and we would see prototype versions eventually. Its interesting to see the influence of alpine snowboarding equipment in slalom skateboarding since there has been a lot of talk about their similarities. For me I have been moving toward a modified parrallel stance which would negate ever needing a kicktail. But I'm still experimenting to see which stance is faster.

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Post by Terry Kirby » Thu Oct 09, 2003 5:55 pm

What makes Oak a good choice? Would carbon be better. All of the old skate companies like Sims started with oak but went to Maple as things progressed. You guys will shit when you see Gareths S camber. T

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Post by Vlad Popov » Thu Oct 09, 2003 6:55 pm

I had a slalom board with a kicktail in the 1980s. Most slalom boards in Russia and some other republics were made with a kicktail. The idea for lift with no cant could be as old as a skateboard (I don't know...). Convergent evolution makes us shave wheels and do some mods independantly practically at the same time. Anyone is still riding PVD as a front truck? I don't anymore.

I tried to do a no-cant kicktail with a couple of different materials but they all failed in a short period of time. I don’t have an electric planer. Maybe PlankkR should outsource the tailpiece?

PlankkR M-series boards are 100% maple. They are cambered too. Similar to UR13 Production, they won’t be sold to general public. But for a different reason. Something <i>that</i> good should be kept to oneself.

Adam, wait for the heelpiece then. I think I’ll have it done pretty soon.

Guest

Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:04 pm

Oak is good because it has NO FLEX (when properly cut and finished) in a 17" inner to inner board. When I was NO FLEX I mean absolutely none, no torsional twist either (with proper finishing). Not only that wood has nice dampening and nice "feel" too it.

But it is heavy (which i like BTW)

Sims and such went away from solid Oak decks (i think) due to skaters wanting lighter boards for pool/park/ramp riding. For my purposes I like the weight of 3/4" under foot for slalom.

Carbon/foam/glass and even wood plys (including plywood) all rock when you are building a deck that you want flex in...but given those materials you can't build a deck as stiff as 3/4" solid oak, nothing even comes close. You could get pretty close with a carbon/wood ply/glass deck but the end product would be way more effort than it is worth to try to duplicate what 3/4" oak does naturally.

That being said I am going to work with gareth to try to build a no flex plank out of the Roe PS layups 9with alot of tweaks).

Oh and gareth has a shape from me for my s-camber already. I had hoped to see the deck in my hands before this weekend but doubt I will (Gareth?), ut I'll have it soon.

however..an s-camber is a different beast than a solid no flex plank. You WANT flex in s-cmabers and they are a middle ground between a no flex plank and a standard cambered/flex board. best of both world IMHO. I'll be curious to get mine and tet it out for what I designed it for.....

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Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:09 pm

Jim Siener wrote:I thought I saw some skaters with heel cants on their decks in a video of the race in Switzerland this year. It was the race that Richy Carasco and Howard Gorden went to (I think). Anyway they had some close up shots on some decks that had all kinds of modified deck surfaces that looked like they molded right to the bottom of their feet. When I saw that I kinda figured Vlad would be all over that idea and we would see prototype versions eventually. Its interesting to see the influence of alpine snowboarding equipment in slalom skateboarding since there has been a lot of talk about their similarities. For me I have been moving toward a modified parrallel stance which would negate ever needing a kicktail. But I'm still experimenting to see which stance is faster.
Luca's deck was there (well documented on this site) nd the one with the crazy countour on the surface was Ugolini's, it seems it has places molded into the surfaces (with Bond-O?) for each foot...interesting, but different than just a kick tail.

Jim..it is funny to hear you say you are moving to a modified parallel stance...I am doing well have by now) the opposite.

I do think modified parallel stance IS the best for high speed TS, aka...Gilmour courses.....but you are right that voids the need for a kick tail as you are (should be) standing between or at least inside of the trucks.

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Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:12 pm

Vlad Popov wrote:I had a slalom board with a kicktail in the 1980s. Most slalom boards in Russia and some other republics were made with a kicktail. The idea for lift with no cant could be as old as a skateboard (I don't know...). Convergent evolution makes us shave wheels and do some mods independantly practically at the same time. Anyone is still riding PVD as a front truck? I don't anymore.

I tried to do a no-cant kicktail with a couple of different materials but they all failed in a short period of time. I don’t have an electric planer. Maybe PlankkR should outsource the tailpiece?

PlankkR M-series boards are 100% maple. They are cambered too. Similar to UR13 Production, they won’t be sold to general public. But for a different reason. Something <i>that</i> good should be kept to oneself.

Adam, wait for the heelpiece then. I think I’ll have it done pretty soon.
I still ride a PVD in front, though my pivot is almost shot....I have been trying other options front and back on no flex boards...PVDs are almost overkill for those boards...though on boards that flex there IS no other option than PVDs.

I don't sell my decks because who wants a solid oak deck besides me....

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Post by John Gilmour » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:16 pm

Jim S. Is getting faster....I've Sein it.

The stiffest wood is....Lignum Vitae. Or African Iron wood. So strong that it is also used to make ball bearings for propeller shafts for salt water marine use. It is also about the most dense wood you can get.

Who knows where you can find it?

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Post by Guest » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:22 pm

John Gilmour wrote:The stiffest wood is....Lignum Vitae. Or African Iron wood. So strong that it is also used to make ball bearings for propeller shafts for salt water marine use. It is also about the most dense wood you can get.

Who knows where you can find it?
and you need what...a diamond blade saw to cut it? or a laser?

Oak isn't the stiffest wood but it is pretty damn stiff, especially for this application. You can also cut it with standard tools and it sands well and finishes well.

Mahogany (sp?) is the other wood I would try....

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Post by Vlad Popov » Thu Oct 09, 2003 7:22 pm


Who knows where you can find it?
Africa? :grin:

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Post by Jim Siener » Thu Oct 09, 2003 8:29 pm

Chris, its funny you say that a modified parrallel stance is good for TS because this is what i am finding out. I just got a timer and have been using it on short 25 cone TS courses so far and I always run cleaner and faster in this stance. Having a timer is the best training tool for someone learning. Times don't lie. I find with the raised heel stance I tend to steer a lot with my rear foot and make wider turns but I am always hitting the offsets on my heelside turns. In Mod Parallel I seem to run tighter lines and am considerably faster.

This could be another discussion. Modified Parallel Stance vs. Raised Heel Stance. I'm sure Gilmour would have an opionion, he seems to be one of the few who uses the Mod Parallel stance. But 4th at the worlds means it still a viable stance.

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Post by Vlad Popov » Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:19 pm

Depends on the course. Try running CyberSL in parallel stance (hah-hah-hah). Or any flat/ter course for that matter.

I have a secret project X board that I abuse using Gilmourian stance quite offten. 5-6 cones per second at 5-6 ft down 11% slopes at over 25 mph. Ala Boby Piercy style. Basically, no moutain is steep enough for this set-up, as wigling keeps speed under control. I wouldn't use regular pumping methods/stance for that drill. The ultimate goal is 18 seconds. 100 cones.


Anyway. There are some things that kicktails can't do. For everything else there is a.....kicktailed plank. Or an S-camber. Who knows.

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Post by Terry Kirby » Fri Oct 10, 2003 3:15 am

"Anyone is still riding PVD as a front truck? I don't anymore. "


Let me guess, you scored some double deckers? TK

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Post by Vlad Popov » Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:15 am

No, I thought they weren't the best front truck for TS, but I still srtuggle to find a good substitute. Front PVDs don't turn well at 50 or 60 degrees. Ok on straight TS and GS, though.

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Post by Vlad Popov » Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:33 am

You guys will shit when you see Gareths S camber. T
I have problems keeping my diaper on. :)[/code]

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Slalom kicktails

Post by Sam Gordon » Mon Oct 13, 2003 5:23 pm

Having seen various slalom kicktails in use at Grueningen to good effect, I thought I'd pre-empt Gareth's S-Camber design and knock one up myself. My main interest was not so much to increase pump leverage, but more a way of giving a rapid foot locator to the pushing rear foot. In such a way the kicktail would help the foot find itself directly over the back truck to give the board maximum grip and also prevent the foot from falling off the back of the board.

The jobbies shown here are constructed from varnished balsa, griptape and velcro. Not greatly permanent materials. The two part 'pocket' shape was the first design:

Image Image Image

Both parts could be moved about independently in order to find the best position by using ultra sticky velcro, but all I found was that whilst the theory was demi-genius when executed static on the kitchen floor, in practise all that was required was something very quick and simple. Hence the rather plain looking balsa bar as seen in the third photo. This communicates to the two rear touch points that matter; the ball of the foot behind the little toe and the outside of the heel. In TS you don't get a couple of metres to make grand re-adjustments and possibly even this quick fix is too much.

Given these findings, Gareth & Jani's S-Camber should be a very good deck to lever into TS. Now, all that design might need is a big-toe locator for the back foot. Hmmm.... maybe a very small tap washer under the griptape...
Last edited by Sam Gordon on Tue Oct 14, 2003 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Adam Trahan » Tue Oct 14, 2003 2:59 am

Sam, I hosted all of your images, you can just change the last part that you named yourself to get the rest...

Hope this helps.

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Post by Glenn S » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:33 am

Sam,
It looks as though your using an offset Radikal in the back there:
Image

Doesn't that give you even less tail in the back seeing that it looks like you've drilled back a bit too. Wouldn't you want a bit more tail area back there? Does your back heel hang off a bit? Did you drill it back to give yourself more wheelbase, or to actually make the tail area shorter?

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Post by Sam Gordon » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:00 pm

Well spotted Glen! The deck is one of Gareth's pre production Crossfires with the kevlar base and came with the double drilling. Because the board is so stiff for my weight (10 stone) I used the outer holes in order to get a bit of compliance, but also to have a wheelbase around 17 1/2 inches.

These decks are pretty wide in the tail area, so there is more foot placement area and leverage than the photo might suggest, but yes I do overhang slightly on heel and toe. I find that, given a lifting heel technique, most of my rear weight placement goes through the ball of the foot. Heel overhang is not an issue because it carries comparatively little leverage weight and instinctively I give greater clearance to cones on my blind side so am less prone to catching. Toe overhang is an problem and my shoe tip is prone to cone-trashing as I try to take a tight line through a course.

The rear truck is one of the offset Radikals. Despite its description as 'offset,' the Radikal has axles in line with the pivot point and the trailing arm construction does not lengthen the wheelbase of the board as one might think. I have the axle set at the highest setting to give maximum clearance and the baseplate is steeply wedged to reduce rear steerage whilst allowing for plenty of lateral deck movement. Basically, I'm just trying to keep my feet over the wheels for as much grip as possible.

Where the comparatively short tail is a bonus is in the way that it helps avoid the 'kicktail' effect; that is to finding your front wheels suddenly airborne mid way through the course. Ouch.

You didn't mention my wheel choice. I'd put the hard mid-grey Cambrias on for the photo in order to make Vlad sweat. What you don't see is that I'm running a couple of granite wheels up front that a stone-mason custom carved for me. Now I'm waiting for him to complete a matching set of dentures.

Umm... It's light grey allround from here on for me!

Guest

Post by Guest » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:37 pm

That "kicktail" effect is what makes runnin a board with a tail so fun. Nothing like going around cones with two wheels on the ground (less urethane on the ground is less rolling resistance which means more speed, right?) hahaha.

It takes a bit to get used to some tail on a slalom board but ones you do it is oh so sweet.

Don't worry about your rear heel hanging over the tail of the deck as it will never hit cones (unless you have REALLY large feet). Be more concerned with your front heel on heel-side turns as that is the one that will plunk cones if it is hanging off the deck too much. You need to have proper form since the kicktail/raised heel stance naturally allows you to angulate and cut very close to heel-side turns. If that front heel is hanging off...there goes the cone.

I don't think you could add anymore tail behind the truck on that crossfire. in fact I am shocked you can run with as much as you now have. The crossfire/Roe PS layup is a fine fine board/construction...BUT...it is still a cambered/flex deck. Even if it is stiff you are still flexing it more than a no flex/wood deck. So if your rear foot is behind the rear truck then you are flexing the camber negatively (pushing the high point UP) and voiding the entire thing. Now you CAN run you with your feet over the trucks on the Roe crossfire but you are better off slightly behind the front one and slightly in front of the rear one with your feet to get the snap out of the camber. I think you heel blocks are giving you something tactile in the back of the deck to find this foot placement. That is another aspect of what the kicktail does.

When you are riding raised heel ALL of your power IS going through the ball of your rear foot. It allows you to concentrate your power (downforce) through the rear axles directly to the wheels 9thus allowing harder wheels). By having the ball of your rear foot over the rear truck bolts it centers your foot basiclaly making heel side and toe side turns the same (well the same, almost type of traction).

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He's answering a question from half a bloomin' month ago:

Post by Sam Gordon » Sat Oct 18, 2003 11:49 am

Chris Stepanek wrote:GS s-camber anyone??? :smile:
Chris, Bullet PS GS mild S-Camber. Count me in!

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Gareth's answering a request from nearly two years ago

Post by Sam Gordon » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:39 am

On NCDSA, Fluitt posted:

Fast Farmer
Image

taking the first annual Shady Lane Downhill, pump and tuck fest, Pirnack on his 31" S-camber.

That fulfills the criteria of my previous request pretty closely.

After all this waiting, let's hope that this deck isn't a one-off!

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