Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fight the Power

Rolling through the park on a rare warm Winter's day way out East!

Friday, January 13, 2017

NOS Ray Underhill Mini Model

I have honestly been browsing these decks for a handful of years, and, after all of this time, I have decided to order one. The Ray Underhill "Cross" mini model from Powell Peralta measures 9.5 x 30.5 with old school truck mounting pattern (2.75" as opposed to today's modern 2.5" pattern which was actually invented by Mark Gonzales and presented to Tracker Trucks who initially rejected the idea, but that is another story for another day.) This deck, along with the Frankie Hill "Van Gogh ear", the Tony Hawk "pictograph" deck (toe knee hawk), and the Steve Saiz "buffalo" deck among others, was part of Powell's line from around 1991 when skateboard companies were following the current trend of the "minimal" graphic ala the Ron Allen "no scratch graphic" from H-Street, or just about anything from Small Room or Molotov at that time. These decks featured a smaller, hence minimal, graphic hit that was sometimes placed on the nose of the board or perhaps just half of the board (the Nicky Guerrero "feather") and were a further extension of the overall movement in skateboarding at that time to minimalize skateboarding as a whole. The rise of street skating over vert and park/pool skating lead to a shedding of plastics such as lappers, copers, rails, and even risers in an effort to lighten the load and allow the flow of freestyle based flip tricks into what had before been simply dubbed "street style."

So, why did so many of these decks suddenly become dead stock in 1991? Other companies seemingly had no problem selling their minimally marked boards, but these Powell decks are still out there in the original shrink wrap just waiting to be ridden. The explanation, in my opinion, was the rise of Rocco and World Industries. Many of the young riders from Powell followed Mike Vallely and left the fold of George and Stacey and headed toward Rocco and Rodney (who also rode for Powell most of his early career). Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, and Gabriel Rodriquez all followed suit. The mighty had fallen. Vision, Santa Cruz, Sims, and Powell were all fighting for relevancy in a post vert skateboarding based economy. And a lot of boards being produced by the big companies at this time would be passed over for boards coming from World Industries and other smaller and lesser known companies which multiplied like rabbits. 26 years later and here we are which leads to the question of why?

Why did you order one of these decks? Nostalgia? Price? Shape? Size? The answer is all of the above but special emphasis on size. After riding 32-34" boards for so long I have had a yearning to ride a wider (9.5") and shorter (30-31.5") board again. Why? Fun. No other answer I can think of. I love skateboarding. Probably way too much.