Fly Down California's Craziest Hills on High-Tech Longboards

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

Beautifully shot videos showcase Loaded Boards' innovations in longboard design, not to mention some stunning west coast landscapes. 

Loaded Boards in San FranciscoLoaded Boards

Longboarding, freeriding, slalom, downhill -- the taxonomy of the sport is daunting for the uninitiated but basically, it's a cousin of skateboarding, with a longer board. Wearing helmets and gloves, riders crouch low, zipping down hills and hugging the curves of coastal roads, as you can see in these videos from Loaded Boards. Based in Culver City, California, the company specializes in developing flexible, curved longboards inspired, they say, by mid-century design like Eames furniture. Their products layer natural and synthetic materials in a complex process they detail in the descriptions of their latest models, the Chubby Unicorn and the Kanthaka. The specifics might not be that interesting to non-riders, but the videos alone are a graceful twist on the skate video genre -- more meditative, but also faster -- traversing urban and natural spaces with ease. 

Why "chubby unicorn"? In development, "the deck instigated such an enormous amount of rumors and conjecture that it ultimately took on a mythical dimension," they say, so they nicknamed it the "unicorn." It's width was described as "chubby" and it stuck. The video below, released this week for the launch of the Chubby Unicorn, features four riders, Maxim Garant Rousseau, Trevor Baird, Kyle Chin, and Dane Webber, in locations in Southern California. The video was created by Adam Colton and Adam Stokowski, who share behind-the-scenes pictures on the Loaded blog

The release video for a new model last month, the Kanthaka, is a gorgeous tour of San Francisco's steep hills and a surrounding areas, ending with a magic hour ride along the Pacific coastline. Featuring Ethan Cochard, Trevor Baird, and Nick Escamilla, the video was also created by Colton and Stokowski. The Loaded blog tells the story of the shoot with plenty of photos too:

If you’ve never been to the bay area, you need to understand that San Francisco is basically a large metropolitan area constructed out of the side of a series of large hills. The city scape almost appears to have just been stretched over the terrain. A tangled web of electrically powered buses, low key suburban neighborhoods, towering high rises, and hair raising inclines. San Francisco and the surrounding bay area definitely add a new dimension to the term freeriding.

For more videos from Loaded Boards, visit http://www.loadedboards.com/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/12/fly-down-californias-craziest-hills-on-high-tech-longboards/265867/