New Custom Ick Stick by . . . me

Ick Slalom Boards

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Wesley Tucker
1961-2013 (RIP)
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New Custom Ick Stick by . . . me

Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:07 am

Well, first of all, let's be honest: it's not really a "signature" board. It's not like Rick Howell approached me with an endorsement deal and said, "we want to make a board and put your name on it for promotional purposes." This design and these boards are more like my idea of optimum shape coupled with the optimum construction technique, i.e., a flat-top cambered Ick Stick. So don't start looking for the "Wesley Tucker Racing Board" anytime soon on a website near you.

In the meantime, though, I enjoy the idea of perpetrating my own hype.

Image

What makes this board different? I guess the first thing I tried to do is aim for a shape that is truly "symmetrical." See, y'all have to understand that a very small group of us (meaning ME, BRUCE and ALSTON) approach slalom from a different angle than everyone else. Yes, I mean someone who rides PARALLEL. Of course, "parallel" also has the allusion of involving "symmetry" and "equal proportion." I've noticed, though, that since skateboarding's beginning design has reflected a "symmetry" from port to starboard on a deck, but rarely is there any symmetry fore and aft. The nose is usually completely different in shape and design (and construction) than the tail. This, though, makes perfect sense when you ride in a stance that has one foot in front of the other, one foot doing one thing and the other doing something else. Naturally, you'd want a board that is geared toward utilizing the best characteristics of what the back foot is trying to do and what the front is doing differently.

Not necessarily so, however, with a parallel stance. With the feet side by side, the question becomes, "how does the rider optimize the best characteristics of the board with the feet performing almost identical function, only it's to the left with one foot (that would be the left foot for those of you in Clarke and Westchester counties) and to the right with the other?" The answer becomes almost painfully clear: a board that is symmetrical both fore and aft as well as port and starboard. Simple.

The next question becomes what is the ideal symmetrical shape for accomplishing this goal? There are several answers: rectangles, ovals, diamonds. Any one of those could do the job. Remember the original G&S Fibreflex slalom board? It was just an oval with some camber in the middle. Pretty symmetrical. No cutaway aft, wheel wells forward, indentations, concaves or any other attributes taking away from its clean shape. As riders, though, progressed and boards became more specialized for particular riding styles, the simple lines of an oval board got lost in the shuffle.

Image

I decided, however, against both rectangles and ovals for a simple reason: weight. An oval has a large area within the outline of the curve that is a bit extensive and adds weight to the board. The same goes for a rectangle. Big square corners result in big square areas of material that aren't necessarily conduscive to performance. (Oh, you might be asking, "who would ride a rectangular board?" Have you seen Hollien's design?)

That left a diamond shape. That's the one I pursued. I decided that matching the dimensions of my Blackbird would be ideal so I went with a 30" length by 9" width. Even with all this talk of symmetry, though, I did compromise with my design. In an ideal situation the apex of the 3/4" camber would be right at the 15" mark. I decided, though, to move it forward 2-1/2" so that it's now located at the the 12.5" - 17.5" split. This is also the location of the widest part of the board from left to right. Why? The reason is a bit obvious: even though I strive for a sense of symmetry in my skating, it's really impossible with the feet people have. To ride centered over the board means the arch of the foot is centered while the balls of the feet and toes are projected forward. As I like the apex of the camber under the balls of my feet, the need to move the apex forward became necessary. Oh, well.

I did make one aesthetic decision, though, that has nothing to do with performace. I went with a rounded nose and tail just because I wanted to do something different. It seems that just about every racing board on the market has a sharp, pointed projectile cow catcher leading it into the wind. Also, most boards, if not all, have smooth flowing curves around the sides. Well, since my board has sharp angular "points" on the rails marking the max width point, that means doing something different with the nose and tail just to be arbitrary. Thus, a rounded, smooth, symmetrical flowing bow leading the board down the hill.

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One last thing. I got Rick to make me TWO boards. They are identical in shape but one is stiff (the Ickmeister likes to call it "firm,") for my weight and one is medium. The stiff board I set up with Chicken's 88mm offset Indy spaced with a 105mm Seismic in front and the medium has a 101mm offset Indy spaced/Seismic135mm combo. Both boards have Avalons all the way around with PT bearings. The firm board with the short track is for tight/hybrid while the medium is for hybrid/GS.

Personally, I'm excited to finally have in my hands a slalom board design I've wanted to see built for many years. What is really exciting about this is that I was able to do it at a point in time when not only was the deck construction superb, but I'm able to acquire hardware and wheels that will really optimize this shape. I just don't think having Rick or Bobby build this board in 1978 and then putting Full Traks and Road Riders on it would have offered the same level of performance. It's nice to live in a time when the technology and manufacturers' support provides the maximum benefit for the type of racing we like to do. It's also very cool that the technology now exists for me to create just about any board design I want on my desktop. My drafting skills with India Ink, straight edge, protractors and compass were always less than spectacular. Drawing something like this with the precision of 1/10,000ths of an inch and then getting high resolution output for just a few dollars is really cool. (Well, the output was more than just a "few" dollars, but not hundreds like it used to be.)

Oh, how much? Well, I paid Rick a lump sum to construct these two "prototypes." If you like what you see and decide you want one, contact him directly. I have no idea what he would charge retail to make additional boards with this design.

Finally, thanks to Dan Gesmer, Barrett Deck and of course Rick and Carin Howell. They made it all come together.

I guess now all that's left to do is go out and ride it.

Nick Krest
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Post by Nick Krest » Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:34 am

That's some severe craziness, Wes. They look like something that would be advertised in SkateBoarder Magazine circa '77, including the krazy kolor skemes.

Maybe you can get Dan to pour you some Avalons in complementary colors, as well.

Let us know how they ride. I'm not a parallel-stance guy myself, but I have a lot of respect for those of you that choose to huck yourself down a hill with your ankles touching each other.

Ramón Königshausen
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Post by Ramón Königshausen » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:15 am

Ehm...why are your Seismics wrong mounted?

rmn

< Ed note: images now updated with trucks mounted correctly. /Jani >

Jani Soderhall
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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:43 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:I guess now all that's left to do is go out and ride it.
Be careful, you won't get far, unless you read Ramóns post before...


It's cool to see that there ideas out there and skilled people to make them come true!

/Jani

Rick Stanziale
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Post by Rick Stanziale » Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:22 pm

Ramón Königshausen wrote:Ehm...why are your Seismics wrong mounted?
Wes is a Republican - he only goes right

;)

Wesley Tucker
1961-2013 (RIP)
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 08, 2005 2:07 pm

Ramon,

Thanks. It's fixed. Just comes from getting in too much of a hurry.
Last edited by Wesley Tucker on Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kevin M. Gamble
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Post by Kevin M. Gamble » Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:31 pm

Drawing something like this with the precision of 1/10,000ths of an inch and then getting high resolution output for just a few dollars is really cool.
Wes,
What application did you use to draw up your design?

Wesley Tucker
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:41 pm

Kevin,

Trust me, it was no high end CAD program. All I did was make a page 100% of what I needed (which I think was a little oversized at 33" x 12") in QUARKXPRESS. Then I used the drawing tools in Quark to make the shape and fill it with solid black so as to make it transferrable for Rick's purposes.

Then, I downloaded it and printed it on a large format HP Poster Printer.

This is what I sent to Rick, only is was 100% scale:

Image

Rick reported he had no difficulty transferring the template to glas and foam. It was funny, though, because Rick asked for my "permission" to cut it up and poke holes in the template. I had made a big fuss about NOT LOSING it because this output was so expensive. But once it was in production, Rick could do whatever was necessary to make it happen. I think he did an incredible job getting my idea into something real.

Wesley Tucker
1961-2013 (RIP)
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:38 pm

Nick Krest wrote:That's some severe craziness, Wes. They look like something that would be advertised in SkateBoarder Magazine circa '77, including the krazy kolor skemes.
Nick,

The big difference, though, is that in 1977 the boards would be 26 inches long and 7 inches wide!

Jack Quarantillo
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Post by Jack Quarantillo » Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:23 am

Very cool, WT. It will be fun to see them in action.

Q

Wesley Tucker
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:11 pm

Ok,

I've ridden the new Ick. All I can say is that I'm a genius. Not a middlin', sort-of-figured-out-the-Unified-Field-Theory kind of genius, but a real no-kiddin' mastermind!

And Rick's pretty clever himself.

The board does what I want it to do. I found on a reasonably sensible hybrid course that I set yesterday in Statesville, NC my performance was really enhanced by the board's unique shape. It really is a stronger "lever" for turning into and out of a cone. I found myself yesterday torquing through some wide offsets with a modicum of speed without any feel of control loss or slipping. I can push this board at an outer extreme that I just couldn't feel in any other shape, be it a full nose, cut away or thin waist.

I have to admit, though, that yesterday was not really a true test. I set a course for the North Carolina Downhill Billies to try slalom. I made it challenging but it was not any sort of monster course fit for the world championships. 7-8 foot spacing in a long stinger at the end. 7-12 foot spacing in the middle wide offsets, some 6-7 foot spacing at the top of the hill leading into the course. 44 cones total for a course that I was running in just under 19 seconds. Some of the fast guys on the East Coast would have run it in under 16 and found it boring after one or two runs. But, hey, you don't introduce longboarders to slalom by setting a Gilmourian masterpiece that only a fanatic would love. That's a great way to scare 'em away by leading them to believe it's way too hard and why bother with the effort that it takes? Better to let them feel the thrill of carving cones and start pushing a little before throwing them in with the sharks.

So today I went over to my parking lot and set some flat 6-foot courses that require pump and found the boards even more responsive than I had hoped for. I don't know what Rick is doing these days, but these Icks have a completely different "feel" than previous boards I've rode. Whether it be my early '80s models or the Carreras or cut aways in the past couple of years, Icks always felt a little "damp" compared to a Summerski's "bite." Not anymore. The flex and response with these boards are as tight and full of snap as any foam core I've exprerienced. No, I don't think it's the different shape. That wouldn't really affect how the board reacts with flex and torsional distortion. What I'm referring to is just the way the glas and foam FEEL under my feet. There's as much pop and lightning in these boards as I've ever felt. That coupled with the shape makes these really fun to take through a course.

David Baker
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New boards

Post by David Baker » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:40 am

I had Rick make a GS board for me a year or two a go (has it realy been that long?) and still love the way it rides. He hit the mark on mine as well. GO PARALLEL!

W. W. B. P. D.? = the motto for parallel riders...

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