What The Pros Ride–Geoff Rowley
What board are you riding right now, and what do you like about it?
Uh, I’m riding a Flip. The new boards¿I can’t even remember the name of them right now. Anyway, what do I like about it? The boards’ got little crinkley bits on ‘em, and they hold their shape. After a while, regular boards just start to get loose in the concave. Like, you know, the nose and tail will go flatter. It’s exactly the same as a regular board except it just holds its shape.
New technology by Flip, right?
It’s pretty basic; it’s not like some space-age technology. It’s just a slight crinkle in the board, which makes ‘em hold their shape longer and makes them slightly stronger.
What size boards do you ride?
I’m not sure of the exact measurements, but it’s just below eight inches wide. I just made my shape a little bit skinnier.
Um, you know, I just wanted a little bit of a change. I figured most people don’t ride boards that are eight inches, and I thought I’d try it a little bit skinnier. You gotta keep up with the techy moves and everything; you can’t have a big boat.
Is there a wheelbase you prefer, or is that pretty much standard nowadays?
No, we have a bunch of different wheelbases. I generally have a short wheelbase, ’cause I’m not such a monster. I don’t know what size it is, but it’s fairly small for a wheelbase. Or average.
How often do you set up a new board?
Quite frequently. I skate quite a bit, and I just go through a lot of boards.
What kind of concave do you like?
Pretty mellow. I generally don’t like steep boards. Concave on the side just doesn’t feel that good on street to me. Like on a mini ramp or a vert ramp, most people like concave so the board sticks to their feet. But when you’re skating street, mellow’s better.
Anything special you do to your griptape?
I put it on backward for some reason. We have griptape, and there’s a logo on the bottom, you know? Psychologically, for me to ride a board, I have to griptape it the other way around. I don’t know why.
So you have the little cut-out thing in the front?
Yeah, upside down in the front. It makes no sense.
What wheels are you riding right now?
Ricta wheels. Some new ones that are just like the gray ones, but they’re a little bit harder, and they don’t flat-spot as easy. They’re 54s, I think. Kind of skinny.
Do you use different-size wheels for different terrain?
Nope. Normally, I just ride the same 54s. I’ve been riding 54-millimeter wheels for quite a while. I like ‘em skinny, ’cause if they’re fat, they feel a little slow. To me, narrow riding surface makes them seem like they go faster and makes it a little bit lighter.
Do you ever try different hardness wheels?
I sampled all kinds of different wheels, but I don’t know what the best hardness is off the top of my head. I don’t like soft ones, so I guess harder rather than softer.
How often do you set up new wheels?
Probably every month or something. It takes me a while to go through wheels, unless I flat-spot, and sometimes that just happens straight away. But normally, I just leave ‘em. I don’t feel the need to change wheels every other day when they’re just gonna feel the same anyway.
Do you prefer a certain color wheel?
White. Everyone says that, but I prefer white wheels. I don’t mind certain-colored wheels now and again, but mainly I just like white wheels. The whiter, the better.
What’s the smallest wheel you ever rode?
Oh god! I don’t know exact millimeters, but I think it’s like 42, or something. It may even be 40. When those wheels were in, I rode ‘em just like everyone. Tiny lil’ things. Tiny.
How long did that last?
For however long that little fad was in. You know, all the wheels were like that for a while.
What bearings do you ride?
How long do your bearings usually last?
Quite some time¿about the same as the wheels. Actually, that’s exactly how it works. I put wheels on, and when they’re worn out, then new bearings go on with the new wheels.
Do you use bearing oil of speed cream?
Nope. No bearing oil, no speed cream¿when they’re dry, they’re done, that’s it!
What trucks do you ride?
Fury. Eight-inch ones. All silver, as well.
Do you ride them tight or loose?
I ride ‘em loose¿not to where they just rattle, but right on the edge to where they’re as loose as can be. When they’re new and everything, I have problems getting ‘em loose enough. I normally ride ‘em for ages, until they go crooked. So, when I get a new set it’s such a nightmare. I have to make the kingpins longer. Jeremy Foxx would do that for me¿make the kingpins longer so I could have them trucks even looser.
What’s a good reason for changing trucks?
Crooked. ‘Cause after a while, on most trucks¿actually, all trucks¿the pivots wear out, you know, and they go slightly crooked. It kind of feels like I need to replace the pivot cup, and if it still doesn’t feel right, I’ll just get new trucks. That’s the normal process for me.
Do you use any riser pads?
No riser pads. I should use ‘em, ’cause I get enough wheel bite.What shoes do you skate in?
Geoff Rowley models?
Yeah, Geoff Rowley ones. The new ones.
For you, what’s the most important feature in a shoe?
How it functions when I’m skateboarding.
I noticed for a while you were wearing those little canvas lowtops, and you know you get all those ankle problems.
Yeah, I know. But that’s because I had made a decision not to wear suede as much as I could. They didn’t have any synthetic shoes at the time, so I just thought I’d wear ‘em. The thing is, once you wear ‘em, you just get used to ‘em and that makes you stoked. And then they made thicker synthetic ones skate shoes for me, but they felt like boots, and they felt slippery. I’ll tell you, at times my feet were hurting, but I did have the best skate I ever had in those shoes.
So are you saying the most important feature about the shoe is the feel of the shoe? Like the sole to the griptape?
Yes, yes definitely. Because that’s the important thing. You put a shoe on, if it makes you want to skate, what more could it do?
What special features do you require a shoe to have?
Uh, just basically to be functional. If it’s got some big bumps on the side, I don’t want to spend two weeks wearing those things in. I’ve been through that.
How long does a pair of shoes last you?
Three weeks to a month. Quite a while. I normally swap and change between a few.
Do you experiment with a lot of shoes?
Not really, no. I’ve ridden all kinds of different shoes in the last few months, so I know what I want. I know what feels good.
What size shoe do you wear?
Do you set up your skateboard a certain way. Any rituals?
Apart from putting the griptape upside down? Yeah, when I put stickers on, I like ‘em at the top of the board. I couldn’t put stickers all over the bottom. It sounds so stupid, but seriously, that’s the only really weird thing.