What The Pros Are Rockin’: Kanten Russell

What board are you riding right now?

I’m riding my Planet Earth board¿my pro model. It’s seven and seven-eighths inches wide¿a little bit longer than normal because I’m kinda tall, ya know?

So you ride a little bit longer wheelbase?

Yeah¿a little bit.

What do you like most about that board?

Just the fact that it feels comfortable for my stance. I’m a little bit taller, and I have big feet. It feels really comfortable when I’m doing any kind of trick¿like flip tricks or anything big or technical.

Overall, do you prefer a longer, wider board?

Yeah, probably more than average¿a little under eight inches. Anything that’s good for flip tricks, but not so skinny that it’s gonna break¿for strength, too.

Something that offers a little bit of stability?

Yeah¿stability, exactly.

Do you have a preference for concave decks?

Not too steep, but just enough concave to make it strong. I think the trend right now is for really steep concaves. But for some reason, I think it handicaps certain tricks. I try to make sure it’s kinda medium. It seems Kenny Anderson and I are the only guys who like that, but whatever.

Do you do anything special with your griptape?

No. I just keep the whole thing black.

What wheels are you riding right now?

Speed Demons, 54 millimeter.

Do you experiment with different hardnesses, or do you stick to the same hardness?

As long as it’s not too soft¿that’s all I care about. I don’t really like super-soft wheels.

Do you have a color preference for your wheels?

I usually ride ’em white¿keep it safe.

What are the smallest wheels you’ve ever ridden?

Laughs Probably like 40s.

What bearings do you ride?

Either Speed Demons or Black Panthers.

Do you use any bearing oil or speed cream?

No. I think those creams attract dirt and make them all gritty, and they don’t roll as good.

What trucks do you ride?

I ride the Tensor Hi.

Those are the new Tensors, aren’t they?

Yeah. Rodney called me up and wanted me on the Tensor team. We talked about having a high, strong truck, so they sent me the high ones. They’re kinda beefier in the axle¿it makes them really strong. And I tried the low ones, but the high ones feel more stable strength-wise, like when I’m grinding tricks or on impact-type things. They feel real stable and strong¿you know they’re gonna hold up.

That’s pretty important, especially when you’re doing the giant ollies you do.

It’s just nice knowing your truck’s not gonna fold under you. I was pretty impressed¿their first batch of higher, beefy trucks is doing pretty good.

Do you ride them loose or tight?

Just kinda medium¿tight enough so I won’t get wheel bite.

How often do you change your trucks?

I ride a new pair of trucks probably every six to eight weeks¿more like eight weeks. I like the worked-in thing. I don’t like riding brand-new stuff.

Trucks seem to work a little bit better after you’ve worked them in.

Totally.

Do you use riser pads?

No¿unless I’m doing something extra special. If I’m really worried about wheel bites, I might rock a riser.

Are there any rituals you go through when you’re setting up a new board?

No. I just try to make sure everything on the setup is real solid¿nothing shot or warped. I don’t want real crusty bearings or waterlogged wheels¿like when you go through water, and they feel all weird afterward¿I hate that feeling. The only thing I do is, before I skate it new board, I take a scrap of griptape and sand the top of it deck off so it’s ready to go.

So it’s not quite as griippy?

If it’s too grippy, you can’t even get your feet off your board.

What shoes do you skate in?

I’m skating in the new Defcons¿the shoes I designed. The way we designed them means they’re superlight. They really suck around your foot. The designer from Osiris said they’re one of the best shoes they’ve designed, as far their quality and weight. It took a really long time to do it, but it’s paid off.

Sounds like you’re pleased with the design.

Yeah. Everyone who’s tested them out really liked them a lot. I’m just psyched that it’s a lightweight, durable shoe.

Do you think weight is the most important feature in a shoe?

I never really worried about it before, but since I put my foot in these, I’m pretty impressed how much of a difference it can make¿the feeling and the comfort. If you pay attention to detail, it pays off. I’m pysched. The shoe, together with a nice new setup, can definitely make the difference when you’re skating.

How long does a pair of shoes usually last you?

Usually only about a week. I go through shoes really fast, but for some reason my new shoes have been lasting a little bit longer. I’d say a week to two weeks because I’m extra rough with my stuff.

What size shoe do you wear?

Twelve, which definitely contributes to the fact that I have nearly an eight-inch board.