Inventor licenses device to prolong deck life and improve performance.
The SKATEboarding Business staff is frequently introduced to new and often annoying skateboard-type products. Some of my recent favorites have been the in-line skateboard and the Diamond Deck, a Lexan board with so much flex that you could almost touch the ground when you stepped in the middle of it. It took Jason Ellis to actually snap it in half, but my point is most of the “innovative” products that come our way are of no benefit to skateboarders. They don’t enhance one’s skating ability, and most attempt to divert young people away from true skateboarding and authentic skateboard products.
One new product that did catch our attention is the Performance Tip System. The “system” is comprised of replaceable plastic tips mounted to a specially routered and drilled nose and tail of a traditional maple board. The tips can only be applied to boards manufactured for the Performance Tip System.
The makers of this inventive idea promise increased board life, up to three times as long, and a more springy, longer-lasting pop. The Performance Tip System also eliminates annoying nose and tail chips.
Earlier this year I rode a prototype Chapman deck made with the Performance Tip System. The board felt and popped just like my normal deck, and it never failed to attract attention and questions from the kids at the skatepark. I was sold on it when I mislanded a backside 180; my board flew into a wall tailfirst and didn’t chip. I rode the board every day for two weeks straight, quite impressed with its performance, until I actually wore through the tip.
Becket Colón, president of Performance Sk8products and architect of the design, explained that because wood is a relatively soft and porous material, each ollie wears the tip of the board, increasing the surface area of the point of impact. This larger contact area causes a loss in energy transfer between the tip and the riding surface, resulting in less energy transfered into an ollie.
The tip of the board isn’t the only factor affecting ollie mechanics. Board stiffness and the riding surface make up the other major components. For years, deck manufacturers have been experimenting with concave and various construction techniques to produce a longer-lasting board with improved mechanical properties. Performance Tips are designed to complement these achievements.
Performance Sk8products has been testing tips, made from a space-age plastic, for the past year and a half in conjunction with various departments of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. They utilized high-speed motion cameras to analyze the mechanics of an ollie, and the energy transfer at the point of impact between the riding surface and the Performance Tip.
They found that the greatest contributor to a board losing its pop was a worn tip area, and not the rigidity of the deck. “The idea behind the Performance Tip System is to replace the tips before you experience a drop in performance,” explains Colón.
Besides the physicists who engineered the product, Colón recruited an army of Swedish skaters to ride the Performance Tip System to obtain some real-life feedback. Colón also enlisted the help of deck manufacturer Gregg Chapman and his team to test and develop the product. Production versions of the Performance Tip System will finally ship to retailers this fall.
Currently Chapman Skateboards is the only brand to incorporate the Performance Tip System in its line, although Performance Sk8products is currently negotiating with other companies. Most, he admits, are skeptical about the extra production costs and whether the market will accept this type of product. “Business is booming right now, and a lot of companies don’t really see any reason to license the tip system yet,” Colón says.
He explains that the Performance Tip System has three competitive advantages: “It increases the functional life of a skateboard, reducing the cost of skating; it provides improved, consistent performance together with a familiar riding platform that makes learning and execution easier; and it’s a replaceable product that allows the rider to maintain new board performance, encourages repeat visits to stores, and offers retailers additional sales opportunities.”
At the fall ASR Trade Expo in San Diego, Chapman Skateboards offered the Performance Tip System on six pro models, including the Danny Gonzalez, Billy Rohan, and Anthony Furlong boards, compared to eleven decks with the traditional construction. “I think it’s safe to say we have reached a limit with the traditional wood skateboard, and technological advancements are imminent,” says Chapman. A Performance-equipped deck will wholesale for 44 dollars and retail around 65 dollars. The wholesale price for the replacement tips will be set at just under four dollars.
For more information about the Performance Tip System, check out performancesk8.com. To see Chapman’s line of Performance Tip skateboards log onto chapmanskateboards.com.