Skateboarding in the collective sense can’t get enough of a wacky idea or questionable trend. For a little while at least. And over the years we’ve toyed with countless possibly great/ probably awful concepts, only to weed all of them out in the end. Here’s a sampling of just a few of my favorites.
Protecting your deck from any and all damage was the rage in the late 80s. The generic term for one of the colorful devices pictured here was a “skid plate.” Powell Peralta made a cooler, branded version however and in a marketing coup called it the Tail Bone. You’d screw them to the underside of your tail and keep that wood as fresh as the day it was born. When used properly, decks would flex out years before they ever had so much as a scratch, and razor tail became a thing of the past.
Keeping with the protect-the-deck theme, “slide rails,” (later just “rails”) at least made a little more sense. Again expertly marketed by Powell as Rib Bones, these plastic chopsticks screwed into the board to offer three benefits: Your Caballero graphics would remain pristine for the life of the board, your backside boardslides would glide like butter, and you had something to grab when trying those Hosoi style methods. How do we even survive without them?
Lappers were there to serve one purpose: to make sure you never hung up on anything ever again. They would literally “lap” your truck right back in over the coping or a parking block or whatever was causing your hang-ups. They made sense when skateboards still had an inch of nose in front of the truck, but once Gonz and Mike V put tails on both ends the lapper became a little redundant. Side note: there was one lapper that was named The Bird, which was fitting because they all had a shape reminiscent of someone flipping the middle finger.
Coping is too chunky to grind? Forget the Salba Sauce, snap a piece of plastic on your trucks and grind away! If you can still call it a grind. Copers tended to last for approximately 3 tries before getting torn off or breaking into a million pieces.
Thanks to a little American ingenuity, Tracker Trucks came out with their patented “ring” system that held copers in place no matter what. For better or for worse.
Coping still too rough even with the copers? Well that’s where Z-Rollers would come in handy. These trucks had what was essentially a third wheel, made of metal, running along their entire width, so you never had to stop rolling, even when you should have been grinding. There’s a famous Z-Roller related scene at the end of Plan B’s Questionable with Ricky Oyola and Danny Way, you should look for it.
The Nose Bone. This kept you from splitting the nose of your board when trying to learn wall rides. The pinnacle of over accessorizing.
Wow, Powell was really on the forefront of a lot of these things weren’t they. The Head Gasket, essentially a t-shirt sleeve that when slipped onto one’s dome became a statement. A hat where you could stick your hair out the top? How cool.
When putting in 8 bolts just seemed like too much work, well then Bridge Bolts offered the solution. The problem being the top of your board would then have four strips of metal running across it, but if you were okay with that then hey.
Powell, at it again. Rat Nuts were marketed as “deck repair hardware,” and were intended to hold your board together in areas where it might be delaminating. Side note: Powell was also famous for having created a board that was guaranteed to delaminate (ironically called the XT, for Extra Tough). Problem, solution.
Yes, padded shorts offered the benefit of never having to get a hipper. On the down side it always looked like you were wearing a diaper.
Yes there was a time when skate companies manufactured hip sacks, and there was a time when skateboarders in turn, wore them.
Wrist guards guaranteed you wouldn’t break your wrist. On the other hand, they also guaranteed you’d break your arm right above the edge of the wrist guard.
Look closely at the nose of Eric Dressen’s board; it’s covered in Rip Grip. This allowed you to never lose hold of your board even after eating a bucket of greasy chicken, and man it’s hard to stay away from greasy chicken sometimes.