I’ve been aware of Carver’s existence as a design and manufacturing entity for quite some time now. But as strange as it may seem, I had never seen any of their products in person. That changed just a few weeks ago, when Josiah and I swung by Action Rideshop in Mesa, Arizona for a quick window-shopping expedition. Among their wide selection of snowboards stood a solitary skateboard rack, stacked tall with Carver completes. As I stood there a bit surprised, a super-friendly sales chap materialized out of the shadows, and asked me if I needed any help?
This is the Carver CI, with the C7 truck. This is the setup that I tested for the article.
“Could you tell me more about these boards?”, I inquired.
“Oh, I can do even better than that! I can let you try one for yourself!” With that, he walked us right up to the front of the shop, handed us each a board, and encouraged us to go knock ourselves out for a while. This guy was one smooth operator. I liked him immediately.
Carvers are the types of skateboards that really need to be experienced to be believed. They are insanely and immediately enjoyable; I was totally in love with them within the first few swivels. With this sort of setup, it’s entirely possible to pump yourself up to a pretty brisk pace, right from a standing start, and to keep propelling yourself forward almost infinitely with remarkable ease. The only limitations are the endurance limits of your thighs and calves… and be warned, it is a real workout on the ‘ol muscle bubbles. That aside, this is “sidewalk surfing” perfected into it’s pinnacle paradigm. This is what ’60s era skateboarders dreamed about; this is how skateboards were supposed to feel. It just took fifty years or so to figure it all out, and to get the geometry just right.
The secret is in the front truck. Whether you choose the C7, or the CX… the rear truck is basically a tall, “standard” truck that matches the ride height of whichever front truck you choose… the net result is the same: a de-stabilized front truck that turns sharper than anything else on the market, past or present. It’s the same exact effect that slalom racers go after with “wedged” riser pads: making the front truck turn sharper than the back truck increases pump efficiency and forward speed, with far less physical effort. Carver boards simply take that basic principle to its logical engineering extreme.
This is the Carver CI, with the CX truck.
The CX achieves this effect with an aggressive geometry that’s not quite a standard truck, and not quite a reverse kingpin truck… but really, a hybrid of the two. Many skaters that see a CX mounted on a deck insist that it’s mounted “backwards”, but that’s not the case at all. What it really is, is a reverse kingpin truck where the kingpin is mounted at almost 90 degrees. It might look a bit strange, but it turns really fast. In short: it works.
Closeup of the C7 truck system.
The C7 option adds another mechanical dimension to solve the tight-turning truck problem, in a slightly different way. Here, there are two kingpins; one where you would expect the “usual” kingpin to be, and another at the front of the baseplate that connects to a swivel arm, which carries the hangar. The swivel arm is free-castering, with an internal spring that creates adjustable resistance, much like a bushing would in a standard truck. When you lean into a turn, the truck pivots in two dimensions: it turns about the pivot axis, while it also casters from side to side. The result is quick-carving nirvana, enabled by a tiny turning radius that can’t be matched by any other truck on the market.
Closeup of the “bottleneck” tapered wheels. These increase gripping power, and propel the riser out of quick turns, increasing pump efficiency.
The wheels are also technically innovative. They have a slightly “bottlenecked” shape; the outside edges of the wheels are slightly taller than the centers. This forces the wheel to deform as it rolls, creating more grip; this is to keep the wheels from breaking free and sliding out during those sharp-carving turns, while the rebound propels you forward out of the pump. Again, it’s not an entirely new concept; the slalom guys have been using tapered wheels for years, and for the same exact reasons. But here, the concept has been perfected for a far more pedestrian pastime, fine-tuned for the everyday recreational surf-skater.
Here’s the video that illustrates just how fun this bugger really is. It’s pretty accurate. Still, nothing beats rolling one of your own.
This board is not only an addictively fun engineering marvel; it’s also quite a looker. It’s beautiful in its elegant simplicity. The fact that it’s designed to look just like an Al Merrick squashtail (or swallow tail, depending on which model you choose) is absolutely brilliant; “sidewalk surfing” has really been taken to its literal limits with this board, and it’s f’n fantastic. It has become the prize of my quiver virtually overnight, and made me the envy of my entire neighborhood.
That’s not the end of the innovation, either. Carver also offers financing for their new boards, via their website. Yes. Financing. Twenty-something bucks a month nabs you anything from their wide selection of sizes, shapes, and options, delivered right to your doorstep, paid for in easy-to-afford installments. That’s totally unheard of, an “industry first” to be sure. What else will these guys think of next…? I can’t wait to find out.
See more of the Carver lineup for yourself at www.carverskateboards.com