Loaded might be best known to the longboarding world as the marketing, advertising, and promotional powerhouse of our industry. Their multimedia broadcasts are full of whimsy and humor, reflections of the funny that they curate for the benefit of their customers worldwide. Many of their competitors are seethingly jealous of their communications savvy, to the point of being openly resentful of Loaded’s immense long-term success. But in the no-bullshit world of skateboarding, the fact still remains that if you can’t back your marketing up with a super solid product, then all the suave silliness in the world isn’t gonna amount to jack shit. Loaded is a longboarding success story because they can back up the zany bluster with real-world innovation, an eye for high art, and a focus on quality execution every step of the way.
The Loaded Icarus is a fairly traditional of their modus operandi: the highly flexible, extremely responsive, composite-construction longboard that is designed for smooth and powerful pumping and carving performance that has defined their entire product lineup since Day One… but slightly and thoughtfully re-engineered to meet emerging trends in design head-on.
Examples include the novel use of corkboard as the bottom veneer, and a continually variable concave cross-section throughout the deck. The corkboard is a damping material, applied here to smooth out the vibrations that would otherwise percolate up from the pavement, and through to your feet. Coupled with the relatively soft flex and the huge, soft-rolling wheels, the Icarus guarantees a smooth-sailing glide that is unmatched in the marketplace.
The continually variable concave ensures that the flex patterns stay consistent throughout the board, regardless of the width and mass of the deck at any given point. The concave is steeper and deeper over the wheelwells… stiffening up the smaller cross-section areas… before gently tapering off at the widest parts of the deck, where the bamboo/fiberglass construction is at its strongest. In the middle, the concave rises again to add some subtle resistance to the camber, maximizing pump efficiency. The end result is a deck that has a snappy, responsive, and consistent flex from the nose to the tail. The wheelwell concave is also a great way of orienting your feet to the deck’s danger zones by feel, insuring that the dreaded footbite remains a fairly remote and unlikely occurance.
Coupled with 180mm Paris trucks (outfitted with Orangatang’s large and lively, double-barreled Nipple bushings) and 80mm Kegel wheels, this board is carving nirvana. It pumps with the effort that might be required by a much smaller skateboard, and effortlessly harnesses low and medium speeds into pleasantly smooth perpetual motion. Skaters that are accustomed to much stiffer decks will find all of this a bit of a handful to get used to… but once they do, the pleasure payoffs are immense. This thing is pure fun. And nothing else in the world is quite like it.
Like the rest of the package, the graphic treatment is sophisticated in its simplicity. “Abstract art” is, once again, not something you see on many skateboards these days… but it’s pretty common in the snowboard world, where this board gets a lot if its technology and design direction from. That being duly noted, it would be completely natural for Loaded to take some subtle graphic cues from the snowboard industry, and apply those to a skateboard as well. It’s a beautiful board, and the choice of colorways for the trucks and the wheels only heighten the visual effects.
This is not an inexpensive setup. It is definitely not “cheap”, by any means. It might well be one of the more costly skateboards on the market today, with an MSRP of $359.00. But the old adage still says that you ultimately get what you shell out for… and in this case, what you ultimately get is a visually stunning, well-designed, thoughtfully engineered, high quality, long-lasting product that will continue to perform for many years, with minimal to no maintenance (outside of the occasional bearing lube, which is really smart business for every skater to engage in).
Is the performance worth the money? Judging by the sheer numbers of these that I see being skated around, and absolutely adored by their respective owners, I’d have to say that the obvious answer to that question is “yes”.
See the Icarus, as well as the rest of Loaded’s lineup, at www.loadedboards.com