Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BADG surfaces, Gumball Toestops, Bont hybrid boots and the SOne Lifer Helmet

So since my last post, I have transferred to the Bay Area Derby Girls and morphed into an Oakland Outlaw. As much as I love my new league and team, the floor sucks balls. I was so spoiled by my perfectly smooth, even, grippy rink floor that I was completely unprepared for the bumpy, cracked, slippery, much abused sport court that we have at Peralta. I have been there since late April and still haven't found the perfect balance between eating shit and sucking wind. Some of you probably have the same type of surface, and are much more used to it than me. Most of the girls in my league wear 93As, which was too hard for me even at SVRG (I could prolly do it now). I've tried all Poisons (no slip but I felt like I was skating through mud), Poison pushers with 91As (still too grippy), Stingers and Trackers (not grippy enough), all Stingers (too grippy), and have finally settled on Stingers and Bzerk 88As. Even though both are technically 88As, I find that Atom makes grippier wheels than other brands, so it works. Still feeling it a little bit during endurance, but it will get easier the more in shape I get. For those of you that are struggling on an uneven floor, I found that switching to wide wheels from narrow helped give me more stability.
Speaking of slip, my Gumball toestops were great on SVRGs floor, but when I tried to do a turn stop at high speed on BADGs floor I ate shit and face-planted. I asked Motley at Cruz Skate Shop what she thought and she says the Gumballs aren't the grippiest. She recommended the Roll Line toestops. I have had these before, they are large, super grippy, but kinda pricey. Way cheaper than my uninsured trip to the Emergency Room though. These will be going on my new plates.
Anyway, bought my first pair of Bonts. I got the Hybrid, which is light and sleek like the quad racer but is made of thicker leather. The Derby Patriot has been described to me as heavy and bulky, so if you're wanting Bonts for the light sleekness, don't get these. For a flat $30 fee I added a cinch strap and sent in a trace of my foot. My local skateshop owner clued me into the fact that "customizing" Riedell skates only allows you to make the toebox and heel wider or more narrow, but if you're like me and have weird-shaped feet, there's no real way to adjust them without going full custom, which is about $600. My Bonts were about $330, including shipping from Down Under. I heat molded them last night and they feel like carbon lined gloves for my footsies. Too bad I can't wear them until my new Sure Grip Avenger Plates come in :(. Sigh... one more month. One potentially troublesome issue with Bonts is that they can take a while to make and get through customs. Also, those cute, shiny, colored velcro straps apparently break after a few weeks, so stick with the real leather stuff.
As for helmets, Windy City did a report on helmets, (I don't know if I can post the link) which made me want to shed my beloved Sweatsaver. I bought the new S-One lifer, which fits really well and is hard padding as opposed to soft (safer). They run small, so I had to buy a large, and I am having to adjust to having sweat in my eyes again, but feel better about my brain. I think I'm gonna try a hockey helmet next....

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