Like its namesake from Buddhist legend, the Kanthaka is an agile, muscular, and loyal steed for any rider seeking a swift and exciting journey to double-kick freeride enlightenment. Blurring the lines between street skating and freeriding, the Kanthaka builds off contemporary skate design and brings rocker, functional and ergonomic wheel wells, and composite construction to create something innovative, versatile and unique.
The Kanthaka will be available in select shops worldwide on December 4th for $188 (MSRP, deck only).
In August of 2011 we began discussing the possible redesign of the Ceviche deck. Considering a variety of new profiles, we started testing prototypes and were pleased with the modifications to several aspects of the board.
As shapes became more refined and we spent more time riding the boards and exploring a spectrum of skating styles and applications, however, we found ourselves conflicted with the direction of the project. On one hand, we wanted this board to be the next step in the evolution of the Fish and Ceviche genealogy: a pumpable, agile, and trick capable city commuter with just the right amount of lively flex.
On the other hand, we also found ourselves wanting a board that was stiffer and more aggressive to instill confidence for a wider variety of riding styles. At the time, Kyle was spending much of his time freeriding neighborhood runs and driveways with his friends on large double-kicks like the Gravity Pool 36. Adam S. and Dane both come from street skating backgrounds and were riding double-kicks at the skatepark and street skating sessions in our warehouse. It seemed that this was an ideal opportunity to explore this style of board and add our own perspectives and experience to a classic concept: a street-ready double-kick with substantial inclinations toward freeriding and technical sliding.
After some deliberation, we concluded that the performance characteristics we desired would be best divided amongst two separate boards. The first of these boards that we present to you now is the Kanthaka; the other will poke its head out from the shadows soon enough.
The ergonomic benefits of compound curvature paired with a formal appreciation of mid-century modern bent ply furniture were driving design inspirations for the Kanthaka. Around the 1920’s and 30’s, designers such as Thonet, Aalto and Eames pioneered bent ply construction into new forms, new applications, and new material considerations. Their developments investigated the bending capacity of laminated thin wood veneers. Charles and Ray Eames dedicated much of their professional practice to exploiting avante garde design sensibilities emerging from linearly curved bent ply (see Eames Lounge Chair, 1956) and compound curved surfacing (see WW2 Splint designed by Eames, 1942).
Features & Design
Width: Available in 8.625” and 8.875”
Kick length: 7.5” (tip to outer bolt)
Weight: 3.70 lbs / 1.68 kg (8.625”), 3.75 lbs / 1.72 kg (8.875”)
Rocker provides a locked in feel when riding between the trucks, and we’ve incorporated it on the Bhangra and Chubby Unicorn. However, we had never seen it implemented in a deck that was intended to be ridden primarily with one foot on the tail or in the pocket between the bolts and the kick transition. The more time we spent riding short-wheelbase double-kicks at higher speeds, the more it became clear that the benefits of rocker could be equally important in this application. We have designed the Kanthaka with a gently rockered platform (enough to create a comfortable interface for sliding but not so much as to disrupt the mechanics of ollies and other tricks) that transitions smoothly into the kicks.
Integrated Wheel Wells/Flares
A direct inspiration from the Chubby Unicorn. From the Chubby we learned how these transitions not only improved wheel clearance but also created ergonomic transitions in perfect placement (just within the inner mounting bolts) to provide lateral support, extra leverage, and board awareness.
Rayne, Bustin, and Landyachtz have all recently released boards with wheel well flares, and we’re stoked to be on the forefront of this functionally driven evolution in skate design.
The wheel well flares on the Kanthaka are designed to enhance clearance on both conventional and reverse kingpin trucks. However, the apex of the flared curvature is intended to maximize clearance for conventional trucks, as these tend to have a lower ride height than their reverse kingpin counterparts.
With the Kanthaka being shorter and more freestyle/street oriented than the Chubby, however, the introduction of too much additional complexity in the concave proved to be a hindrance for certain tricks and landing with your feet over concave “hot spots” in the standing platform.
To get the best of both worlds, we maintained the flare amplitude necessary to provide the wheel clearance and ergonomics we wanted but squeezed the blending transitions away from the center of the deck. The result is maximized real estate in the central standing platform, lateral support inside the bolts, tight pockets between the flares and the kicks, and excellent wheel clearance.
The Kanthaka is designed with an elliptical concave profile. The concave near the centerline of the board is very shallow (but not completely flat) to minimize accidental flipping input on ollies. It ramps up gently near the rails to provide comfortable security and board awareness. The rail concave is more mellow than aggressive for comfort in freeride and freestyle applications; when sliding, additional lateral support and concave are generated by the wheel well flares and kicktail transitions.
To encourage switch riding and shuvit style tricks, the Kanthaka features a completely symmetrical profile from tip to tip.
Nose & Tail Kicks
The kicktails on the Kanthaka are designed to provide excellent leverage for slides and maneuverability. They extend from the standing platform at a relatively shallow angle to generate a quick and well balanced pop for the Kanthaka’s geometric combination of length, rocker, and wheelbase. The nose and tail share the same profile shape, but the nose is slightly steeper than the tail, allowing for a more concave pocket for leveling out ollies or a nominally higher contact angle for popping tricks or bluntslides.
Flex & Damping
Solid for speed and crisp for pop, the Kanthaka’s bamboo and fiberglass construction is stiff without feeling overbuilt. We designed the board with a very minute amount of longitudinal flex: just enough to soak up some road vibration and help keep the ride smooth.
The design process of the Kanthaka explored a number of new methods of analysis developed to enhance our product development here at Loaded. We began by producing a stance block CNC milled out of laminated layers of plywood. This became a useful tool for our project team to make physically tangible the digital speculations that we were developing. This was done as an initial proof of concept and to further refine our ergonomic ambitions. Furthermore, we created eggcrate models that served as more expedient means of analyzing surface topography alongside evaluating the normal surface hair.
Construction & Production
Sandwiched between layers of bamboo veneer, you will find a layer of triaxial E-glass in an epoxy matrix, a dual vertically laminated bamboo core, an additional layer of E-glass/epoxy, and a carbon fiber layer in the nose and tail for added strength and abrasion resistance. Each board is individually pressed in heated molds to ensure a consistent shape. This composite construction is then finished off with a healthy portion of miracle whip to get that snappy pop we were looking for.
The Loaded crew is stoked with the formal advances we were able to achieve with the Kanthaka board. Picture a magic carpet ride of rolling pastures with meandering hills and valleys of topography yet to be explored. We’re looking forward to the doors that this project opens to future endeavors.
The griptape pattern on the Kanthaka provides functional coverage on the kicks, standing platform, and rails for reliable traction and control in all applications. There are subtle pickaxe cutouts designed to assist the griptape in conforming to the dished surface curvature in the pockets outside of the bolts, where the combination of wheel well flares and kicktail transitions generate enhanced lateral support for your feet. The griptape is sticky enough for sliding but not too aggressive, so as not to murder your shoes when ollieing or performing other freestyle tricks.
The Kanthaka is designed to provide distinct ride characteristics with both conventional and reverse kingpin truck setups.
Conventional kingpin trucks are our preferred setup for freestyle, technical sliding, street and park riding. Conventional trucks feature a longer axle-to-axle wheelbase and offer optimal leverage and balance for kicktail-heavy riding styles. We recommend using a 149 for the 8.625” and a 159 for the 8.875” (a 169 will also work well on the 8.875″ when running a narrower and/or centerset wheel).
We run our Indys with medium Bones Hardcore bushings on an Indy or similar truck. Additionally a soft, larger diameter bottom bushing (like the Venom Eliminator) combined with a Bones Hardcore on top restricts ultimate lean and avoids wheelbite while still maintaining easy turn initiation. For looser configurations, hard landings, or larger wheels, we recommend using a 1/8 to 1/4” shock pad or riser.
We ride the Kanthaka with reverse kingpin trucks for pumping and a loose, surfy ride. As they are commonly used in downhill setups, reverse kingpin trucks can also be configured to simulate a speedboard-style turning response for fast freeriding. Some of our favorite reverse kingpin trucks for the Kanthaka are Paris 150s and 9” Calibers.
With Paris 150s in stock configuration, the Kanthaka can accommodate up to a 70mm wheel (like the Stimulus) without wheelbite.
We designed the Kanthaka around a 65mm freeride wheel for an optimal balance of roll speed, light weight, low ride height, and sliding performance.
The Kanthaka has been our little secret since late 2011, and we’re supremely excited to share it with you all. The Kanthaka has been kind of like a little brother to the Chubby Unicorn in development, and it’s been exciting to apply the extensive research and knowledge gained from the Chubby development directly into this different but related application. We’ve grown a ton this year both in our technical capabilities and (even more pronouncedly and importantly) in our product development methodologies. We’re stoked to continue to employ and refine this knowledge and to keep pushing our comfort zones.
It’s a pleasure to see the Kanthaka and Chubby Unicorn join the ranks of the Loaded Boards lineup. We hope you get the chance to enjoy them as much as we do. On our end, it’s time to saddle up and get back on the development pony. Lots more to come; we’ll keep you posted.
- The Loaded crew