So last sunday I bought a Landyachtz 2013 Top Speed 34” with the cheese I won placing 3rd on a race in April against some fierce ladies, Katie Neilson and Nayhomi Cruz, and this is me trying to sound casual. Holy shit it’s the prettiest board I’ve ever held!!! I almost slept with her by my side last night. It’s my first serious buy and a significant upgrade from my beat up, previously used Bombsquad Dragula plus I feel proud about buying it with race money. ‘Betty Page’ has taught me well on the arts of bombing hills hard, but it’s time to say good bye to that old cougar. Say hello to ‘Bo’! That being said I felt like a nervous parent suddenly, and refrained from mounting it right away when I got home. The girl is sleek so I want this babe’s beauty to last!
The Top Speed looks like a sturdy lady. She’s made from hard Canadian maple “sandwiched between fiberglass and composite plies”, as our friends from Landyachtz say, and If that didn’t sound delicious enough it comes with a sublimated graphic, 'W' concave, flared wheel wells and a bit of rocker, making it the tattooed gypsy you always wanted to see naked. Talk about curves. Mmm… Wut?
Anyway, let’s face it. I’m a klutz. My boards have been known to suffer curb damage and let’s not talk about ply explosion… I remembered I had read a Silverfish forum on how to make your own nose guards and someone posted they had Plasti Dipped their boards. Wait, isn’t that for cars? And then it hit me. The Chubby Unicorn. Loaded used Orangatan thane to protect the board all around from damage to the wood and it seemed genius to me when it came out. Maybe rubber would do the trick. By the way, don’t type ‘plasti dip’ on YouTube. All the videos are from the same dude on cheap painting your car. Only one thing stuck: it peels off. Perfect! Gabs can’t possibly mess this up. Haha!
I knew little if nothing about Plasti Dip or how to apply it. It turns out its super easy and this thing works for a lot of things around the house. Here in Puerto Rico, it wasn’t available at any local hardware store, not even The Home Depot. I bought it at a specialized car lighting shop in Carolina for $13 +tax (ouch). Plasti Dip is a rubber coating that you can apply to almost anything in liquid form and when it dries up it protects, insulates and waterproofs. Can you say wet sesh? The best part is that it peels right off when you want it to. Practical for when I’m ready to change my grip later on… or if I mess up. I bought it in a spray can but you could buy the gallon and brush it on too. It also comes in different colors. I bought the red one to make it sexier buahaha.
I couldn’t find any tutorial, non car related, on how to use the stuff else where so I thought I’d let you guys know how it went. It was a simple process, though there were a few complications with how the material dries up, as well as doubts about the thickness needed for a functional nose guard on a longboard. First off, you should know that even though it peels off, it doesn’t mean it wont stain like paint. Make sure you cover up your work area and delicate surfaces before beginning.
I decided I wanted about a quarter inch border around on top and on the bottom, just cause it gave it a cool look, but you could just do the borders. Once the rest of my board was covered, I started right away and discovered the spray tip is vertical, making the flow extra precise. I remembered the guy from the YouTube videos saying you should spray to 50% transparency for the first layer. It covers up pretty nicely the first time, if you hold the can about 3 and a half inches away, avoiding to spray at an angle. Don’t cover a whole area at once, but instead paint in segments. For example, I sprayed evenly for about 4 inches and then went back in the same motion, before moving to the next segment. That way, you double coat faster. It wont drip as fast as paint, so I only waited two or three minutes before coating it again. Just so you have an idea of how many layers it takes for a good thick coat, I used the whole can.
Problem number one: the nose guards. After coating the boarders all over, including the top and bottom strips, I concentrated on making the noses thicker. It turns out it doesn’t dry up that fast and just like nail polish, the top will fool you. I made the mistake of layering too fast and the rubber dripped a bit, making blobs. You can see the difference in the pictures. The fourth picture shows a sleek shiny nose vs. the fifth picture that shows a bumpy one. If this happens, don’t panic. I waited a bit more and when I touched, it was firm enough to gently shape it into a smoother surface. I applied another layer and it eliminated the bumps. The other picture shows how I walked by and cleaned the wet coating right off with my butt. As I said, I’m a klutz. The key is patience. It wont take more than 5 minutes in between layers, so wait! It also helps to flip the board occasionally to prevent dripping.
Problem number two: porous effect and pink finish. I noticed after a few layers that if you spray too lightly, the surface will dry up with little pores, making it look weird and the color pale (it should be matte but the color solid). Try spraying slowly but steady and directly to the surface, instead of at an angle, till you fill up the little pores.
Problem number three: peeling the tape off. You will definitely need a razor blade to cut between the Plasti Dip and the tape. If you try to take the tape right off you will peel all your work off too!
Problem number four: thickness. I think ultimately I didn’t achieve the right thickness needed for a functional nose guard and only time will tell if the number of layers a single can provides, will protect the rails and nose from curb crashes. Maybe buy two bottles? When I waited the five minutes between layers and flipped the board every other time, I was able to build a very thick layer on the noses before I ran out of the product. Some nose guards are cheaper than what I paid for the can, although you can find the product cheaper online.
Alright, so that was my first attempt at a tutorial. I had fun with this little project and hopefully it will work the way I intend it to. I’ll let you know in about a month how the rubber is holding on the board and let me know how it went if you guys decide to try it. Adios!