on this a few weeks back after dressing up as a robot, but really it deserves it's own post.
We love new stock arriving... but it is not all equal. One brand stands head and shoulders above the rest:
And we just got our hands on our Spring delivery.
Fresh from the Blackforest, I will always make a noise when these make it onto our shelves. But, inspired by a conversation in the shop I thought I'd try and outline exactly what's going on here. What exactly makes these boards so special?
Strap yourself in:
"Rider designed" is an easy phrase to throw around. Hackbrett aren't saying it lightly. Producing 100% in-house gives the freedom to develop as and when inspiration hits - an idea in the pub one night can be under your feet the next... though it might not be as good as you expected!
The Wasser, for example, is in its 5th official iteration. Work on the 5.0 took place over an 18-24 month period. Not for the sake of having a new one out for next season, and not for a new graphic, but prompted by advances inside the shaping bay - and tested thoroughly outside of it.
Those months were spent refining the concept, quite literally smoothing out wrinkles. The "moustache rocker" profile gives a lovely springy flex, which changed depending on exactly where the high point of the camber was positioned.
Too far forwards had a lovely snap, but sacrificed the advantage of the first stage of rocker - too far back however left the board feeling less springy, almost lethargic.
A bit more rocker gave the board its +/-3° wedge front and rear which, combined with a well-positioned camber, brought the massive board to life. Suddenly it could carve like a board half its size, without compromising the great platform, awesome stability and the pure longboard feeling.
I've already gone over my word limit and have barely scratched the surface. Every board in the lineup has been through this process.
When considering the years of input over a multitude of models, there simply aren't other longboards out there with such love, such attention to detail that come close to an end result that feels like these.
Maple is your standard skateboard material, but it doesn't grow in the Blackforest. Ash and pine do, though. And what happens when you mix the three? Flex patterns and dampening are a huge part of what Hackbrett do and why they feel so good underfoot.
Together with the advanced shaping possibilities, the constructions are endlessly tested. What happens if we use pine instead of maple? It feels fantastic, but I hit a curb and it didn't end well... OK - lets protect it with ash bumpers fore and aft. We could use a heavier glass, as we saved so much weight already... and what about a fibreglass reinforcement over the flushcut?
How are we going to produce a flex 2 variation that feels the same for a lighter rider, without impacting longevity?
Some people want light boards - no problem. Hollow core (called WNT: Wiegt Nix Technologie. Literally, weightless technology) was developed far before it had any right to exist, with a little help from carbon fibre but keeping the natural wood aesthetic.
Some people want heavy boards - of course, that's possible too.
The constructions you see today are the result of 20+ years of really fun experiments.
You won't catch a self-respecting surfer buying a board that's been mass-produced in a factory far away. Said surfer needs to know that their shaper understands what they're dealing with. From the deck concave, to the rail profiles and fin placements - and the responsibility of shaping something that will cost a lot, mean a lot, and allow you to get into situations that will transform your life for the better.
The same is true of a Hackbrett longboard. With mastermind Dr Hackenstein at the wheel since day 1, the ethos has never changed. These could never be mass-produced, and the shaper must ride. It's the only way they can truly be confident in their work.
Don't let the friendly faces fool you. Patrick "the Captain" (left) currently mans the bay and will alleyoop 5-0 a vert ramp with more ease than most of us flick off the cap of our toothpaste. Hack (right) is an elusive figure who'll be found when he wants to be. And if you're lucky enough to ride down a hill with him, he won't be - he'll be miles ahead. A mere flash of black and orange through the forest.
There is a line of faces and names behind these that continue to live and breathe the Hackbrett ethos, despite no longer being an active part of the shop life.
Though I did hear one of them was a bit of a cowboy. Or was it a robot?
It's still in the original container where it all started. The only difference being, they lugged that container (and the rest) across town and into a new building!
This part isn't about the fact that they built the yard into a concrete skatepark, the miniramp inside or how they home skate strays from all over.
More I wanted to touch on the solar panels on the roof and the renewable pellet heating made with the waste from Blackforest sawmills - the same, in fact, as where the ash for the boards is cut.
The product is made to last, waste wood is used in the "Upcycled" cruiser range and other projects, and repairing is the way of life.
The point is, they're making an effort to take responsibility for their actions and their footprint - there is no planet B.
So there you have it: Hackbrett Longboards in a nutshell.
The kind of board that if you ride for long enough, you'll likely end up on.
Did I mention we've just had a spring delivery?
I must go, this was a blast to write but appears to have triggered the hayfever season :)
Matt @ Vandem