Whenever I go visit Estro Jen in Long Beach she has something cool and new for me to try. Whether it’s a spinner or a ramp or an improved skate tool or the latest skate boot or plates, she is always hip to the newest stuff. This last time I came to visit she had just acquired these funky hand brakes. They were designed for skate boarders, but if you know anything about Estro Jen at all she does not adhere to the cultural norms. She doesn’t fit in any box and she breaks down the barriers that separate boarders and skaters. She grew up braving the ramps and half pipes at skate parks on her quad roller skates and it’s only natural she saw these gloves meant for skate boarders and said “Hey, I could use those!”
Triple 8 Long Board Gloves = Hand Brakes Yikes!
Of course, since they’re not designed for skating and you don’t have an example to guide you, you kinda gotta figure it out yourself. Here’s me having a go with them outside Moxi.
Figuring it Out Figure 1 and Figure 2
The first thing that happened was I tried to shoot the duck backwards, (something I’ve been trying to master lately, I can go forwards, but not backward for some reason) thinking the gloves were the perfect aid in helping me to get over my fear and finally successfully execute the maneuver, I tried it, fell hard backwards and immediately declared, “oh ya, you don’t have gloves on your ass dummy”. I said to myself that just because I had big plastic plates on my hands didn’t mean I still wasn’t really vulnerable and reminded myself to be more careful.
There’s a really huge hill down by the beach that I headed to so I could put them to good use and get some speed. I took a picture of the giant hill to prove how scary it all was, but half my pics didn’t save to my camera. I have no idea how Estro took that series snapshot picture above actually. So sorry I don’t have more photos. I’m a writer not a photographer, give me a break.
So when going down a big hill like that, I usually brake using the plow, (think skiing) or I make lots of big sweeping turns back and forth across the street so I don’t pick up too much speed. The night before I had already braved the same hill without any protection at all, and saw skate boarders fly down it with reckless abandon, knowing it would flatten out at the bottom and they would have plenty of time to slow themselves down. So this time, having conquered the hill 5 times already and now with added protection, I went for it.
I found the easiest way to use them was to bend over and put my hands out in front of me. But since I knew that boarders probably put them out to their sides while skating I tried to crouch down and put one hand out to the side. This produced a little spin maneuver. I stopped, but often crashed onto my butt- and was not very practical for braking if going down a hill, like I was. While I found the forward-lean hands-out-in-front-of me technique the most effective, it too was pretty fucking pants-shitting terrifying while going down a steep hill.
Basically, they were fun to try out and definitely protective enough that I felt like I could put my hands down onto the concrete at high speeds and keep all my appendages, but I wasn’t quite sure how to use them to my advantage. I certainly didn’t think they were a more effective way to brake than what I already knew. I could see how they would be helpful however on a skate board or popping tricks. They also had no wrist support, so I was aware that they did not serve the function of my wrist guards.
They’re fun. Try them out. But I don’t really know what they’d be super useful for. If you’re a skater and you find a cool use for them, take some pictures or at the very least tell what you think about them.