Reviews of the rolls rolls Woody.
Review from long distance travellers Tim & Christopher 06/2010:
A little background is in order for my review of the RollsRolls Woody.
I am the proud owner of this boards stable mate, the carbon Sportster, which as you might know, has been used by many to traverse not just countries, but continents. I purchased the Sportster just over a year ago and have skated hardly anything else since then. A few months ago, I was asked the question “how could you make the board better?” to which I quickly replied “suspension”.
I had signed up for another 24 hour Ultraskate and knew that anything over 100 miles would require a different approach. My feet were pleading with me for a little flex and concave so when Peter Sanftenberg offered to loan me his new creation for the event, my feet were mightily relieved. I returned from Boston having not slept on the plane – good training for an endurance event and the only training for me due to the weather. Arriving home, I was greeted by a familiar looking package. Christmas come early.
Keith at Ultraskate event 10/08. (picture by big_alec)
The Woody was shipped built with Randall IIs, and 85mm 75a Seismic SpeedVents. Because of the deck design, the trucks are slightly de-wedged creating additional stability. The shape is similar to that of the Sportster with the familiar curved mudguards and the dropped standing position. This board has its own unique look and feel and I was keen to try it out.
For the Ultraskate event, I had decided to compare the Woody against my Sportster. These are obviously two different animals however the reason they were built is the same – to transport a person over great distances with ease.
Being familiar with the Sportster, I decided to skate it through the night session then switch to the Woody in the daylight hours. I was a little worried about getting used to a new set up in the dark. I need not have concerned myself.
The transition between boards was simple and I hardly noticed any difference in ride height. To my delight, the return to simple natural material had given the Woody an excellent flex with a sweet rebound. The Rolls Rolls website describes the skating experience as ‘like riding on a cushion of air’ and I am very happy to confirm this is true. Minimal energy is required to propel the board which is essential in this endurance event.
One of my goals during the Ultraskate was to wake up the next day, and be able to walk! With the Woody, my feet were given a rest and not once did I experience white foot, cramp, or discomfort. When you’re skating more than 100 miles in one session, good equipment selection is a key factor in being able to keep your body in prime condition.
To ensure that I would be able to push for the remainder of the day, I alternated between skating regular, and mongo. My mongo pushing has always been sketchy and I’ve never confidently been able to lay any power down with my left foot. That was, until now. The Woody’s gentle concave and rear arch provides a snug fitting position for the rider’s foot giving greater control and confidence. There is adequate space on the board for the rider to stand heel to toe and I found the platform very stable at a moderate speed around the lake.
To really test the benefit of the flex, I swapped my regular skate shoes for a pair of Vibram FiveFingers which are shoes designed for barefooting. Simply, their soles are like a second skin affording the wearer a greater feeling underfoot. After more than 30 miles of pushing, my feet were in great shape and I had really enjoyed the experience. A testament to the Woody’s design and build quality.
When Peter agreed to loan me the board, he asked me for my weight to ensure that the flex would be perfect. I used the 11 veneer board, however it is also possible to order a 13 layer if you’re carrying additional weight (e.g. a Backpack). Each board can be tailored to your specific requirement.
During the event, I was asked the question “Do you prefer the Woody or the Sportster?”. I had to think for a while however my response that day was the Woody. During a long distance session greater than 100 miles, the snug, cushioning experience of the Woody would ensure that I kept smiling during the event, and the morning after.
The standing area of the Woody is somewhat smaller than the common dropped/lowered board due to the design brief. This design results in a deck with excellent flexing properties that soak up some of the impact whilst retaining its elastic qualities.
The Woody’s built in mudguards have a dual function of not only protecting the rider from surface water, twigs, and small debris, but also from stepping on the wheels. If you are thinking about using this board for an Ultra long distance event, this unique safety feature is well worth considering – especially if you are deprived of sleep.
I’m also pleased to state that the Woody comes complete with the Rolls Rolls ‘wow’ factor. If you’re out shopping or on a train, prepare to be asked plenty of interesting questions from other people. In addition to performing very well, the Woody is an instant conversation starter.
Keith O’Leary, UK, 10/2008
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