Donny Wright at Still Stoked Longboards has been making longboards and hybrid cruiser carvers since 1995. Although trends come and go longboarding is pretty much defined as either freestyle longboard skating, downhill speed longboarding or board dancing. Still Stoked pursues the stoke of a surf sk8 style focussing on the longboard glide and carve of the longboard surfer, with walking and nose riding from those traditions which the style of longboard surfing has been all about since the early days.
Donny has seen the progress of board design evolve from standard trucks of limited width in the 1990s, through Independent 215 trucks and big Tracker trucks to the reverse kingpin trucks which were dominated by brands such as Bear and Paris around 2010 and now in 2019 are standard around 180mm hanger widths in most brands with different truck angle/rake for downhill stability or freeride carving. Wheels have come and gone with Abec 11’s awesome 75a and even 72a duros no longer available, which were Donny’s benchmark for quiet smooth riding, and now wheels of every shape and size are made by many brands but often not easily available. American urethane still rules but most brands are now made in China.
Old skool retro boards have attracted Donny’s attention in recent years and, although definitely not longboards, are great fun to ride on modern hardware. They have been a natural progression for Still Stoked as Donny makes his decks in Lydwood wood engineering workshop in the Forest of Dean, where Britain’s first commercial skateboard decks were made. One of the most radical developments in surf sk8 history has been the Carver truck to emulate the cut back turn of surfing. Also a truck which allows the Carver board to be ridden uphill. No single skateboard development more certainly depicts the difference between longboard and shortboard surfers. As a generalisation the latter are constantly chasing extremes of speed and trick manoeuvres while the former concentrates on style and the natural energy of the wave. Longboarders seek clean waves and open long walls and shortboarders punchy breaking waves. Donny’s ambition has been to take the best of traditional hardware solutions to create board riding which allows self expression and style rather than the new hardware developments which pigeon hole manoeuvres.
After 25 years of making longboard skateboards, hybrid carving boards and retros Donny remains committed to attempting new ideas with traditional longboard hardware. New ideas emerge, come to fruition or are rejected. Recent years has seen the Stinger and Sun Board being run on tiny old skool 6″ trucks, moving in the opposite direction to the tide of commercial manufacture as well as mixing front and rear truck widths to provide looser tail turns. Right now Still Stoked is about to explore the potential for hollow built wooden decks in a quest for a hand made model of beauty and function.