Skateboard maintenance: in the Malagasy tradition.
“The people use board in a bad states here, like there is basicaly no nose and tail, and if they snap their board; and then like … screwed some piece to hold the board together because they can have an another board in any other way you know… And they just make doing it like…make them shred so hard , it’s like, they actually do good tricks you know and I couldn’t even made an ollie with their board […] I have a lot of respect for them, how down are they for this game” as Said Barney Page in the video “Melodies for the Lemurs”. Seeing what some of the guys ride as a skateboard on their trip in Madagascar. AFP (Agence Française-Presse) has even made a short video which confirmed the case shortly after that and showed up how “resourceful” are Malagasy skateboarder on taking care of their board. As that same video already explain why the later have to live it that way, the main point here is showcasing the “technics” who they keep their board alive. Way longer than it is supposed to be. And also cheaper !
The “Strap” technic :
More from the French word “Strapontin” which is commonly that little plank used as chair extention in a Malagasy bus, “Strapping” a board is what Barney Page described earlier : “ If they snap their board; and then like … screwed some piece to hold the board together…”. It gives something as seen on the photo. It is basicaly getting 2 snapped board : The first one would be the “main board”, the shape you will use. And the Second board is the “Strap” , the one used for sticking it together, already well sawed off. It would be held together with bolts. That makes the board heavier, and have to forget about doing Boardslide and its variation (of course some still manage to land it with that kind of board…). But at least it is still a board used for flatground tricks, and for taking the streets. Evolution of this technic is using piece of metal instead of a snaped board as “strap”, so it would be lighter but durable as seen in the photo below:
The “Vovo-kazo” extention:
If “chip” happens, No worries, the solution for that is some “vovo-kazo” or wood flour and some “Lakôlin-kazo” or glue for wood. Mix those two ingredien with a balanced ammount and you will have a perfect homemade “Wood Filler”. Ready to fix the “blank space” on the board and even can be used to “protect” the tail or nose, so it would take more pop before it is gone! Life extension of the board guaranteed. Guys at Ratvision.com is breaking down the process and if one day I would have the chance to film the process of creating a “wood filler”. I would put it up on the blog.
Griptape “Triple Action”:
Normal griptape is so expensive in Madagascar. So instead of buying one at a skateshop, a skateboarder would go to the nearest hardware store (and it’s a tiny one, some “street shop”) and would buy 3 “squares” of sandpaper and the rest of the money is spent on drinks for the whole crew, food inclued. The best part of it is that you even can choose the thickeness of the “sand” on it, so can extend by the way the skateshoes life. Glue it with the glue for wood, wait for it to dry, and it is good to go. Have to change it in a period of a month or two though. You might figure out why it’s called triple action by now: because you need 3 “squares” of it to fill up the board lenght. No link with thoothpaste …Wait what ?
Changing the kingpin “axe”
Of course , to fix it up, if the homies don’t have any old trucks, a Malagasy would check the famous “bilao 14” (the kingpin axe) at a “brôkatera” (from the french “brocanteur” which is junk shop) or maybe a new one at the hardware store and would adapt it with the truck baseplate. Once again Ratvison.com break the process down on their video .
Madagascar never had “Shoe Goo” (or maybe has but it’s hard to find some). So the skateboarder do it the classic way, buying some piece of leather and glue for shoes. And the rest is quite obvious ! reinforcing the strategical zone on the shoes and it would go for months of session.
Bottom line , skateboard gears are so expensive that we just do everything to make it last.These “Hacks” may not be created by Malagasy but it is what most of the skateboarders had lived or still living. It is full part of Malagasy skatelife.