Koastal are a brand that try to redirect the feel of the waves at sea onto the street with the longboards they handcraft in Southern California. What we have here is the Koastal Gun Complete Longboard; it's a long pintail measuring 47 inches that traditionalists will drool over.
The Gun has style, lots of of it! Mahogany, orange died maple and aspen veneers cover the top of the deck with pinstripes. This design assortment is visually uplifting and greatly compliments the beachy scene the board was born out of and the pintail shape. The core of the deck is constructed from 7 ply maple of an unspecified origin. This maple is dyed green along the bottom of the deck, and the pattern formed from the dying process is wavy and has lots of motion depicting the textures of the wood. Because it's dyed this deck area is very resistant to showing any signs of general wear and scuffs.
The 7 ply maple deck has firm controllable flexibility. It's not as free and wavy in flex when compared to the Original Skateboards Pintail 40 Longboard we reviewed earlier in the year, but does have a wispy style. The grip is see-through using recycled clear grip material from the folks at Lucid Grip, which seems to be a Koastal brand. It's not coarse and doesn't harshly roughen hands when carrying the board around, but also doesn't wear down quickly either. The deck has a rocker concave that lends itself favourably for pumping and this concave establishes a locked in ride, so the not overly course grip tape doesn't pose any stability issues as this board isn't really designed to go at it hard. The deck has a level of craftsmanship that exceeds its $159.60 price; we've ridden boards that have been double this price that share nowhere near this level of quality build. We have to pin this on the board being handcrafted.
The trucks are 45 degree single pivot Revenge Alpha I's created by Koastal, which we found to be exceptionally well made. They incorporate 97a high impact bushings, translating into lenient turning, but aren't as lively as the Original S8’s on our Pintail 40 setup. Downhill riding is a scope that these trucks are simply not suitable for, we've attempted it and it's not possible. They also do not require riser pads and so the Gun longboard doesn't have any. The trucks are high off the ground by default, definitely necessary for that surf-like feel on a board of this length. One more neat feature they sport is the ability to prevent wheel bite with a locking system built into each truck, we've never seen this feature before and it seems to work for us.
Although the single pivot as opposed to the two pivot truck design isn't new, it certainly enhances the surf-like feel that is quickly tapped into with little speed. We love this type of ride style and here its presence is light, airy and replicates a real wave rather well when we're engaged in a lively carving session.
The wheels are once again a Koastal creation: a running theme of this board are that all the hardware parts are designed by Koastal which allows them to unify a targeted overall style. They're 70mm in size and have a measurement of 83a in hardness. They deploy a diplomatic ride and don't ignore textured surfaces but don't painfully redirect the exact feedback from rough textures either. Having a little bit of feedback from the ground isn't necessarily a bad thing, but can cause irritation within the legs over prolonged cruising along heavily textured ground (for reference we all weigh around 140-190 Ibs). The wheels are roughly textured and can slide straight from the box, which was fairly exhilarating on a board of 47 inches. Within these wheels are ABEC 5 bearings, and these do help to keep the wheels rolling along smoothly. However, light acceleration on the flat deteriorates quickly whereas higher speeds within the 10-20 MPH bracket and above have a more agile spin. This we think is a bi-product of the length and wheel base of the Gun longboard.
Cruising is this board's tag line. It's the sort of board you want to jump on after a busy day at work or school, to soak up the fresh air whilst on a relaxing gentle cruise. It's pleasant, and going in a straight line is automatic, but if you want to grab some thrills, the Koastal Gun isn't going to say no. If you want to build up some speed and pump along wide sidewalks every now and then, don't let its length deter you, it's made manageable due to the Revenge trucks being adept to steer in and out of obstacles and such.
The 47 inch by 9.75 inches deck is perfect for dancing, walking, cross stepping and whatever else you can imagine doing on it. Its width doesn't greatly alter from the thickest point and we felt very confident pretty much anywhere on its surface. It's a fantastic board for people who want to learn these types of tricks. We thought we'd also let you know that it's long enough to ride with two people if desired.
One of the mild niggles we had when riding the Gun was that the axle width of the trucks is too short for the 37.5 inch wheel base. The Revenge Alpha I trucks have an axle width of 5.5 inches, whereas the Alpha II's have an axle width of 6.5 inches. We feel that Koastal should have incorporated the Alpha II's axle width with the complete setup, just so we could tap into that little bit more ground clearance and get the most out of its carving capabilities. However, the Alpha I's do have a very quick response. In some instances the Alpha 1's could pose a little bit of a danger if not kept in check, if we over balanced our weight when carving the board's wheels, one side would lift into the air and this could cause the entire longboard to flip backwards.
Achieving flips and other tricks of a similar nature is not possible with the Gun. It simply isn't intended for such things, the weight and size making these an instant no go. Nonetheless moves like shuvits are on the menu because the deck has an overhanging front nose and rear kicktail.
Over the past few months we've grown attached to the placid and chilled cruising vibe the sun soaked Koastal Gun Longboard provides. Not to forget this is a brilliant longboard for cross steppers and dancers, and specifically for those novices who want to learn how to do such things on a longboard.