Dubbed as the carving board reimagined by Loaded, the Icarus is their newcomer that endeavours to bring the experience of snowboarding and surfing to a road near you. Ours has been under arm for months now and we can reveal whether the Icarus should be a member of your longboard club for $358.
Loaded have truly gone to great lengths to make the Icarus an alluring and admirable design in both looks and use. The graphics could almost be described as an art installation. When held under arm the well-known namesake greek mythological tale is bravely depicted - with the sun’s heat melting the wax wings attached to Icarus in this modernist bold colourful graphic. Additionally, because Loaded lined the bottom of the deck with cork, the texture of this even resembles wax. Unquestionably it’s one of our best-loved longboard graphics and utterly memorable too.
Technically speaking the Icarus’s deck is about as complicated as it gets. Featuring a 5-part vertically laminated bamboo core sandwiched between triaxial fiberglass, epoxy and a cork base. This is then pressed into concave and convex cambers. However, Loaded decided they’d like to feature dramatic wheel-well contours and, of course, such a feature would likely split the core in the making or eventually at some point when landing or flexing the board, so to solve this they developed what they refer to as bamboo 'biscuits’ which are inserted into each wheel-well to deter stress on them. Standing back from the deck it appears thin and simple, but really it’s an unusual implementation of methods and materials for what is intended to be a different kind of ride. Incidentally, this is our first Loaded board, so we weren’t sure what to make of the quality: all we can say is that, after over 5 months of lugging this thing around, it’s still in one piece - along with all its components. As well as this, the deck hasn't shown any signs of splitting or cracking - the design works!
Options & Our Setup
There are three favourite pre-configured setups that Loaded promote - Freeride & Freestyle, Dusty’s Corner and ours - the ‘Our Go-To Setup’. This bundle includes Paris 180 Trucks, 80mm Kegels (80a, orange) Wheels, and Soft Orangatang Nipple bushings (orange). Of course, if you want to go rogue, Loaded also allow you total configurable control over the trucks, bearings, wheels and deck choices via their website. For riders weighing 75-115+kg the Flex 1 deck option is for them and for riders between 35-90+kg, like us, we’re supposed to ride the Flex 2 variant. Both are identical at 97.5 cm in length and 22 cm in width.
Point the Loaded Icarus where you desire to go and enjoy the thrilling journey it takes you on. The Icarus isn't a longboard for which you need to worry about tackling corners or acquiring irritating leg ache on the flat, it’s got the commuting aspect of longboarding pinned down to a charm. The wheel arches are so pronounced we can cut around obstacles with ease and spring into even tight corners calmly at speed; which accumulates swiftly with gentle pumping and the bearings in the wheels are excellent at keeping the whole affair ramping along. A unique selling point the Icarus has is that its deck has a variable concave, on which initially our feet felt a little odd but we discovered that you need to ride at more of a tilted angle to get a locked-in confidence. Loaded have intentionally made it this way, as once we were riding like this we could tap into the mighty flexibility of the Icarus. The feel of the board when springing from one place to another on the flat is very different to when it’s pointed downhill. It’s a lot slacker and the flexibility is hyper. Its flex isn't concentrated within one specific area like many deck designs, but it will flex from anywhere, in different directions simultaneously, and all that’s needed to manipulate the deck is a delicate effort. Because the board is light, springy and features kicktails, freestyle moves are totally within reason here too and its tensile nature makes the board characteristically great fun to ride. Different again to novel deck designs like the Original Skateboard Apex.
This is absolutely not your traditional stiff board on the slopes, it glides with hills and hangs on tight thanks to those drop-through Paris 180 trucks that establish a low centre of gravity; and whilst it could well be argued it is strange to feature the oversized 80mm Kegel wheels in the bundle, this is why it works. We can see why Loaded compare the sensation of carving downhill to snowboarding, as it’s easy to get into a carving succession that feels really natural to carry though. It carves with such gleeful accuracy that it’s up there with the best longboards we’ve reviewed over the years and the wheels can be thrown into a slide even at low speeds. Icarus is an exhilarating and practical choice and a brilliant lower cost challenger to the popular Original Skateboard's Apex 40 Diamond Drop we checked out last year. Loaded have also facilitated a design with just the right amount of softness in the wheels, to provide smoothness with little road feedback from head to toe whatever the weather. Speaking of weather - due to the UK conditions, we’ve ridden the Loaded Icarus along drenching wet ground from asphalt to muddied bumpy paths, and it has given us a true impression of its great ride quality in terms of comfort and versatility. In fact, it’s actually quite a compact board, at 97.5 cm in length, to pop into your car or store in a locker.
The Loaded Icarus is a seasoned longboard that looks as good as it rides. Yes, it scores an impressive technical achievement with its deck design, but most importantly it’s a fun, free and unique ride that you’ll want to take everywhere with you this summer.