Kebbek Skateboards, founded in 1992, is one of the few remaining longboard companies that went against the trend of microdrops and short wheelbases to produce large, durable downhill and freeride ...
We are in the presence of the Loaded Tesseract. This is a fully symmetrical board, with twin kicks and a rather compact nature. To say this is a very interesting longboard is an understatement. We’ve been quite fascinated with many of Loaded’s recent designs. This is also a board we weren’t expecting. But, like with anything, the more you do something, the more you want to continue doing it. Looks like Loaded is on a roll, literally.
Our initial assessment of the Loaded Tesseract points in the direction of an ever-increasing longboarding disipline. That of course, is freeride. It makes sense too. This is an ever-maturing creative longboarding style akin to freeskating or freesurfing. Basically, you do whatever you want on a skateboard and Loaded gets to do whatever they want to design one for you. Let’s find out if the Loaded Tesseract allows you to be free.
Width: 9.5” / 24cm
Wheelbase: 24.5” and 26” / 62.2cm and 66cm
Thickness: .4375” (7/16”) / 1.11 cm
Concave (on standing area over wheel flares): .5” (1/2”) / 1.27cm
Concave depth (at center): .25” (7/16”) / .635 cm
Weight as built: 8 lbs 10 oz. / 3.91 kg
Having sampled many of Loaded’s recent releases, we get the sense this board was built in a boiling pressure cooker. That pressure cooker is the melting pot of all of Loaded’s recent great ideas pressed into one. Let’s just look at what we have here and you’ll see what we mean. And let’s do it in a nice little list for easy reading.
Of course, we’re also seeing traditional Loaded die cut grip tape, mystical graphics and hefty price tag. But look closely; the price is not as luxurious as that of the Chubby. Hmmm. So far so good.
If you think about it again, we seem to be right in the assumption the Tesseract is almost a mishmash of all of Loaded’s current goodies pressed into one deck. The initial impression is complicated in that it’s so simple. It’s like going to a car dealership and buying the “fully loaded” latest model. Lol. See what we did there?
There’s one very important point to keep in mind however - The small package. All this concentration of technological toys is pressed into a compact 39” x 9.5” board.
Appearance-wise, the board is not as mystic as the name suggests. The woody-looking cork and pastel colors on the underside are more rustic than space-age. The clever-looking black Paris 180’s with white bases sent to us with the board make us think “hipster.” We might be switching our helmets for fedoras and losing our gloves so as to hold a latte mid-ride while listening to Wilco with our truck-matching white bud headphones. You know what we’re talking about.
Joking aside, the shape is attractive and looks like a heck of a lot of fun. The size is manageable and so is the weight, which is quite light. The standing platform looks adequate. The combination of wheel flares, W concave, rocker and aggressive grip tape makes it obvious the Tesseract is meant to perform – not just look cool.
So let’s see how it does.
We’re not going to go too deep into how it’s built, because we’re skaters, not engineers. What’s not surprising however, is Loaded’s continued experimentation with interesting building materials. Loaded has used cork layers on some of their other boards, the most obvious being the Bhangra which we tested a couple of years ago. But that board’s cork was a lot more shy. It sat sandwiched between the bamboo layers. On the Tesseract, the cork is front and center. Yes, it covers the entire bottom of the deck. It’s impregnated with resin, making the cork a viable alternative to a sheet of fiberglass roving or cloth. If that isn’t clever, we don’t know what is. We are actually surprised we haven’t seen this done before.
True, the cork looks kind of funky. It also raised quite a couple of eyebrows around here. But the fact that it’s more flexible and doesn’t crack or shatter like fiberglass does makes it a brilliant idea. Even if it's just aesthetic, we can bet this came about after looking at one of the layers in another deck that uses sandwiched cork. One of the guys at Loaded must have been like, “Hey, why don’t we use this stuff as an outer layer instead of inside the sandwich!” It’s like making your lunch with the ham and cheese on the outside and a slice of bread in the middle of it all. It’s funny looking, but we bet it’s just as tasty.
The rest of the build is a little more traditional, with some layers of bamboo and tri-axial fiberglass epoxy and what we suppose is a proprietary custom glass matrix right before the layer of cork. The slightly simpler build, when compared to the Chubby Unicorn, also yields a smaller price tag than the unicorn’s mythological coin requirements.
Riding a Tesseract
The first thing we notice is the board feels quite compact. This is a good thing. It feels like it fits. The rocker is noticeable. Oftentimes on shorter boards, rocker is not as evident, but on the Tesseract you can definitely feel it’s there – really helps the board feel even more accommodating and cozy.
The wheel well flares are very useful too. Thanks to the short nature of the board, the flares give you the sort of apparent feeling of a slight step down deck. Your feet really lock against them.
The board is quite stiff but nicely dampened. It feels as though that pretty cork might still be a dampening layer and that it's really doing its job. Loaded claims this cork layer has proven to be quite durable, even on the bottom of the deck and, after some abuse, we can see why. The cork seems to dissipate impact and shrug off abuse really well. We believe the non-linear attributes of the material are responsible for this. The grain in cork is all over the place, seemingly helping to spread impact load. Not to mention that it’s soft and squishy. Note however, we tried pressing the stuff as hard we could, even using our fingernails, and it feels pretty darn solid.
The grip tape pattern that folds over each of the 4 corners is a pretty neat concept. We’ve seen this sort of feature executed in one way or another on different boards from various companies. These do their job, but we feel they should be a little bit longer. In other words, the fold/flap needs to have a little bit more material.
The board is perfectly symmetrical, making the kicks equal at each end. The compact theme of the shape yields small stubby kicks. However, the stiffness of the deck combined with the angles created by the board’s rocker makes it so the small kicks have a ton of leverage. This is great because it eliminates the need for longer extensions past the trucks and helps keep the entire board more manageable.
Things get even more fun when you discover the pop these kicks provide. Lightweight, plus stiffness, plus small size, plus pop, equals tons of trickery fun. This makes the Tesseract one of the more trickster freeride decks we’ve come across. Talented skaters in our crew go nuts bridging the ever-decreasing gap between street-skating and longboarding styles.
The last bit we need to address is the W concave. We think Loaded hit the nail on the head with this one. Reason being, Loaded's W didn't "stand out" underfoot on the deck. In fact, the feature almost became a background object during our testing. We never really gave it too much thought. We never gave it too much attention. But the fact of the matter is it’s there and it works.
So, what we like about this board's W concave is that it’s very slight and non obstructive. It goes perfectly with the shape and the purposes of the board. It does the job of helping to increase grip and control at speed and during powerfully long slides, but it’s not so aggressive that it tires your feet or makes pushing a chore. This means that as far as W concaves go on versatile boards, this is one of the best shapes we’ve come across. Never did it bother us to push, but it was there to help us lock onto the deck during the gnarliest of slides. Standies, specially.
The only thing we were a little disappointed about was the grip-tape over the rails at each of the 4 corners. We're returning to this because it was a universal complaint among our reviewing riders and because it's an avoidable issue. The problem is that while theflaps of folded griptape do their job, we feel there should be more material folding over to cover the entire rail. Loaded's grip tape is quite coarse and stiff, so the small amount of surface area the grip must adhere to on the rail isn't enough to hold the tape down. We found ours coming unglued a bit in some areas and grew weary of pressing it back in place, sure that it would eventually crack or curl off. We feel that with more surface area under glue, extended flaps would do a better job of sticking to the rails by fighting the tension of the 90 degree bend.
One clever bit might have been to wrap the rails in the same areas but all the way around to about an inch below the deck to also make for a gripping spot for your gloves. However, this might be way too experimental and might put off some riders. Nonetheless, the issue is minor. We might take a bit of contact cement and try and glue those corners down forever.
We cannot fault Loaded for using their tech to cover every niche in our beloved sport - especially when they do it so brilliantly. Yes, on the one hand it makes shopping for boards all the more complicated. But on the other hand, having that variety at our disposal can only mean good things for longboarders. Plus, each and every rider is a little different, so having options to suit an entire gamut of styles is awesome.
Our reviewers like the Loaded Tesseract a lot. It’s obvious that Loaded saw the need to create what could best be described as a concentrate. Yes, that’s the right word, as in concentrated orange juice or a concentrated cleaner. It’s taking the best out of Loaded’s recent technological arsenal and stuffs it all into a small freeride board. We feel that if they had done this with a smaller board, the intent may have been lost in translation. Too niche. If they had done this with a much longer board, it would have diluted the effort. But the fact that Loaded has hit the very chord of the existence of freeride with the Loaded Tesseract tells us they’ve hit the bullseye with this one. It’s a winner. Make sure you find a way to get a hold of it and ride one.