Interviews, Mag

Board Talk With Sewa Kroetkov

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This article originally appeared in the printed Krak Mag that came with KrakBox #1 from April.

In this inaugural KrakBox (and printed Krak Mag), we’ve got a little something special just for you, an interview with Sewa Kroetkov on his setup. We’re almost absolutely certain that you’re familiar with Sewa, with his precision flatground game and let’s not forget that he’s not afraid to go big either. We’ve been huge fans of Sewa’s skateboarding for a long while, and thought it’d be fitting that the first printed Krak Mag would also be the first place he’d have a chance to talk about his setup. We spent an afternoon nerding out with Sewa about every little detail on his board and listening to what he had to say about what he puts under his magic feet. Without further ado, let’s find out from the man himself what and why he rides what he rides. -HK

KRAK: Hey Sewa! Thanks for doing this. Can you tell us more about what you’re riding right now? Let’s start off by talking about your deck?

Sewa: So I’m going to start with the board, my Blind pro model board, size 7.9”. The length is 31.4”, With a 7” nose, a 6.5” tail and a 14” wheelbase. The reason I like 7.9” is that I used to always skate 7.75” decks, but I felt like I kind of grew out of it, and for some spots it felt a little uncomfortable, and became a little too small. What I like about a 7.9” is that everything felt a little more comfortable but I didn’t lose any tricks. After this I tried a size 8”, which is not for me, because everything flipped a lot slower and the pop didn’t feel the same. I’m a bit OCD, and want the board to feel right from the first time, and I don’t want to wait a couple of weeks to get used to it, as I feel I’m messing up my skating. I skate the Blind Impact and Impact Plus decks. The Impact decks have two carbon fiber discs on the underside at the truck mounting points and the Impact Plus has an additional carbon fiber top layer. What I like about the Impact and the Impact Plus boards is that they have carbon fiber discs and another top layer (for the Impact Plus) which makes my board feel really strong, which if I don’t have it and try to learn some flatbar tricks, I end up snapping my board because I’m not the lightest out there. Since I’ve had those, I haven’t been snapping any boards, that’s what I really like about Blind boards and the pop lasts a really long time. Even when I’m skating certain spots and my board falls in the water, I just let it dry and it feels the same pretty much, which doesn’t happen to me with other boards I used to skate way back in the day.

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Pictured is Sewa’s “I must S.K.A.T.E. you” graphic from Blind Skateboards.

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Any special deck preferences?

When it comes to concaves, I’m not too picky, it just depends on what I’ve been skating lately. So if I’ve been skating a bunch of steep concave boards, I like to keep it that way. In general I like my nose and tail kicks mellow. What I do like is when the nose is a little more rounded, not necessarily pointy.

What about the griptape? Tell us a little about this new M-80 formula you’ve been riding.

I skate Mob grip, what I like about Mob grip is that it’s the grippiest. What I like about grippy grip is that I don’t have to worry about changing boards so often after a couple of days. Once I put this grip on, it’s still good in 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, maybe even up to a week, depending if I switch the board or not. Right now I’m using the new M-80 formula, a little bit of a lighter grip than the classic one. I like this one a lot for flip in and flip out tricks. That’s pretty much the main reason I switched over to this. It keeps its grip for a long time.

Any special setup techniques? Do you sand down the grip?

I just cut the grip, I don’t sand it down. With Mob grip, the little holes in the grip make sure you don’t get air bubbles. And when I put it on, I can cut it straight away without sanding it down.

Let’s talk about your trucks. I know we’ve spent many afternoons discussing trucks. What are you riding right now?

For trucks, I skate Venture 5.25” lows (The Jack Curtin pro model trucks with regular (non-forged) baseplates, solid kingpins and axles). When I used to skate 7.75” boards, I used to skate the Venture 5.0” lows, but since I moved up a little bit in board size, I felt like I should also move up a little bit in truck size. What I like about that is that it’s a tiny bit wider, only a slight bit but I really notice the difference with grinds because it feels like it locks in way easier, because there’s more room on the hanger basically. Which I didn’t believe in the beginning because I thought that it’s only a tiny difference, but it makes a huge difference when you put them on. And it also feels more stable for me, bringing the wheels closer to the edge of the board. In the beginning when I sized up to a wider truck, I was afraid that treflips wouldn’t land the same, but as soon as I put my trucks on when I moved up in board size, it just felt more comfortable.

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Why do you like Ventures?

What I really like about Ventures compared to other trucks I’ve skated is that when I pop a lot of tricks like a lot of flips, my pop with Ventures just feels more powerful. The reason is maybe that they are a more solid truck than other trucks. I like the turning of Ventures a lot although I skate my trucks quite tight. That’s what I like about Ventures I guess, you can really adjust them, with some trucks they will be more loose and even when you try to get them tight they’ll never get tight. And with some other trucks its vice versa. You try and get them loose and they’ll never get loose. Or they’ll be so loose that you get wheelbite after wheelbite. That’s the other thing about Ventures, you can adjust them exactly how you want and they’ll still feel really solid. They feel more precise.

Let’s talk about wheels. What wheels are you riding right now?

Right now I’m riding Ricta wheels. I usually ride the Ricta Speedrings, and I’ve also been trying the Slix, which are a tiny bit lighter than the Speedrings (narrower profile). I like both wheels in different ways. What I like about Ricta is the hardness of the wheel, it feels comfortable for me on every surface, whether it’s the skatepark or raw street spots or whether its street spots that are not as rough. Some wheels will feel good at street spots but when you get into a skatepark you’ll just slip out all the time. Sometimes with certain wheels, compared to in the skatepark, when you skate them in the street it feels like they slow down, with Ricta I don’t have that problem, it’s good for every surface.

The Slix wheels have a special edge on the inside (a custom molded blue TPU insert) which you place on the side facing the hanger, it will make your grinds feel smoother, and help you grind through certain spots better. With the Speedrings, while they are a little heavier, with certain tricks this added weight can help. Rictas always feel good right away when you put them on, and they pretty much don’t flat spot on me. When I go on trips, I can just put on a new set of wheels and skate them the whole trip and I don’t have to worry about carrying extra sets of wheels just in case.

How big of a wheel do you ride?

I ride 51mm wheels, I’ve been used to it for so long. 52mm feels a tiny bit too big and 50mm feels a tiny bit too small, and it gets smaller too quick as I pretty much skate every day. So 51mm is the perfect right in between size for me. The Rictas I ride have a durometer of 81b (both the Slix and the Speedrings) in the NRG formula.

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What bearings are you riding right now?

Right now I’m riding the Andale ABEC 7 bearings. It’s Joey Brezinski’s company and I like what Andale is doing in general, with their events and social media and they put skateboarding out there in a really fun way. The bearings just work for me, they’re smooth. I don’t pop the shields off.

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What about hardware?

I skate Diamond 7/8” Allen head mounting hardware. I started skating Diamond hardware as their product works well for me. I’ve always preferred Allen head because before when I switched boards and used Phillips head bolts, the heads would just strip and it would become a pain to switch out your trucks when you change boards.

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Okay, to finish this off, who do you want to thank?

I’d like to thank Red Bull, GoPro, Blind, Venture, Ricta, MOB GripAndale, Magic Wax, Rollin skate shop, Diamond Hardware and Asphalt Yacht Club for the support. Thanks guys!

Go pick up Sewa’s new Blind Skateboards D.I.R.T.S. graphic (pictured below) that’s out now!

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I guess that about covers it, thanks Sewa!

Thank you!

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