Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Whirling Twirling Dervish...Sama -- Loaded Dervish Sama Review

I would venture a guess that pretty much anyone in the world who loves to longboard has given the Loaded Dervish at least a ride or two. Whether you love or hate the Dervish, no one can deny the monumental impact that this board has had on both the longboarding industry and the development of freestyle longboarding. The Dervish is not just a flagship board in the Loaded line-up; it is honestly a staple in the longboarding revolution.

The Dervish Sama embodies all that the original Dervish does plus a little extra. It is a light, flexible carving machine that makes riding it more enjoyable than is imaginable while giving you a sense of freedom and mobility. Which in my opinion is the reason the Dervish has been such a wildly successful board. It makes you want to ride it; it is fun! The older model of the Dervish was a fantastic board with its own merits, however, there were some things that I thought would obviously improve the board... and Loaded happened to have hit all the spots that I thought could use an upgrade while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional Dervish.
A Little G-Turn Action
Let's get into the specifications of the Dervish Sama:
SpecsDervish Sama
Length42.8 in
Width9 in
Wheelbase31.5 in
Special FeaturesKicks
This brave new Dervish differs from the old one through a few cosmetic changes, some subtle ones, and a drastic one thrown in here or there. Let's start with some of the cosmetic ones because they are both obvious and pretty sweet.

The Dervish Sama has a new bottom graphic (see pic), which I do like, however, I unfortunately LOVED the old graphic, so I am a hard critic to please in that department. That being said it is a sick, simple graphic that showcases the bamboo that makes the board up. The other cosmetic change, and this is both cosmetic and functional (but I'm going to keep under cosmetic since it looks so cool) is the new grip tape patter (see pic). A whole bunch of people really liked the look of the dervish with the clear grip on it, but I think most people know that it wore off kinda quick. This new grip is more substantial and the pattern it is cut into fits the flowy, spinny feel of the Dervish. The grip on the nose and tail sections is more coarse than the grip elsewhere so you can really get torque on your spin tricks, while is is milder on the platform so you can move up and down the board without feeling like your feet are glued in place. This more mellow grip is just wonderful for board dancing.
the new Grip
The platform is a part of the Dervish that went through several changes, beyond its new grip and paint job. The new platform is wider, measuring in at 9inches, which I think is an improvement for pretty much any type of riding. Having more width on the platform allows for easier cross-stepping-board-dancing action, gives you a large platform to land on when doing tricks, and makes you feel a little more comfortable when holding out slides.
Shall We Dance?
Speaking of hitting some slides, the platform on the Dervish Sama isn't just wider; it has more concave to it which is actually important for several reasons. The first reason is that the concave works to keep your feet on the board and not sliding off. So whether you are trying to hold some long standies and just spin in circles with some quick 180 slides you know your feet will be where they should be. In addition to this the concave did something that I didn't expect... It actually helped mellow out the flex on the board. I know this Dervish is known for being flexy (and it definitely still is) but the flex on the new Dervish is less like one of those giant inflatable bouncey houses (where you don't really know where you're going to bounce; you just know that you're going to bounce a lot) and more like a small tight trampoline (where you always know how you're going to bounce). Having a more consistent flex pattern has made the Dervish Sama a more effective board in that you always know how you're going to rebound out of a carve and how the board is going to flex under your feet while sliding (author's note, I would stick to the flex options suggested by Loaded when choosing a Dervish Sama, they seem to have got it right).
Slide Time
Arguably the most visible change (and the change I most wanted to see in the Dervish) was the addition of upturned kicktails. The Dervish was already a symmetrical freestyle board with a functional nose and tail, so I couldn't ever see why they wouldn't just "kick" the tails. Now that they did, I can whole heartedly say that I am in love with these tails. If you have ever ridden a Tan Tien (also a Loaded Board) then you will know what to expect with these tails because they feel very similar. I  also happen to like doing manuals (and g-turns, and tail slides, and all that kind of stuff) on upturned tails, like those on the Dervish Sama, infinitely more than any other type of tail. These tails make all your crazy freestyle dreams come one step closer to reality. Now, you aren't going to go from hitting nose pivots to bigspins just because of them, but they will help your progression along.
Manuals Made Simple
Now that I have covered the changes in the board as it went from the Loaded Dervish to the Loaded Dervish Sama, let's talk about what it is good for. The Dervish Sama is a dropthrough, cambered, flexy monster of a board. What does that mean?

The dropthrough keeps it low, so pushing is easier and you are a little more stable when cruising down a hill with that lower center of gravity. The camber lends itself to the flexy nature of the board. By being elevated with the camber of the board it gives you the opportunity to really dig into carves. While carving your little heart out you unlock the full potential in the board that we talked about earlier. All of these elements combine to make commuting, freestyle, board dancing, and some freeride the Dervish Sama's many strong points.
and an Early Grab for good measure
Sooo... Who wouldn't I recommend this board to and who would I?I would not recommend this to someone looking for a strict downhill board or a really high speed freeride board. However, I would recommend the Dervish Sama to the person looking for that all-around board. I have immensely enjoyed riding this new Dervish for past few weeks and have only good things to say about it.  This board can dance, freestyle, commute, slide and shred like no other, so why not take it for a spin? They don't call it a whirling Dervish for nothing.
My Current Favorite Setup:
-Dervish Flex 1 (I like my board a little stiffer)
-Paris 180mm Trucks
-Orangatang Balut 86a (Yellow) [Balut are NUTS on the Dervish Sama]
-Orangatang Nipple Bushings (Soft/Orange)
-Bones Redz bearings
Any comments, questions, concerns, good vibes, bad vibes???
Send them my way!