Very recently, on May 1st to be exact, Loaded Boards added another deck to its offerings. The new board is called the Poke, which is pronounced "Pokē," and is a reincarnation of the Ceviche which was a reincarnation of its predecessor the fish. I believe this newest version blows the older ones out of the water, but we will get into that later... The Poke was designed to be a conqueror of cities in a tight, light, compact, and functional package.
I think that the folks over at Loaded would be some of the first people to tell you that the Poke is not intended for downhill use. However, since I always review things in a variety of riding styles, I took the Poke kind of fast. Now I'm not a silly, so I didn't try and break any records on it, but I cruised down some of my favorite runs on the Poke a few times.
The Poke is a really fun thrasher to hit some lower speed freeride with. I like playing with slides on this deck a lot because the small size of the board paired with its sizable kicktail really lets you play with the terrain, like all those sidewalks on your local hills.
Loaded Kanthaka) but the flares on the Poke are tiny and almost easy to look over; that is, until you actually step on the deck. They are very subtle but you can definitely feel them under your feet and they help lock you in a surprising amount when carving hard or hitting a slide.
While Mr. Poke can be sketchy-fun on the hills and thrasher-fun while freeriding; commuting is actually one of the Poke's strongest disciplines. I generally don't find many top mount boards to be super strong in the commuting category because pushing a top mount for a long time gets tiring. That would be true of the Poke too... If you ever had to put your feet on the ground.
I don't want to say that the Poke's best trait is freestyle skating, because it is so fun for commuting too, but boy do I like to hit tricks on this board. I mentioned that the kicktail on this deck is functional enough to ollie up a curb which means that it is also nice for lots of "street" style tricks. I started skating with longboarding so I never learned a lot of the more traditional street tricks, but I am pretty freaking close to kickflipping my Poke, which I am stoked about.
There are a couple recommended setups for Poke. I ended up receiving one of the most unique truck combinations I have ever ridden when the Poke landed on my doorstep.
The aforementioned setup is a Carver CX.4 and C2.4 truck combination. Which is a traditional kingpin truck in the back and a reverse kingpin truck in the front. This setup is really trippy at first, but after you get used to it you won't want to try anything else (at least for pumping and carving). This is the setup for pumping. I have never been able to pump a board so easily or been so freaking agile. You can turn in a complete circle in less than the space of an average parking spot. This truck combination is super fun, but really weird to ride in reverse, so if you hit a 180 slide or a shove it your ride is going to feel wonky.
For pumpy goodness I had my Carvers paired with some nice Orangatang 80a 4President wheels to get as much return possible from each carve/pump.
If you are someone, like myself, who really likes to hit 180 slides and tricks then you might want to consider going with a good ol' fashion set of Paris 150's. They are light and narrow which makes them great for flip tricks and spinning your board around in every direction possible. In addition you can still acutally pump the board really well with Paris trucks and some nice high rebound bushings, like Orangatang Nipples.
When rocking Paris 150's I went with a set of Orangatang 80a Fatfree wheel which are super light and easy to break into a slide.
180mm Reverse Kingpin Trucks
Slapping on a set of 180mm trucks gave Mr. Poke quite a different feel. You sacrifice a little bit of its agility for a more stable base. I really liked riding a set of Paris 180mm trucks with Orangatang Morongas on the Poke. This setup, I think, really lent itself to doing a little bit of freeride and gave me a more stable platform to stop down bigger tricks.
The Bottom Line
Would I recommend the Loaded Poke to a Friend?
I think that the Poke is a gnarly little thrasher that a ton of people would really enjoy, so yes I would. I think if you are looking for fast freeride or downhill you need to look elsewhere. Buuuut if you are looking for a fun little thrasher that can handle a variety of situations well then I would look at the Poke.
Thanks for Reading!!!
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