My favorite skateboard superstition is that all boards manufactured by Deluxe with a red top ply are cursed. I’ve skated probably 15 Deluxe boards in my life and have only ever had one “red top.” It was a Krooked Mark Gonzales bought during the winter of 2004.
At the time, I was 14 years old and had the physique of a lineman. The prior summer and fall, I had been skating and breaking boards from brands who manufactured in China, in particular Element and Flip.
With my mom waiting in the parking lot, I stood alone at the counter of my local skateshop. I recited to the owner a made-up story about cracking my board on a front-lip, and then nonchalantly asked him what the strongest boards were. He told me, “Anything Deluxe,” to which I asked to see one. He grabbed the Krooked from the wall behind him, told me that it was 8 inches wide, and asked what size I was riding. I told him “7.75,” and he mentioned that I’d likely benefit from something bigger. He was right. The extra quarter inch, paired with American-made manufacturing, added the stability and strength I desperately needed. With that board, I became more comfortable and confident in my skating, and for the first time in my life, noticed that I was progressing.
That April, after about three months of riding that board, I broke my leg after bailing on an ollie off a metal picnic table. I spent the entire spring and most of summer in a cast playing video games and watching downloaded skate videos. It wasn’t until later that year- after coming across a message board post about the “Deluxe red top curse”- did I dig up that board to learn that it had been a red top. It was too late to be concerned with the top ply’s color, as I had already become superstitious over something else—how I put the board together. Instead of using plyers and a screwdriver, as I had done with every board prior, I used a drill.
For the next 11 years, I used nothing more than a screwdriver, needle-nose plyers and a wrench to assemble boards. The excuse I embraced was that by doing so, I was appreciating the act of putting together my skateboard. In reality, I was just paranoid of cursing myself and getting seriously hurt again.
At one point over those 11 years, I did buy a skateboard-specific tool, made by Element, pictured below. In classic Element fashion, it was perhaps the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever used.
The positive: The screwdriver fit snug in its pocket, and each socket could be removed—unveiling either a Phillips, Allen, or Bigger-Allen bit.
The issue: The screwdriver- small, four sided and smooth- was impossible to grip. More importantly, the socket which tightens or loosens your trucks was useless, as the tips of all three bits would hit my kingpin before the 9/16th socket could catch a grip. Of any tool, a 9/16th wrench or socket is my most commonly used. This left you with essentially one tool: a 3/8th socket for your axel, or, the least used skate tool.
To this day, the Element Tri-Tool has reigned as the worst skateboarding related item I’ve ever bought.
One day, after using a drill to innocently take apart an old set-up, I realized just how much time I was wasting by stubbornly using a screwdriver and plyers. It was then when I vowed to man-up and overcome my fears of using a drill.
As it turns out, though, I would never remember to charge the fucking thing, so it was often near useless or dead. In an attempt to finally fix this problem, I bought this tool by Silver.
There is no reason to buy any skate tool other than this. The included screwdriver- although small- is easy to handle, and the ratcheting hardware socket will save your wrists from getting cramped. Buy it. Keep it in your trunk. And eventually lose it.