The Mata Hari is Loaded’s new freestyle-oriented dancing longboard. It’s a more compact and lightweight board compared to Loaded’s all-time dancing king, the Bhangra.
Compared to classic dancer boards, the Mata Hari is a lot easier for freestyle tricks like kick flicks or no-comply 360 flips, thanks to its narrower and shorter shape, lighter weight, and steeper kicks.
This comes at the cost of slightly less foot room for boardwalking and cross-stepping, though the wider tips partly makes up for it.
The Mata Hari is priced at $213 deck only and $339 for the complete – which is a reasonable price for a dancer board from Loaded (Bhangra complete starts at about $400).
Check out the Mata Hari here on Loaded’s website
Loaded Mata Hari test drive summary
The Mata Hari is blissful, incredibly smooth and comfortable to ride, highly responsive and turny. It doesn’t feel like riding a 45″ behemoth at all.
Carving on this board is simply amazing. The raised edges makes the board very sensitive to the slightest moves while you move around on the deck. Meanwhile, the long wheelbase (default 28.25″) gives you comforting stability when trying to walk, spin, and pirouette.
The kicks are no less than an invitation to pop, it’s surprising how easily you can pop and flip the Mata Hari despite its sheer size.
Truly a versatile board, beyond dancing and tricks, I can see myself using it for cruising and for distance commuting. It’s lightweight too, very pleasant to carry around.
Loaded Mata Hari pros & cons
- Compact and very lightweight for a dancing longboard
- Surprisingly responsive and nimble for a board this size
- Very versatile – dancing, technical freestyle, carving, distance, even freeride
- Much easier to pop and flip than a traditional dancer
- Nice to carry around
- Gorgeous piece of work
- A bit less room for footwork compared to classic dancers
- Narrow width may not suit riders with bigger feet
- Pure dancing riders may prefer flatter kicks and no micro drops
What is the Loaded Mata Hari?
The Mata Hari is Loaded’s latest take on the freestyle dancing longboard. A topmount, symmetrical board with mellow but notable concave and large steep kicks, the Mata Hari is significantly more compact and lightweight than its predecessors.
|Wheelbase||27.25″ – 29.25″|
The Mata Hari has 3 wheelbase options that suits various riding styles and/or rider sizes – more about this below.
See the review for the Mata Hari on Loaded’s site.
Loaded Mata Hari dancer shape
The Mata Hari is a true dancer shape, topmount with a large foot platform and mellow, progressive cutouts – as opposed to freestyle shapes like the Dervish Sama with its aggressive cutouts – and drop-through mount:
The softer cutouts on the Mata Hari dancer means the wheels stick out a lot less, allowing you to walk across the whole deck including on top of the kicks vs limiting you to just the foot platform (though it’s quite large in itself).
That said, the Mata Hari is clearly freestyle focused compared to pure boardwalking decks e.g. the Zenit Joe, which is wider and has even more mellow cutouts, allowing you to walk the whole board with even less risk of touching the wheels:
In short, the Mata Hari is a middle ground between a pure boardwalking dancer and a freestyle shape, offering the best of both worlds. “Freestyle-oriented dancer” is a good way to describe this board.
Mata Hari construction
The Mata Hari is true to Loaded’s unique high-tech high-end construction which involves two vertically laminated bamboo cores sandwiched between layers of triaxial fiberglass, epoxy resin, and beautiful outside bamboo veneers.
As with most of Loaded’s longboard lineup, this combination of materials and processes results in a deck that’s incredibly lighweight for the size, resistant to high impacts (for freestyle tricks), and with a special flex (more on that below).
Mata Hari kicks
One thing that sets the Mata Hari apart from other dancers is the size of its kicks, both lengthwise and in terms of angle/steepness:
The kicks on this board are clearly street-inspired. This, combined with the amazing bamboo + fiberglass materials, results in fantastic pop on this board despite its sheer size.
The high angle kicks also help protect the board when landing hard upside down during hardcore freestyle tricks. Again, the Mata Hari is built with hardcore freestyle in mind.
Besides the high angle kicks, the deck has slight micro-drops at the base of the tail and nose. These create subtle foot pockets that are valuable for tricks, and help you know where you are when walking the board.
Concave & wheel wells
The Mata Hari has mild rocker and mellow concave. The slightly uplifted rails, nevertheless, feel super comfortable when carving and pumping the board. They provide a nice tight foot grip even in areas with no grip tape (see below).
Still, the concave is flat enough not to get in your way when walking and cross stepping – something you would expect from a dedicated dancer longboard.
The Mata Hari deck has HUGE CNC-milled wheel wells – 5.5″ x 2″ and about a 1/4″ deep.
These are among the biggest I’ve seen on any board, and significantly reduce the risk of wheelbite, including when running loose trucks for technical freestyle.
Mata Hari grip tape
The grip tape is cut following patterns somewhat symmetrical to the artsy graphics patterns on the deck’s bottom. The grip tape pattern is empty around the center of the board widthwise and lengthwise, while the deck gripped around the kicks and the rest of the rails.
Not having grip tape in the center makes pirouettes, spins, and pivots a lot easier. Meanwhile, having coarse grip on the tails is crucial for kick and flip tricks.
Mata Hari deck flex
The Mata Hari has nice bamboo flex that, in my opinion, feels closest to a Bhangra Flex 2. It’s a balanced yet damp flex that results in a playful and responsive board.
Unlike other Loaded longboards, the Mata Hari comes in a single, “all-around” flex version
Who is the Loaded Mata Hari for?
The Mata Hari is a good choice for you if you’re:
- A longboard freestyler and/or dancer
- Transitioning from street to longboard freestyle
- A small-to-medium size beginner learning dancing tricks
- Someone who loves to carve while having ample foot space
- A long-distance pusher / cruiser
Check out the Mata Hari here on Loaded’s website
Loaded Mata Hari riding experience
Dancing on the Mata Hari
The Mata Hari is first and foremost a dancer. If you do a lot of boardwalking, set your trucks on the outer wheelbase option (29.5″) for higher stability and a bit more platform for footwork between kicks.
Setting the trucks on the outside position will result in slightly softer flex and added responsiveness and bounce when carving during dance moves.
When set up in this way, the Mata Hari is great for cross steps, Peter Pans, Lazy Suzans, Sidewinders, Pirouettes, spins, 180s, pivots etc.
While, as mentioned, a wider dancer might be even easier to walk on, the Mata Hari has a perfect size for more aggressive dance tricks. The grip tape layout is also designed for that.
Freestyle on the Mata Hari
Setting your trucks on one of the inside positions provides a bit more nimble and turny feel, and makes it easier to throw freestyle tricks. A shorter wheelbase also results in a stiffer, firmer flex and feel to the deck.
The middle wheelbase option (28.25″) is optimal for a mix of freestyle and dancing, while the inner setting (27.25″) works best for more technical and aggressive freestyle.
Shorter wheelbase means greater pop and increased kicktail leverage, better control during tricks, and lower swing weight for doing those spin tricks.
Also, the shorter the wheelbase, the more resistant the board is to hard landings (stiffer). The inner setting makes ollies, shuvits, kick flips, or tiger claws noticeably easier.
Cruising & carving
The 44.5″ Mata Hari is a sweet board for cruising around and carving. The long wheelbase makes this board very stable and smooth to cruise on. The huge foot platform makes it very comfortable.
Yet despite its size, the Mata Hari feels astonishingly responsive and very fast turning. You might expect such a huge board to be a bit clunky but in reality, it really feels as swift and reactive as a shorter cruiser.
This stems from the Mata Hari’s topmount design which offers strong leverage over the trucks in turns. The narrow and tapered shape, and the uplifted rails, also contribute to that great responsive feel.
The board doesn’t feel big at all, it turns on a dime and is really responsive. That makes it great for cruising and carving.
The bamboo flex on the Mata Hari, particularly when set on the longer wheelbase, makes the board a carving and pumping joy. It has a nice energetic and bouncy feel that really keeps the board going without pushing.
The uplifted rails add responsiveness to subtle foot pressures. The large wheel wells allow for really tight carves without risk of wheelbite.
The flex on this deck also helps dampen vibrations and shocks from obstacles. This also adds to the sweet experience of cruising on the Mata Hari.
The flex and rocker make the Loaded Mata Hari ride quite low to the ground despite its topmount build. Based on my own measurements, ride height (when I’m standing on the board) is around 3.5″. This makes pushing distance very easy and comfortable.
The Mata Hari is also very stable at speed, especially with the outer wheelbase setting, which makes for a comfy ride when traversing hilly areas.
The large 65mm 80a wheels also offer not only a fast roll but also nice cushioning when riding distance including over rougher terrain.
Although the Mata Hari isn’t specifically designed for freeride, its topmount trucks, fully symmetrical shape, large kicks, edged rails, and slight foot pockets for lock in, all contribute to making it a decent freeride board.
As mentioned, the long wheelbase makes this board very stable at speed. The tight carving abilities of this board is also well-suited for some technical freeriding, once you get used to the length.
In short, riders with the right skills will be naturally tempted to go switch and break traction on this board when going down mellow hills.
Check out the Mata Hari on Loaded’s website
Loaded Mata Hari setup
The Mata Hari comes with Paris 180mm 50º RKP trucks, known for their responsiveness and strength for handling heavy freestyle tricks.
The Orangatang 65mm Fat Free wheels are great for freestyle. The rounded lip, offset core, and 37mm contact patch make these wheels easy to slide with.
The core of the Fat Free can easily handle heavy hits and high impacts. The 80a duro has just the right mix of grip and responsiveness for pop and kick tricks.
Mata Hari vs Bhangra
|Mata Hari||Bhangra V2|
|Size||44.5″ x 9.25″||48.5″ x 9.5″|
|Weight||4.6 lbs||5.5 lbs|
|Flex||Single flex||Flex 1 & 2|
|Price (deck only)||$213||$272|
The Mata Hari is a smaller dancer than the Bhangra – 4″ shorter and 1/4″ narrower, with wheelbase 3.5″ shorter. It’s about 1lb lighter.
The construction is bamboo + fiberglass for the Mata Hari vs Bamboo + Basalt (eco friendly) for the Bhangra.
In contrast to the Mata Hari, the Bhangra isn’t 100% symmetrical. The kicks on the Bhangra are narrower (more taper) and with not as steep compared to the MH.
Overall, the Mata Hari is designed for more aggressive freestyle with its more compact and lightweight shape, steep street-like kicks. and high pop bamboo + fiberglass flex.
The Bhangra is a more versatile dancer as its huge foot platform is suitable for intensive cross-stepping, while the large (albeit flatish) kicks are conducive to flip tricks.
Check out my in-depth review of the Loaded Bhangra here.
Mata Hari vs Tarab
|Size||44.5″ x 9.25″||47″ x 9.5″|
|Weight||4.6 lbs||5 lbs|
|Flex||Single flex||Flex 1 & 2|
|Price (deck only)||$213||$299|
The difference in size between the Mata Hari and the Tarab is similar to that with the Bhangra, although the 47″ Tarab is in between the Bhangra and the MH in length.
The Tarab is lighter than the Bhangra and close to the Mata Hari’s 4.6 lb weight.
The Tarab resembles the Mata Hari although the kicks are flatter and the concave a bit more aggressive. The Tarab is also slightly tapered at the waist, adding “flippability” to the board.
Overall, the Mata Hari’ has a slightly fuller outline, more compact size, and steeper kicks compared to the Tarab.
Both boards are highly suitable for technical freestyle dancing. Which you choose will depend on your size, preference, and budget – the Tarab comes in at a hefty $86 more than the MH.
See my in-depth review of the Loaded Tarab here.
Mata Hari vs Dervish Sama (42.8″)
|Mata Hari||Dervish Sama|
|Size||44.5″ x 9.25″||42.8″ x 9″|
|Weight||4.6 lbs||3.6 lbs|
|Flex||Single flex||Flex 1, 2, 3|
|Price (deck only)||$213||$198|
- Sama Drop through vs topmount
- Sama Much narrower kicks, wheels stick out. Not a dancer
- Sama lighter 3 – 3.6 lbs
The Dervish Sama is quite different from the Mata Hari, being a drop-through freestyle longboard as opposed to a dancer. However, many riders dance on the Sama so I thought I’d look at them side-by-side as well.
The Dervish Sama is slightly shorter and a 1/4″ narrower than the Mata Hari – clearly a smaller deck. As mentioned earlier, their shapes are very different as the Sama has very narrow kicks not suitable for boardwalking.
Nevertheless, some riders are happy to walk and cross-step up around the Sama’s foot platform (between kicks). They enjoy the Sama’s lightweight and snowboard-like feel, vs the Mata Hari’s topmount feel and wide steep kicks for pirouettes and kick flips.
Mata Hari vs other dancers
The Mata Hari is comparable in size (albeit slightly longer) to the Zenit Tero (42″ x 9.25″).
Check out the Mata Hari here on Loaded’s website