Loaded Poke Review: Why I Love This Cruiser

If you’re wondering why I chose the Loaded Poke for this review, it’s simply because I love this little guy.  Defined by its creators as an “urban explorer”, it’s designed to be an agile and lightweight all-around city cruiser.

The Loaded Poke (pronounced “poke-eh”) is a great board for cruising in tight city areas.  Slightly bigger than a street deck, it’s super-lightweight and easy to carry around in a backpack.  The wide, rockered deck makes it comfortable to push travel on, and the mild concave and wheel flares offer good grip for carving and slashing.  The stiff-ish deck and large kicks make it apt for freestyle tricks, bowl riding, and quick slides.  With the right setup, this board can be astonishingly pumpable and surfy.

Check out the Loaded Poke on Loaded’s website.

Now let’s dig in deeper and examine what makes the Poke such a special cruiser.

Loaded Poke shape and design

The Poke is a very cool looking topmount compact deck with a directional shape that calls for a surfy kind of ride.  While the kicktail is larger than the nose – making the shape asymmetrical, both tails are significantly narrower than the middle of the deck.  This, along with the ample wheel cutouts, provide for good wheel clearance.

Loaded Poke directional shape and kicks
Poke’s narrower kicks

Like other Loaded models, the Poke is made of a vertically laminated bamboo core sandwiched in 2 fiberglass layers.  This snowboard-like construction confers it the subtle flex, lightweight, and awesome durability Loaded is famous for.

The bamboo veneer on the bottom the Poke looks really nice.  So does the fish art and combined with the honeycomb embossing of the fiberglass at the bottom.  Poke is a sort of Hawaiian fish salad, conveying the fact that the Poke is the latest successor to Loaded’s “fishy” series, the Loaded Fish and Ceviche models.

Loaded Poke bottom bamboo veneer
Bamboo veneer, honeycomb embossing

At 34″ the Poke is about the length of a regular street deck (most are 30-33″ long), but much wider at 9.125″ (street decks typically fall in the 8.0 – 8.50″ range).

Therefore it’s a good choice for you if you’re a street skater looking for a comfortable ride for cruising and commuting without compromising on portability and freestyle (read on for more), or a longboard city rider who needs something small, maneuverable, and easy to stow.

The Poke is really lightweight (2.8lb) and can be carried around without effort – again, this results to the brand’s signature hybrid bamboo and fiberglass construction.

Aside from width, what makes the Poke a great cruiser is its 20.75″ wheelbase (13.15″ on a street deck).  Longer wheelbase allows for stability at higher cruising speeds, and for bigger wheels leading to a more comfortable ride.  Compared to a street deck the same size, the Poke is just super smooth to ride.

Capable and agile city carving and pumping

What really makes the Poke stand out is its combination of rocker, concave, and flex.  These features determine the board’s capabilities as a “versatile urban explorer”.  What does that mean?

Let’s start with rocker.  A board’s rocker is simply a downward curvature of a deck, with the middle of the board being slightly lower than the mount points.  The Poke is rockered 0.1″.

Loaded Poke rockered profile
Rockered profile

Why should you care?   The deck being lowered in the middle means the board rides lower to the ground.  When you’re commuting or push traveling longer distances, a lower ride makes a big difference in the amount of stress and effort required on your hips, knees, and ankles for kick pushing over long durations.

Adding to the rocker for traveling comfort is the Poke’s subtle flex.  A bit of flex gives you a slight rebound when your kick, adding to the pushing impulses.  Slight flex also helps you when you pump (see pumping setup below) as it bounces you up into your next turn.

A rockered profile is also a plus when you carve or slide, cradling your feet in and locking them into position.

Concave is another important factor for that foot lock-in feeling.  The Poke’s subtle concave (0.5″), allied with its strong grip tape, is enough to get your feet tucked in when you carve or pump, transitioning from one rail to the other.

The mellow concave, however, doesn’t get in the way of moving around when doing freestyle tricks (see next section).

So rocker, concave, and flex are carefully designed to work together and give the Poke its comfortable and maneuverable carving agility.  But there’s one more piece to this urban explorer puzzle: the wheel flares.

Wheel flares are slightly raised sections of the deck above the wheels.  Flares provide more wheel clearance and allow for bigger wheels without suffering wheelbite.

Loaded Poke wheel flare

Like on the Icarus – see my full review here, the Poke’s wheel flares are also part of the carving oriented design: not only are the flares meant to give more breathing room to the wheels, they are also part of the overall concave shape.

This allows the rider to leverage those tiny, hardly noticeable ridges in the board contour when leaning into a tight turn or initiating a freestyle trick or a small slide.

So, rocker, concave, and wheel flares all participate in that secure hold, safe feeling when you’re riding the Poke, weaving around obstacles or pushing along the streets for hours in city areas.

Freestyling with the Loaded Poke

So far I’ve focused on the Poke’s carving abilities, a core design focus for this compact city cruiser.  However, there’s more to the Poke than just cruising and carving – otherwise you might consider it merely a compact version of the Icarus.

The Poke was also designed with strong freestyle capabilities in mind.  I already mentioned its short size is close to that of a street board, making it a good candidate for dropping into a bowl.

What’s more, the significant kicktail and prominent nose make the Poke easy to ollie, kick or flip, and perform other classic skate tricks like shovits.  The relatively stiff flex of the deck gives it lots of pop – something not found on every cruiser.

The kicktail also comes in very handy when cruising on tight sidewalks, for ollying up or down curbs and kick-turning really fast around people and obstacles.  The kicktail provides significant leverage for doing tricks and short slides.

The board was designed as much for performing these kinds of street tricks as for carving around town.  Hence the term “versatile urban explorer”.

The nose kick feels very present under your feet – it feels bigger than it actually is and facilitates manuals and flat top plants.

Some riders even like to dance of the Poke, despite its very short length.  The wide deck and well-designed tails make it fun to dance on it, provided your feet are small enough – and if you’re generally a smaller rider.

Loaded Poke setups

When you purchase a Poke, you can pick from a wide choice of trucks and wheels to mount on the deck.  Loaded, however, suggest two pre-defined setups that typically work very well depending on the kind of riding you plan to do :

Carving-oriented setup

This setup has with Paris V2 150mm (50º) trucks and a set of Orangatang Stimulus 70mm wheels (80A durometer).   At slightly under $300, this setup is focused on smooth turning and a balanced mix of carving and sliding.

The Paris trucks keep the board relatively low, and the soft-ish Orangatangs offer good traction while still letting you break into decent slides.

Orangatang Stimulus 70mm 80A wheels
Stimulus 70mm

This is a good all-around setup for city commuting and some slashing which can handle some speed without issues.

See the Poke setup page on Loaded’s site

Surfskate & pumping setup

This setup includes Carver surf trucks (CX.4 in the front, C2.4 in the rear) and Orangatang 4President 70mm 80A wheels.  It’s pricier at over $350 since Carver trucks are much pricer than the Paris.

Check out the Surf Simulation setup here on Loaded’s website.

This is a “directional” setup due to having the super turny CX truck in the front and a standard, more stable and higher C2 in the back, making switch riding difficult.

Loaded Poke carver setup
Carver setup

Carver trucks, combined with the grippy 4President wheels and high-rebound bushings, make this Poke setup highly pumpable, including from a still start! It ‘s also an extremely agile and responsive setup for super surfy and agile carving.

I’m a big fan of this latter setup and Carver trucks and have always wanted to try them on one of those high end Loaded boards.  The result is incredible: a fast, compact board you can ride by pumping without having to do kick push (assuming you’re riding on a decently smooth surface) and that you can still do kick tricks on! See it here on the Loaded site.

You can fine tune this setup by putting softer bushings in the front than in the rear.  Using double-barrel bushing can add to the overall responsiveness.  Note, however, that this pumping setup does not handle speed as well as the more versatile Paris RKP setup.

Verdict: who’s the Poke for?

Within Loaded’s overall board product line, the Poke is primarily positioned for carving and freestyling, with pumping and sliding as secondary but effective target styles.

To recap, the Poke’s main assets are as follows :

  • High maneuverability and portability for city cruising thanks to its compact shape, lightweight, and good wheel clearance
  • Comfort for longer distance pushing thanks to its wider deck, lower profile, helpful flex, mellow concave and wheel flares for foot lock-in
  • Quality construction and durability due to Loaded’s top workmanship and high-end hybrid material
  • Pumpability and “surfiness”, especially when all of the above is combined with a surf-oriented trucks and wheels
  • Very poppable and kickable due to its relative stiffness, large kicktail, good kick nose, and lightweight

Many Poke riders use if for daily commuting through congested city areas that require a small, portable and agile board easy to get on and off of.

Doing quick slides on the Poke while carving feels very natural – particularly using mixed wheels such as the Stimulus, and 50º trucks.

The Poke, however, is not really a freeride or downhill board due to its short length.  That said, experienced riders can still feel safe on it at speeds up to 25 mph due to the smart concave and rocker.

The Poke gives a very nice feel when riding bowls, whether on a standard carving setup or a more surfy one – though the feeling will be very different between the two.  The ample kick and wheel cutouts, and wide deck with flared contours are a blessing for this type of riding.

The Poke will last forever and can withstand a lot of abuse – even though the fiberglass on the edges might chip a bit from repeated scrapes and bumps.

At under $170 for a standalone deck and starting around $300 for a complete setup on Loaded’s page, the Poke may not be the cheapest cruiser on the market.  But as if you’re looking for a high-quality city cruiser with surprising carving, pumping and freestyle capabilities, it’s definitely worth the price.

16 comments

Hey fellow boardrider, want to post a comment or question? Due to the ever-growing number of comments on this site, I've moved them here:
As always, I try to answer as many of your questions as possible. Since the forum is better organized, other riders may also help answer your questions. You can still post comments here if you want to but from now on, I'll mainly be monitoring the forum. Ride on!

  • I have a slide surf skate and it has really got me fired up on skateboarding again. I just ordered a Loaded Poke with Paris trucks. Is there any reason I shouldn’t try running the Slide trucks on the Poke?

    • Hey Matt, haven’t tried the Slide trucks on the Poke but I would definitely go for it. I myself love my Poke + Carver CX setup, my main setup for surfing and cruising daily. I might just replace the CX with Slide trucks someday as it’s a swing-arm mechanism (unlike the CX) and almost half the price of the C7. Slide’s rear truck works pretty great too. I’d simply look out for wheelbite and add tall enough risers on the Poke as the Slide truck is not as tall as the Carvers. If you haven’t yet see my review of the Slide here in which I compare it with the Carvers.

  • Hi,
    mostly based on your awesome review I got myself a Poke.
    I am new into longboarding but was skateboarding in my teens (so like 25 years ago)
    I was just looking for a board to get to the train station to work and back. Didnt want a real longboard because I want to be able to easily carry it around.
    The main idea behind getting the poke was that I saw a friend of mine pumping with his longboard and got really stoked after some tries.
    Now the question. I got the pumping setup with the carver tracks and am a bit unsure how loose or sturdy I should adjust them. As I said I am new to pumping and have no idea whats better.
    I only got the board yesterday and just starting to practice.
    So any tips on the best setup for pumping for a beginner and perhaps some tips on how to get better?

    • Hey Bernhard, it’s probably easier to start with your front truck set medium loose, too loose may be too twitchy and unstable for learning, but too tight will be harder to gain speed through pumps. The CX are quite stable however, so I would start relatively loose (though not all the way) unlike a Yow or Swelltech which are much looser and much less stable for a beginner. Once you get the hang of it, if you want to practice surf moves you can loosen it more, if on the other hand you want to pump distance then you may tighten it so each pump will get more mileage once you reach some speed. I personally like to tighten it a bit so I can pump for miles comfortably.

      How to get better: it’s important to get the right body motion. At first you may just use your feet (toe-heel pressing) but if you want to have really good pumps, you need to practice swinging your shoulders and hips just like on a surfboard, that will take your pumping to the next level. Check out this section of my surfskate post (this is a link) for more info on riding a surfskate. You can also see this post I wrote on the art of longboard pumping. Hope this helps, aloha!

    • Hey, haven’t tried it but it seems to me the wheels may stick out a lot more with more chance of touching the wheels with your front foot in turns – especially if you have bigger feet since the Poke deck is relatively narrow. But if that’s not an issue for you, larger truck width can give you a nice flowy ride. Just be careful testing, wheel rub can be nasty!

  • Hey Jesse, first of all thx for the amazing reviews you do.
    I have an question about the two trucks for the loaded poke and cant decide which one suits more to my riding style.
    First of all being said i ride for about 15 years skateboard and downhill longboard but now getting older and just want some fun surfing around town but still being able to push and do some simple tricks and maybe surfing in some pool landscapes. So for me it’s importend to have a truck thats being able to push fine aswell as feeling surfy. A truck that i cant push and is only pumpable would not fit that good. And than there are the simple Paris trucks i know from longboarding aswell. Its really hard to decide. Maybe u have an advise.
    Thx and greetings from germany

    • Hey Marco, well the CX trucks are quite tall so you’re riding pretty high above the ground which is not the best for pushing any distance. I mean you can definitely push on it but a lower board would make pushing much more comfortable for sure. I think the Paris are MUCH better for pushing and they’re still very surfy, definitely works for pool. I have the Paris V3 on the Omakase and they’re simply amazing, super smooth and responsive, astonishingly low riding, and I can even pump them a bit, though not like a surf truck. In short, the CX is good if you really want to pump a lot and do specific surf-style maneuvers, but if you need to push a lot while still do quick turns, tricks, and pool, I would definitely go for the Paris (get the V3 if you can). Hope that helps! Jesse

  • I am so into the design of this board and want to pick one up ASAP, but I am not sure which trucks / setup to buy. I mainly would like to use this board for getting around my college campus while also taking me to and from my apartment in the city. I am truly looking to get a nice cruiser out of this board that is easy to maneuver and can honestly handle the surfaces i skate over. I became interested in the surf simulation setup due to the fact that pumping is SO COOL. However, im not sure if it will be worth it to purchase the carvers. I already have a pair of gullwings that i use on a drop through board. any suggestions?

    • Hey, the pumping on the Poke with the Carvers is awesome, I ride it a lot. If you have a pair of sidewinders though, I’m pretty sure it would work as well although I’ve never tried that combo. You can get the Poke deck standalone and give it a shot, you can always get the CX separately later if necessary.

  • Hey Jesse, thanks for the great reviews you do.
    I have a question about bushings for the loaded poke in combination with the c7 trucks. I weight 63 kg and think about orange orangatangs in the front truck and purple bushings in the back. Does it matter anyway? Thanks.

    • Hey, that’s the combination I’m running on my Poke CX, works great for me but I weight 80+kg so your optimal combination may be different (plus you’re running the C7 which is very different), can’t really say what will work best for you though. I received an assortment of Knucle & Nipple bushings from Loaded, haven’t had a chance to test them yet but I’m sure there’s a lot to try out.
      Bushings to matter as hardness will affect the “bounciness” of your ride, something you can tune in addition to your C7 settings.
      Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Aloha!

  • Hi,
    I already commented a year ago and thx to your review and the answers I managed really well with the Poke.
    I use the board for commuting to work and around the city so the Poke fits perfect. I decided to go for the carver trucks because I really wanted to learn pumping and it works like a charm. Was going for 10km without pushing the other day and its just nice.
    Now the question.
    In my way to wokr I have to pass some small hills and I am still struggling with this setup because it doesnt feel this stable at higher speeds. I mostly end up foot braking the whole way down.
    Now I am wondering if a setup with the Paris trucks or for example the Omakase with the paris v3 trucks would make going down these little hills easier. Or what board/setup would you recommend for commuting when its a lot up and downhill. Also the hills are too steep to pump up so when going to work I mostly have to push and not using the benefits of the carver setup I think..

About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

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