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.
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.
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″.
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 and transition from rail to rail.
The mellow concave 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.
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
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.
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
Check out the Surf Simulation setup here on Loaded’s website.
This is a “directional” setup due to having the super
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
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.
Also check out my review of the 34″ Loaded Chinchiller, a symmetrical and flexier carving and pumping board with a very different feel than the Poke
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
Appreciate this and all your other reviews!
I've never skateboarded before, but am looking to pick something up for pure cruising and carving. Where I live it's somewhat hilly and the pavement/sidewalks can get rough from frigid winters. I'm 5'5/140lbs.
I've been looking at the Poke as a great option, though curious how you think it'd be for an absolute beginner versus something like the Coyote or a Landyachtz Tugboat. In either, I'd be looking to go with the wider and shorter trucks for more stability and ease of pushing.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
Hey, the Poke is definitely possible for a beginner but be aware it's got quite a pronounced concave and curved contour. This is meant for solid foot lock-in for speed and tech sliding and it might feel a bit uncomfortable for a beginner (it did for me at first). The Coyote or Tugboat is a good option if you want something compact, otherwise you might consider the new Chinchiller - awesome versatile beginner board albeit a bit bigger and pricier. Of course there are tons of other options, it all depends on what you see yourself doing with the board in the future. Ride on!
Saturday 24th of July 2021
I’m hoping you can help point me in the right direction. I am in between the loaded Vanguard, Icarus, and Poke.
My current ride: Landyachtz dinghy Knockoff penny board
My riding style: I run around my local city and parking garages. I do very tight and technical carving around people, sidewalks, etc. on both the penny and dinghy, I love carving hard enough to feel those back flirt with the edge of loosing traction. The issue is my riding is lower speed. I cant bomb the parking garages or streets around here. This means that most longboards don’t really get into their element because they excel at higher speeds.
I originally was looking at the vanguard and icarus. The icarus looked more snappy to me, but the vanguard is a top mount which could lead to more leverage over the trucks, but then I worried that they might be too long/big for the lower speed maneuverability and riding — so I threw the poke into the mix.
The flex of the other two boards is appealing, but I’ve seen people do some pretty crazy things on the poke as well.
Appreciate your help!!! Thanks.
Tuesday 27th of July 2021
I asked Loaded and here's their answer:
It sounds like you have a couple driving priorities: agility and slide control.
The Poke would be the best option in terms of agility and can slide easily thanks to the kicktail. But it might be too similar to your current quiver if you're looking to diversify a bit more.
Between the Vanguard and Icarus I'd definitely lean toward the Icarus for you. The Vanguard has a much longer wheelbase and is top mount, so it'll be a lot more stable (read: less agile) and more on the grippy side. The Icarus is easier to kick out into slides thanks to the drop-through mounting and the flared wheel wells, and the turning can be tuned for quicker response and edge-to-edge transitions using bushings like Orangatang Knuckles.
Alternatively, if you're really interested in longer, symmetrical shapes and like the slide factor, I'd argue the Tan Tien might be better suited to your needs than either the Vanguard or Icarus. It's drop-through for easy access to drifting, and it also has the shortest wheelbase and definitely feels more agile and aggressive when ridden with a loose truck setup and slide-friendly wheels.
Monday 21st of June 2021
appreciate a lot your reviews, thanks for that!
I would like to make a Surfskate out of the Omakase or the Poke. I don't know which one of those would be better for that. I am a short rider 5.5 and I would love to have the best surfing experience but still enjoy during short commuting.
Thank you a lot
Monday 21st of June 2021
Hey, both the Omakase and the Poke can work as surfskates but to me, the Omakase is great as it's nearly 1 inch wider and 1 inch shorter. The Omakase also has a more subtle concave compared to the Poke, bringing it closer to a normal surfskate deck - flatter concave gives you more freedom to move your feet around when surf carving and pumping. I ride the Omakase with Carver CX trucks (click "Build + buy" button) all the time and I really love it. That and the Coyote too. HTH
Marc Antoine Boudreau
Tuesday 30th of March 2021
Good for pumptrack or too long?
Friday 2nd of April 2021
AFAIK I'd probably choose the Omakase for the pumptrack
Thursday 10th of September 2020
I love this board. I use it mostly for downhill freeriding, but also a lot just carving and exploring. I use the paris 50* 180 trucks and depending on what I want to do, its just a matter of simple equipment changes. For downhill and freeriding days, I throw on my otang cage wheels or stimulus or even my lil hoots, tighten the trucks just a little, with the back being a little tighter. For carving and dancing and grooving days, I loosen those trucks, throw on some otang stims, or a nice grippy and offset wheel, change the bushings and go. While it may sound like a lot of work to change out wheels and bushings, keep this in my mind. I take my components apart almost every day anyway to clean everything. Minus the bearings. I only clean those as needed. I like to wake up to a fresh deck and create the set up I want for the day.