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Loaded Sama vs Tan Tien vs Tesseract For Carving Downhill?

One of our readers asked a very good question about choosing the best Loaded longboard for freeriding with a focus on downhill carving (vs hard sliding). We brought up the question with Loaded. As always, Kyle provided a super comprehensive and in-depth answer.

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Rider question: which Loaded longboard to choose for downhill carving?

I’ve been skating for about 3 months, mostly on the Dervish Sama and Arbor Pilsner. I find myself most often on metro Atlanta hills last keep me at 20 mph at most. The Sama is fine, but I’m strongly considering a Tesseract or another freeride board.

I’m 5’10”, ~155lb, size 10.5 feet. I have no real interest in full downhill riding, but I do LOVE going down hills.

I’m learning to slide and carve downhills and have now, after 3 months, learned that it’s my favorite part of skating. I think this is considered freeriding. I have very little interest in tricks for this board, though I might learn them one day.

Knowing my goals, style preference, and size, I’m willing to spend up to $450 on the “best” possible freeriding board.

Where I live, there are a lot of short but steep hills and longer declines. I have zero interest in bombings hills, but LOVE learning how to carve. I’m still new at it.

I also like soft sliding and am only just learning that there is a difference between hard sliding downhill and “soft” sliding where I can just push the tail out for speed control.

My question is about speed control. I want to keep doing hills, but I currently end up bailing quickly because I can’t really carving hard enough to slow myself down at all.

I also don’t yet have the skills to soft slide and reduce speed. Either way, I would like to slide or carve enough to foot brake – or even hard slide, when I eventually gain that experience.

I currently own a Dervish Sama and have the opportunity to trade for a Vanguard, Tan Tien, Icarus, or even a Basalt Tesseract.

Since I am not trying to downhill bomb or even go super fast downhill, should I rule out the Tesseract, or do you think it can still serve to carve and soft slide effectively enough to slow myself down?

Alternatively, would you suggest going with the Vanguard, Icarus, or Tan Tien? Maybe the difference there is minimal?

I can’t tell how much of my struggles are related to skill and experience rather than the board itself. Do you think the Sama is just always going to be harder to carve or soft slide than the Vanguard, Tan Tien, or Icarus?

I have zero interest in ever dancing or even doing freestyle tricks, so are the other boards better for me? The stability is amazing on the Sama, but I think I’ve become good enough to do with less stability if it means better speed control.

Loaded’s reply: Sama, Tan Tien, or Tesseract?

The Dervish Sama will definitely provide a relatively stable ride due to the long wheelbase and drop-through truck mounting. That same long wheelbase, however, will also tend to make it more difficult to carve very tight turns and to push the back wheels into a slide.

If you’re not looking to book it down a hill at higher speeds and you’re having difficulty carving and sliding to control your pace, opting for a board with a shorter wheelbase may be helpful.

A shorter wheelbase allows for tighter turns and more control over back-wheel drifting due to the more direct leverage from the back foot. The trade-off, of course, is (typically) reduced stability if you don’t carve and/or slide often enough to keep your speed where you want for that particular gradient.

Of the four options you mentioned, the Tan Tien would provide improved turning agility, thanks to the shorter wheelbase compared to the Dervish Sama, and good ease of sliding, thanks to the drop-through mounting, for the riding style described.

The Basalt Tesseract, interestingly, could actually move the performance in either direction; the stiffness and ergonomics yield greater stability and control at higher speeds, but as a topmount with shorter wheelbase options (24.5-26″ compared to 27″ on the Tan Tien) it also has greater turning leverage and could be set up for lower-speed carving and sliding by equipping softer, less-restrictive bushings and slide-friendly wheels.

The choice here would come down to whether you want to retain the flexy drop-through carving ride experience similar to the Dervish Sama or if you want to mix it up with a stiffer, more gravity-oriented type of board.

The advantage to going with the Basalt Tesseract is that its versatile design could allow it to serve double duty as both an agile topmount carving setup – using softer bushings and the shorter 24.5″ wheelbase – and also as a stable downhill-capable setup – using firmer and/or more restrictive bushings and/or the longer 26″ wheelbase.