The Loaded Tan Tien has earned a lot of respect in the longboarding community over the 10 years since the first version was launched. It’s a highly-regarded mid-sized symmetrical drop-through, carefully engineered for a mix of pushing, hard carving, easy sliding, and performance tricks.
The Tan Tien really is a true all-around board – not a bland “lowest common denominator” type board, but a very assertive and technical one. The board’s size, truck mounts, shape and contours, special flex, and setups, are specifically designed toward very distinctive carving, freeride, and freestyle-focused experiences.
At 39″ in length, the Tan Tien is the Dervish Sama’s (another Loaded legend) little brother, introduced as a response to the need for a more compact and trickable longboard both on flat and hills.
It’s astonishing to see how many riders mention the Tan Tien is still their favorite longboard after many years of riding. They describe it as one of the most comfortable and easiest boards for learning new sliding and freestyle skills. The Tan Tien doesn’t come cheap, but the quality and durability justify the investment.
Loaded Tan Tien: riding experience
The Tan Tien is built for push commuting, carving, pumping, freeride, and freestyle. It’s a low riding board with an amazingly comfortable and secure deck, making it great for pushing, sliding, and kick tricks.
The only thing it doesn’t excel at is downhill, as it can get a bit unstable at very high speeds – something one would expect with such a flexy deck.
The Tan Tien’s drop-through design (trucks mounted across the deck) gives this board great stability and a lower ride height compared to a topmount. The lowered center of gravity makes pushing easier with less strain on the knees.
The deck’s flex (especially the flexier version) also makes the Tan Tien very forgiving and easy to control when carving down hills at higher speeds. It’s also easy to take sideways and performs very nicely on curvy hills.
Tricks like shuvits and ollies are also natural on this board due to a nice sense of control stemming from the relatively short outline (compared to full-sized longboards), the awesome kicks, and the cozy foot lock-in.
Meanwhile, the Tan Tien is still long enough to feel like a “regular” longboard and is extremely comfortable and amazingly smooth to cruise on out of the box – as if already broken in. Carving the front or the back is a treat.
The grip tape (variable in grit) and the flex on the Tan Tien are commonly mentioned as two of the board’s greatest assets which lead to an awesome riding experience.
Tan Tien owners agree its construction (see next section) makes it exceptionally durable – unlike other leading brand’s bamboo decks that end up snapping from riding too hard.
The Tan Tien cruises over rough pavement, pebbles, sand and debris effortelessly. It feels lightweight and solid.
Now let’s take a closer look at deck’s the shape and construction.
Loaded Tan Tien: construction
The Tan Tien has a snowboard-inspired construction with a hybrid mix of vertically laminated bamboo and fiberglass. This combination results in a lightweight (3.1-3.5 lbs), strong yet flexy deck that offers a lively and responsive ride.
The energetic flex is particularly suitable for hard carving and pumping, with the deck generated nice feedback each time you initiate a carve through a heel or toe impulse.
Like many other Loaded models, the Tan Tien comes in three flex options, from stiffest (Flex1) to flexiest (Flex3). Stiffer is better-suited for heavier riders or those doing hardcode kick and flip tricks. Flexier is better for lighter/smaller riders and those looking for a responsive deck for a super carvy and flexy style, including for effective pumping.
As for durability, many Tan Tien owners report still riding their board and enjoying the deck flex after 7-8 years non-stop riding and continuous abuse on it (running the board over, crashing it into obstacles etc).
Loaded Tan Tien: shape & features
As mentioned earlier, the Tan Tien has a classic symmetrical drop-through outline, with accompanying large wheel cutouts for high clearance in deep carves, including with big wheels.
At 39″ by 8.75″, the Tan Tien is relatively compact for a longboard, with a medium-long 27″ wheelbase. The complete weighs around 5 lbs.
What sets the Tan Tien apart from other drop-though twintips, besides the composite material and resulting flex, is the responsive curvatures of the deck.
The Tan Tien deck boasts a cambered profile and mild but complex concave providing that special mix of comfort and high reactiveness for carve and pump-focused riding that you find on many Loaded longboards.
The responsive feel you get from the deck shape and contour gives you a secure feel and extra confidence when doing turns, slides, and tricks. Your feet fit naturally in the reliable concave, which helps keep them in place when digging hard into carves.
Riders also love the 50-grit / 30-grit mixed grip tape, which combines with the concave to lock your feet in for really predictable slides.
The upturned nose and tail kicks encourage advanced freestyle tricks, and enable effective kick turns when riding in tight city streets.
Loaded Tan Tien: setups
The Tan Tien comes in two recommended setups, a carving and pumping-oriented setup and a freestyle and freeride-focused setup.
Both setups include Paris V2 180mm trucks (50º) which are highly responsive, super smooth, and with a relatively low ride height. My personaly experience with the Paris V2 is that they are very fast turning, awesome for carving, and astonishingly good for pumping.
The carving setup includes the Orangatang Stimulus 70mm, large and soft with a 80A duro, providing a balanced mix of grip and slide. The freestyle/freeride setup has the lighter and harder 69mm/86A Kilmer wheels, a slightly better choice for tech tricks and slides.
Some Tan Tien owners like to alternate between RKP trucks for tricks and TKP trucks for hardcore carving.
When riders talks about the Tan Tien, what stands out the most is outstanding build quality – many riders feel no other boards on the market even comes close, including reputable names such as Arbor, Sector 9, Original…
What’s more, many agree the Tan Tien performs better than many other boards, due namely to its advanced layering and flex, highly-engineered deck shape and design, and quality setups.
In short, this is a solid, long-lasting, truly versatile longboard that definitely deserves its high-end price tag. Plus, as you probably know, with Loaded you can always count on great customer service.
(1) Featured image: “Stand Tien” by Fer Vega – Rider: Camilo Cespedes – Courtesy Loaded Boards
(2) Cruise Tien by Fer Vega – Rider: Yahzper Maldonado – Courtesy Loaded Boards
(3) Pop Tien by Fer Vega – Rider: Yahzper Maldonado – Courtesy Loaded Boards