Z-Flex is a legendary skateboard brand and one of the longest-running skateboarding companies out there. Z-Flex was co-created in Santa Monica in the 1970s by Jay Adams, an iconic skateboarder part of the mythical Dogtown team. The Dogtown and Z-boys, among them skateboarding legends Tony Alava and Stacy Peralta, helped create modern, “vertical” skateboarding through their innovative pool riding involving radical turns and air tricks.
Z-Flex, whose name derived from the Zephyr skateboarding team Adams and the boys had initially formed, pioneered the skateboard industry in many ways and became world-renowned like the team itself.
Aside from Adams’ progressive riding (he passed away in 2014), the company has been very innovative in skateboarding manufacturing. For example, it was the first brand to add concave on top of its decks. Z-Flex is now owned by Absolute, the Australian company that makes the Penny skateboards. It’s still largely run out of California, however.
Z-flex has retained a distinctive retro style with a focus on soul riding, cruising and carving, as well as street surfing and bowl riding. Special attention is always given to creative art and design. The company also markets one of the most responsive, durable, and lightweight trucks on the market, resulting from the assembly of quality specialized parts.
They also produce their own skateboard wheels using their special urethane formula called Abrasion Resistant Z. This allows Z-Flex to provide one of the smoothest wheels in the industry.
In this post, I take a close look at some of the top longboards in the Z-Flex lineup:
- Z-Flex pintail longboard 38″
- Z-Flex mini-pin 32″
- Z-Flex Roundtail 39″
- Z-Flex 27″ cruiser
- Z-Flex 29″ cruiser
- Z-Flex 23″ mini-cruiser
- Z-Flex Jay Adam Pool skateboard
Z-Flex pintail longboard 38″ review
The Z-Flex pintail is a quality-built board that provides a smooth ride, is easy to push, and carves very well. The 9″ width and ample 27″ wheelbase makes for a comfortable foot platform to move on. A 9-ply Canadian maple wood construction results in a deck quite stiff, making the Z-Flex pintail very responsive in turns. The soft bushings, however, soften the ride a bit, providing soft cushioning for a more comfortable ride.
The trucks are Z-Flex 180mm reverse kingpin trucks with a 45º baseplate angle. This is a bit lower than the standard 50º, making this pintail slightly lower to the ground for easier pushing. The slightly degree also makes the board a bit more stable when going faster compared to a standard RKP truck.
The 69mm Z-Flex wheels as soft enough (83A) for comfortable rolling over cracks, yet not too soft (e.g. 78A) as to slow you down. The stock bearings are smooth and keep the wheels rolling for a long time.
The Z-Flex pintail comes in several designs and is priced between under $100 to under $140. Check out the reviews and designs here on Amazon.
Z-Flex Mini Pin 32″ review
The Z-Flex mini-pintail is a more nimble and portable version of the 38″ pintail. Although much shorter (32″ vs 38″), it has the same 9″ width which gives it a much more stubby aspect. The reduced wheelbase makes the mini-pintail even more turny and maneuverable than the pintail but the large width relative to length provides a similar feeling of foot comfort and stability at speed.
The mini-pintail is more portable and lightweight compared to the full-size pintail, as the deck is made from 7 plies of maple (vs 9 for the 38″ version). The mini comes with the same 180mm 45º quality trucks, but with significantly smaller wheels – 63mm vs 69mm in diameter (83A duro) to avoid wheelbite in tight turns on that shorter deck.
The Z-Flex mini-pintail is a good choice if you’re looking for a responsive and portable board to cruise around the beach or on campus while still enjoy the classic pintail surf-style shape. At 32″ in length, it’s only about the size of a street deck and can easily be stashed in a backpack and in a locker.
The 76 number displayed on the bottom of the board reminisces of the company’s iconic starts. Here are two other cool color themes for the Z-Flex mini pintail – click here or on the images below to see the price on Amazon:
An alternative design is the Jungle Acid:
Z-Flex Roundtail 39″ review
The Z-Flex Roundail is 1″ longer and 1/2″ wider than the Z-Flex pintail, with a classic round tail surfboard shape (rounded square in the back). Unlike the pintail, it offers a functional kicktail for improved maneuverability through kick turns and easy hops on and off curbs. In addition, the Roundtail deck has more concave than the relatively flat pintail.
The nose of the Z-Flex Roundtail is rounder and wider than the classic pintail shape. This combined with the bigger deck size and wide kicktail results in a larger foot platform for comfortable commuting and agile sidewalk surfing.
The Roundtail has a similar durable 9-ply deck construction and comes with the same quality components as the pintail: Z-Flex’s agile 180mm RKP 45º trucks and the 69mm 83A wheels built using the Abrasion Resistant Z formula. Like the pintail (and mini), the Roundtail has sanded wheel wells designed to maximize maneuverability and turn without suffering wheelbite.
In short, while the Roundtail is also inspired by the classic Z lifestyle mixing surf and skate, the kicktail, extra foot space, and extra concave make it more kickable and maneuverable for carving and commuting over longer distances.
Check out the Roundtail Prawn Cocktail design, or these two other designs:
Z-Flex 27″ cruiser review
Z-Flex’s little cruiser is a nimble, retro-styled 27″ x 7.785″ little guy with a 15.25″ wheelbase. It boasts a relatively stiff 7-ply deck for fast commuting and riding skatepark.
The Z-Flex 27″ cruiser is comfortable and fun for cruising sidewalks and city commuting. It’s also a capable board for throwing kickflips and ollies and hopping over obstacles and on/off curbs due to the mellow concave and the functional kicktail.
This Z-Flex cruiser comes with quality 125mm Z-Flex trucks fitted with 90A soft cushions bushings, which offer a very smooth ride. The 60mm wheels are hard enough (90A) for some serious tricks and slides. Since they are quite big relative to deck size, the deck is elevated using 14mm riser pads to allow tight carves without risking wheel rub.
In short, this cruiser is designed as much for nimble and portable urban commuting as for ramps and bowls at the skatepark. Click on the images below to check out each of these designs on Amazon:
Z-Flex 29″ cruiser review
The Z-Flex 29″ cruiser (actually 29.5″ long) has a narrower shape than the 27″ cruiser, with width 7.5″ (vs 7.785″). It has the same 7.5″ wheelbase, however, in spite of the extra 2.5″ in length. This allows the 29 to offer a bigger and wider nose and a more pronounced kicktail compared to its shorter brother.
The 29 cruiser is still shorter than most regular street decks, so it’s also very easy to carry around in a backpack. It offers a bit larger foot platform than the 27″ – this, combined with the spacier nose and larger kick, can make it a better choice for a bigger rider with larger feet.
The Z-Flex cruiser 29 comes with the same 5″ trucks and 60mm 90A wheels as the shorter version and is also fitted with the 14mm rider blocks for wheel clearance when doing deep carving and street/park tricks.
Check out the Z-Flex 29″ cruiser colors and prices on Amazon:
Z-Flex 23″ Mini Cruiser review
This 23″ x 7″ mini-cruiser (Jay Adams teal and black theme) is a Penny board sized, ultraportable version of the above cruisers! It offers a very solid deck with a tiny 12.5″ wheelbase, and comes equipped with the same quality of components as larger Z-Flex boards – 127mm trucks and 63mm 87A wheels.
This very small board offers greater quality than competing mini-cruisers and is stiffer than a Penny board. You can easily adjust the ride height to your liking by changing the risers and improve rolling speed by swapping the bearings for faster ones. Check out this cruiser’s pricing on Amazon.
Z-Flex Jay Adams Pool skateboard
The last Z-Flex longboard I’ll look at here is a so-called hybrid board. Hybrids are longboard primarily designed for street, pool, and skatepark riding. They look a lot like traditional street skateboards but are typically a bit larger with bigger trucks and wheels to also allow for comfortable cruising and street surfing.
The Z-Flex pool skateboard is such a hybrid, with its 32″ length (like a skateboard) by 9.5″ width (wider than a regular street deck) and 15.25″ wheelbase (longer than most street decks). With its large double kicks, this board looks like an oversized street skateboard:
The Z-Flex pool board is built for skating verts, pools, and transitions, with a stiff 7-ply maple deck. It comes with relatively small (58mm) and hard 97A wheels best-suited for street, slide, and jump tricks, and 6.25″ Z-Flex trucks designed for street riding.
The 9.5″ wide shape the Z-Flex pool board uses was pioneered by Jay Adams himself – this board is now made in his memory, with a metal flake finish reminiscent of his youth.
If you’re into pool surfing or like to mix in street -style tricks with your daily cruising and commuting, this Z-Flex hybrid longboard is a great option – check out its price on Amazon.