I'm your Venus..........
14. May 2014 16:05
I got the chance to try
out the Crazy Skates DBX4 package recently, I'd been thinking about a
new set up and was about to mount an Arius on my Bonts but then I had
a chat with Crazy Skates and thought I'd give this a go first. I had
been skating on a Bont Hybrid Carbon boot with Mag Avenger plate for
about 18 months but I’d been feeling like I needed a change and I'd
had skaters ask me about the Venus so the timing was perfect. For
some reason, I find choosing my own kit much more difficult that
helping someone else get what is right for them.
My Bont setup minus a few tweaks
I'd read a little about the Venus before I got it and I tried not to focus on the aesthetics, yes the Venus comes in loads of fun colours but I really wanted to know what it felt like to skate. I went with the DBX4 boot which is fully heat-mouldable, choosing the Support cut which sits slightly higher on the ankle and better holds the heel in place, a Red standard mounted Venus plate and the full range of toe stops (Arrow, Bounce, Big Bloc, Lil' Bloc) plus some Crazy Control wheels in a 90a. Whilst the Venus comes with 3 sets of cushions already, I also got my hands on a set of the High Rebound agility cushions as I'd heard they were super bouncy which sounded like fun.
It's fair to say, that when my skates arrived I may have been a little over eager and put them on in the shop straight away. I had a little skate around but it was busy and I didn’t fancy running over any customers so I wore my new skates to practice that night and was impressed that even without moulding the boots seemed to fit really well- I was expecting some rubbing or pinching but apart from my little toe which sticks out anyway they caused me no hassle at all. If anything, having been so used to lacing my Bonts super tight around my foot and wearing extra ankle straps to keep them in place it seemed really weird to put on a boot and do it up so easily, the extra wide ankle strap and toe strap really helped keep my foot in the right place without feeling like I had lost any movement or flexibility.
Day one- I posted this photo online within minutes of opening the box!
I had already decided to try out the agility cushions as I had soft cushions in my Avenger so I figured it wouldn’t make much difference. I couldn't have been more wrong! The cushions on a Venus are a slightly different design from normal and completely wrap around the kingpin to give you the full benefit from your movements. I normally have my trucks quite loose so tried to mirror that with my new set up- needless to say I spent a LOT of time on the floor, because of the additional movement in the cushions. I really didn’t need super loose trucks (I was managing to touch my toe stop with my wheels to begin with!) I made a lot of tweaks in that first session, adjusting my trucks to the right position and getting used to the change in movement whilst picking myself up off the floor every time something unexpected happened- maybe going straight into scrimmaging wasn't the most sensible idea but it certainly helped me test them out- bear in mind that at this point I was trying to do everything I do normally but with a completely new setup- I always have liked a challenge!
The Venus is a 20 degree plate, styled on a Roll-Line but with 8mm axles and a lower price it is more accessible to most skaters and I've certainly seen more of them going out of the door in the past few months. If you read the marketing, Crazy make a point of saying that it is a responsive plate, not reactive and I'd have to agree, when I first tried out the Venus I spent a week making tweaks and fine tuning the set-up to suit me but during that time, practice is hard and with a bout against Tiger Bay looming on the horizon I switched back to my Bont/Avenger set up so that I could train with some consistency (I like to use new skates for more than a week before bouting in them!) With that out of the way but a busy bouting schedule ahead, I went back to the Crazy Skates with the intention of giving them a really good run, I swapped the wheels out for my 'go-to' set up and settled on the Big Bloc toe stop as it was closest the the Bionic Super stopper that I had been using previously.
Fast forward a few months to last weekend where I played my first bout with this set-up, with no further tweaking made. I had been training in them for a while and felt confident that they would perform and respond in the way I wanted. The DBX boot fits my foot perfectly and feels like a slipper, at some point I may even get round to heat moulding it for that added edge but they already feel super comfy. The biggest difference for me is in the Venus plate which truly is excellent-it took a little getting used to but I can really feel how it responds to the little movements in my feet or changes in my weight distribution. Now they feel like a part of me- as the kind of skater that likes to think about where my feet are and where force is applied I find this really helpful in refining my skills. My edge work has improved as has my control, I even feel more agile and nimble on my feet and my laterals are stronger on my 'bad' side. In the past month or so, something else has happened too- other people have pointed out improvements in my skating. Whilst I would love to think that this is purely because I've got better but I cant help but notice that it coincides with me getting my new skates too. It may be a matter of confidence, comfort or the hard work I've been putting in but I do feel as if this new set up has allowed me to do things where I may have been restricted before. I am a firm believer that skates don’t make the skater, but there is a lot to be said for having a set of skates that are in tune with you. I've been working hard on my personal skills, but I don’t feel as if I have to work to get my skates to respond to me, if anything skating feels more natural now than ever and whilst I will always try out new kit I think this is a set-up I will be sticking with for some time. Would I change anything about my skates? Yes, but only for vanity reasons as Crazy Skates do a brilliant customisation option called DNA and I do miss having red skates on my feet...
Crazy Skates products, including the Venus plate are available at www.skatehut.co.uk