Skateboarding Product Reviews

Element – Michael Mackrodt

I wonder if Trinny and Suzanna from What not to Wear, or the Queer eye for a straight guy team skate..? I mean, the way these people criticise and take apart a person’s identity is pretty on par with any skate forum geek dissecting the latest video part, advert, pro model or bowel movement of skater X or company Y.

I begin this review with such blatant caricatures because I’ve made them myself, lurking behind a dirty keyboard or leaning on a skateshop counter. You can imagine my prejudice when I was sent an Element board for their first European Pro, Michael Mackrodt. The stereotypes flooded out: Element boards are made of cheap foreign wood, European pros suck, Bam Margera… All this criticism had steered my money and attention well away from one of skateboarding’s biggest and most successful companies.

However, I raise my hand and state loud and clear that Michael Mackrodt is a pretty damn good skater with the full capacity to maintain professional status. Just watch his part in Rise Up (the opening section), and you’ll understand why Element chose to pioneer their Euro-Pro team with the young German.

Anyway, the package arrives and at a first glimpse, my misconstrued mind is satisfied by the very uninspired graphics that Element gets slated for. If this was my first board, I’d be pretty pissed if the graphics department delivered a deck with Ralph L-D emblazoned in bold print and the Crossfire Target next to it. I guess it would sell well to the kids who share the name… It turns out Element released two models for Michael, the uninspired one that kids recognize easily on a shop wall, and another with little animals representing the different countries Michael has lived in. So, the choice is available, and there is a reason for the shit graphics. But who cares? It’ll all get scratched off in no time.

Two months down the line and I’m still riding my Element board. Single handedly, this deck has crushed all the stereotypical nonsense I mentioned earlier. The shape is very dapper with a finish only 20 odd years in board construction can teach you (c.f. Paul Schmidtt). The wood is strong and has retained its pop despite the bizarre climate changes that occur nowadays. And the size, 7.8 x 31.5 inches, has re-kindled the sweet relationship I once had with wider boards. If there was one slight area that I would have if I could have changed, I’d have to mention the rather big nose and smaller tail. I reckon a quarter of an inch off the front and added to the back could have had me ringing Michael to congratulate him on a mighty fine board. I don’t speak a word of German though, so this review will have to do.

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Ralph L-D