Oh yes, 3D concave, an invention that we downhill skaters and freeriders have come to know and love. Some of y'all don't know what 3D concave is. So we'll explain! 3D concave is aftermarket concave shaping made by adding implants underneath the board's griptape. These implants give shape to the boards surface and can be used for many purposes such as reference points on the board or for pockets to dig into on the board for your tuck or for slides. 3D concave really is a fantastic thing.
When creating 3D concave people most often use Vicious Griptape. They stack the grip on top of itself building up a mound. This is due to vicious's fantastic ability to stick to other griptape. Although this system of buying an extra pack of vicious to put under the grip you are about to apply is effective, comfortable, and popular, I believe there are better, more cost effective ways out there.
From my experience the mystical, magical roll of duct tape can make a very, very nice 3D concave. This is probably one of my favorite methods because duct tape is everywhere. If you do not have duct tape, any other adhesive tape will do the trick but keep in mind that the flexibility of the tape has a direct correlation with the softness of the concave. Duct tape provides a firm concave which is very similar to the feeling of vicious. It is also applied the same exact way. Start off with a wide base in the shape of your choice and start adding tape to it. This will slowly build up a mound in the desired shape which in turn becomes your 3D concave!
Duct Tape works for everything!
For those of you who missed out on childhood, sculpey is a flexible plastic like modeling clay that is baked in the oven and hardened into a solid durable product: Perfect for a hard 3D concave. Another great thing about sculpey is that you can shape it perfectly to any weird shapes you want that you otherwise wouldn't be able to make with just duct tape or vicious. This is perfect for those weird spots like if you want to make a toe stop around your front truck.
Sculpey Clay - Oven bake clay
Another great thing for these spots is Sugru. Sugru is an air curing rubber compound that can be molded and shaped, but once it is exposed to air for 24 hours, it turns into a hard rubber. It is a little softer than sculpey and about the same hardness as an 86a Orangatang wheel (or there about). It too is perfect for those weird spots because of its malleability and its ability to dry in the open. Also, there is no need for baking it - so you know it's just the right size and shape for what you want! Another great thing about Sugru is that you can use it as a nose guard on all your boards to protect against impacts. Although it comes off your board when you curb it, it will surely save your board at least once!
Finally, the weirdest concave of all, the "yoga cave". Inspired by the far east and steeped in ancient tradition, the yoga concave is one of the best kept secrets of the Ming Dynasty. For only $9 at Ross or even less at your local Goodwill, a yoga mat will provide enough material for 3D concave for your boards forever! It provides a VERY soft concave and that is something not all people enjoy, but if you do (like me) oh boy are you in luck! Just like Vicious tape you simply cut it to the shape you desire, start with a wide base and get narrower as you go up. Yoga mat is about 1/8 of an inch thick so you don't need very much at all. Two to three layers will do just fine. If you really want to be fancy you can sand down the edges of the mat blending the layers together to make a smooth transition from the board to the next layer, to the next layer. The yoga mat is a great concave for those freeriders out there who enjoy w for digging in on certain slides but not other. This is due to the yoga mats ability deform and squish.
Stacking yoga mats to create W-Concave
Whether you decide to go the traditional route and buy Vicious or stray off the beaten track and experiment with other, cheaper, more readily available alternatives 3D concave, there is something for all riders. We encourage you to give it a shot, even if only remotely interested. The feeling of having a completely customized board perfectly suited to you is awesome. Go out, skate safe, have fun, and stay STOKED!
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