Aili/Papa Longboards

longboardour matching longboards made from vintage water skis

Over the weekend my 14 year old daughter and I made matching longboard skateboards from a pair of vintage Riviera water skis we found in the barn. At about 49″ long and just under 6″ wide, the mahogany skis make wonderful, if somewhat narrow decks. We experimented with different truck configurations to test their performance, outfitting one with 169 mm Independent Trucks, and the other with 149 mm Krux. Both boards have soft OJ3 wheels for traction and low vibration. Aili thought the old school, translucent purple would offset the deck’s deep red and creamy white stripes.

After our initial test rides, the wider trucks on Aili’s board performed better, carving tighter turns with more stability. I kind of prefer the look of the narrower Krux on my board, but may swap them out for a more practical ride. The curved nose of the ski makes a great kick tail. I’ve seen longboarders ride with a forward kick, making sharp turns under speed by rocking in a crouch on the front wheels and pivoting the rear of the board by reaching back and sliding it sideways. It seems using narrower trucks might require harder wheels for the slide (and more agility than I currently have).

waterski longboard

7 replies on “Aili/Papa Longboards”

  1. oh not what I meant. I meant the distance from center of front wheel to center of the back wheel. I’m making my own and just wondering what a good wheel base distance is. I got a nice solid wood ski with a laminated tongue that i re-shaped and shortened a bit to 49″. right now i’m working with some funky little “GT” trucks and the orig. “GT” 2-1/4″ wide wheels. all total width of wheels is about 6-1/4″, and deck is 6-1/4″ wide. just a retro inspired board. what do you think, with your experience, would be the better set up, and would the narrower wheel stance be a burden, and or risk?
    by the way i dig the old pinstripe style to the boards you have. i plan on striping my board to resemble an old surf board. I bet those are fun.

  2. I have a set of the vintage Riviera skis in great condition…and was wondering if you would be interested in purchasing, or if ylu had any idea what skis like that in good condition sell for.

    Thanks

  3. Hey Jonathon- I am not really interested in purchasing the skis, and I’m not sure what their value is. I found mine. I recommend checking on ebay, but otherwise, just set the price at what you’d like to make to see what the market will bear.

    Also, Hey Zack- Sorry I never got back to you. I just saw your note for the first time. I will measure my wheel base and report back. In general, I try to keep it short enough to carve, but long enough for stability under speed. It’s a combination of deck shape/camber and intended riding style.

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