We’ve had nothing but rave reviews since releasing the first lineup of Moonshine MFG boards a little more than a year ago. These reviews have piled up and are overwhelmingly positive. The consensus is, Moonshine boards are absolutely top-notch in all categories, from graphics and visual appeal to materials, construction techniques, durability and last but certainly not least, performance.
Here’s a great breakdown of two of our cornerstone boards, the Hooch and the Rum Runner, from the well-regarded folks over at Silverfish Longboarding.com.
Budget boards are the life blood of the downhill skating world. We know that decks sell for pocket change from your local mall “skate store”, but what is one skater to do if they’re looking for something more? Something different from the standard, 7-8-9 ply maple layup? Sure it’s tried and true, but room for innovation is what makes our sport grow.
We here at Silverfish try to follow these innovative crafters with hope that they’re doing something right, pushing skating further, and changing how we have fun. We’ve seen plenty of gimmick-y garbage roll through the downhill world in the last few years.
So who’s next in terms of doing something outside the norm? Moonshine MFG sent us some new gear that we went down hills on to see how it fares. We got a couple of decks and sets of wheels from the Washington-based company to shred, and shredding was done! Here’s what we got from sessioning the gear.
Setup as tested
Wheelbase: 23.5”, 24.25”, 25”, 25.75”, 26.5”
Trucks: Randal RII 50*
Wheels: Moonshine MFG Slips, Venom Cannibals
Wheelbase: 23.5”, 24.25”, 25”, 25.75”
We got the gear all in a big box from Moonshine. We got two decks from Moonshine – the Rum Runner and the Hooch. The boards were visually appealing with awesome, top notch graphics on the bottoms. Seriously, some of the finest we’ve seen. Whatever the process which Moonshine is using to apply graphics, it’s great.
The decks themselves are something not typically seen in the downhill world: vertically laminated. The decks feature, rather than the industry standard sandwiched plys, a layup featuring grains running length-wise throughout the deck.
Also a feature we’re not used to seeing: urethane wrapped rails. This makes for impact resistance and a little more peace of mind that your runaway deck isn’t done for when it finds a curb. The Rum Runner actually features urethane inserts into the layup where the trucks mount, making for better vibration dampening.
Both decks feature flares over the wheels, but they’re slightly different animals. The Hooch is more on the hefty side of the concave spectrum, whereas the Rum Runner runs right about in the middle of the concave world. On both boards, the flares are placed so as to engage the rider’s feet but not force one to stand on them all of the time. More than anything, our toes are sitting on the flares, and our heels are sitting just to the inside of them. This is how we like to see them placed. If they’re any narrower, we feel like we’re just sitting on too harsh of concave.
The Hooch features a kick tail which is certainly far from a traditional kick, but we’re willing to wait it out and see how it performs when out riding. The Rum Runner appears to be more straightforward, more designed for slaying hills and railing corners. Both of the decks are finished immaculately, so needless to say we were ready to mount up and get skating.
The decks were brought to our local freeride spot. The hill is a fun, dusty little ride with a fun left hander and little traffic. We rode the Hooch with the Slide wheels and the Rum Runner with the Grip wheels. Right off the bat, the Hooch was the right feeling setup for the hill. The Slide wheels REALLY slide well (it’d be a real shame if they didn’t, with that name). We’re always a little wary of black dyed freeride wheels, maybe a little irrationally, but we’ve seen some particularly icy ones in the past and were quite excited to get over our color voodoo beliefs with the Moonshine MFG Slide wheels. They’re smooth, predictable, with an easy kick out. The Hooch was a ball. We made use of banked walls on the side of the hill with the kick tail. It proved to be far more functional than we expected. The Hooch is far from a park deck, but the tail proved useful enough to utilize when putting around on the hill.
The Hooch, even on the longest wheelbase, still had a useful kicktail on the end of the deck. When moved to the shortest wheelbase, things got even more fun. The board got pop-able into ollies and other tricks. Popping 180s into practicing our switch slides was a joy. With the steeper concave we felt very much locked in and in touch with the deck. The Hooch took pretty much everything we hurled at it and came back for more.
The Rum Runner set up with the Grip wheels really wasn’t best suited for this spot. It wasn’t fast enough or long enough to fully be enjoyed with wheels we’d mounted up. We did a couple big Coleman slides to see how they held up sideways, and we weren’t too surprised to find they gripped hard and long. Seeing as we were at a freeride spot, we mounted up what was left of our Cadillac Swingers and got sideways. The Rum Runner’s slightly more relaxed concave was still fulfilling. The lack of a kick tail didn’t let us down, as the board was still more than useful for sliding.
All that freeriding done, it was time to head out to the fast hills to send it. We took the gear from Moonshine MFG out to a nice long downhill spot for gripping and going as fast as one can. We put Moonshine’s Grip wheels back on the Rum Runner and threw some Venom Cannibals onto the Hooch. The boards handled going fast as best as any board can. The Hooch’s maximum wheelbase is 25.75” and the Rum Runner comes in at 26.5” for longest wheelbase, so both clearly are not the boat-y feeling speedboards of our fore-skaters. We tucked down our speed run as fast as we could as many times as we could before our legs got too shot.
The Rum Runner did not disappoint with its slight vibration dampening ride due to the urethane inserts. We didn’t notice is too much when freeriding, but when riding a faster road with more interruptions in pavement quality, it came to be far more forgiving. The board’s torsional flex was minimal at best, with highly responsive reactions when pressure was applied going through corners.
The Rum Runner could do the fast thing too. The board was stiff and obedient under our feet while flying through sweepers. The stiffer concave on the Rum Runner wasn’t any more effective than the Rum Runner’s when in a tuck, but regardless we felt locked in going fast on both. Also, hell yes we did stupid long manuals into the downhill run in our leathers, shamelessly.
Contact Patch: 35mm
Bearing placement: Centerset
The Grip wheels began to come to life when going fast. The small core coupled with thin lips on the outside meant for wheels that lived to dig into the pavement, despite how far we leaned off the board. They felt gummy and rolled smooth down the hill. Acceleration was effortless and we felt them digging into the sweepers like we’d look for from any good downhill wheel.
Contact Patch: 55mm
Bearing placement: Offset
They’re two very different decks, clearly. Also, two very, very different sets of wheels. So we’ll cut through them individually to make it logical.
We’re partial to steeper, gnarlier concave, and the Hooch delivered in this aspect. We would have liked to see a very mild W-concave in the board. Yes, we realize there’s already quite a bit going on in this mold, but this is the Silverfish Consortium Reviews and we’re allowed to be crotchety. Honestly, we don’t have much to say about the Hooch in terms of negative…this deck ruled.
The Rum Runner’s concave was not the concave for our riders. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not for you. If you are into hanging your feet off the rails of the boards, the Rum Runner will feel like a dream to you. Again, we could deal to see with a little W-concave to lock in toeside predrifts, but overall we can’t complain much about this very awesome board. We expect a board with the concave from the Rum Runner, with the mellow kicktail of the Hooch would be pretty rad.
Above all though, the boards deliver on their promises. They do what they’re intended for very well, and we have to applaud Moonshine MFG for doing them well.
The Grip wheels, which obviously are about the most dead-on named wheels in the universe, definitely do grip. 5 years ago, we would have been satisfied with this. However, in this day and age where we can buy wheels that grip hard and also have a predictable and smooth breakout into a slide, the Grip wheels just worked hard on the gripping part. Predrifts felt choppy unless we were really maintaining our form perfectly. Also, we’re about 99% sure we’ve seen this wheel mold/core combination all over the market before.
The Slide wheels were the better of the two from Moonshine MFG. Despite, again, a similar mold/core combination to what we’ve seen on the market previously, we haven’t felt a freeride wheel quite like this before. Maybe the urethane is slightly different, maybe our potentially groundless fear of black dyed freeride wheels has lifted, but we were very much stoked on the Slide wheels from Moonshine. We can absolutely see ourselves ripping these wheels down to the core.
So we’ve talked it all up, we’ve tore it all down. At the end of the day? The folks over at Moonshine MFG are creating boards for, frankly, a very diverse portion of the skating market with just these two boards. The urethane rail wraps and vertical lamination aren’t match on the market now a days. The guys at Moonshine stand behind their product, and they’ve got a lot of reason to do so.
The Rum Runner slays hills and looks good doing it. Tons of real estate to stand on pleases our feet, and with just mellow enough concave to wrap our heels around, it will be sure to keep plenty of skaters out there stoked.
The Hooch is an absolute winner for us. The steep concave and kicktail combination is a freeride dream, while still being versatile enough to go really fast on. Seriously, this deck is one of the finest we’ve skated.
We very much look forward to the things coming from Moonshine MFG in the future. Since receiving the products for review, we’ve seen two more models come up on their site, a drop through board called the County Line, and an oversized double kick called the Firewater. Not to mention a carbon version of the Rum Runner (!!!) which we’d love to thrash.
We see a bright, exciting future for Moonshine MFG. We’re impressed so far, and eager to see more.