Review: Madrid Nessie downhill skateboard deck
Madrid has been at the drawing board once again and this time they’ve come up with a big hill freeride and back alley shredder deck as a part of their Madrid Mountain Legends line. The Madrid Nessie takes your standard downhill board with a kicktail and adds a bit of extra flare into the mix. The board is 38.25” long by 9.5” wide with a fairly square profile that comes to a blunt tip at the nose. Some of the fancy bits include CNC wheel wells and flush mount, wheel well flares, 3/4” of rocker, “power orbs” which I’ll explain in a second, a kicktail, two wheelbase options (23.5” to 24.5”) and a burly construction of 8 ply maple with a glossy formica top.
The concave on this deck is unlike anything I’ve really seen to date. The most prominent feature is the “power orbs.” It is essentially an abbreviated W-concave at the front and back of the board that lines up directly with the instep of your foot. They seem pretty small, but they play an important role in keeping your feet locked in. With the front of my foot pushed up against the wheel well flare, the insteps of my feet over the power orbs, and the extra comfort from the 3/4” rocker, my feet feel well secured. The concave does not feel very aggressive so it may not be for everyone, but it does a great job of keeping your feet in place and gives your feet a lot of reference points on the deck. This innovative concave will keep you sure-footed while still allowing you to ollie and move your feet around on the deck without things getting in the way.
Another important feature to note on this deck is the overall size and wheelbase. I’m learning to love smaller wheelbases more and more (I’ve been riding the 23.5” option), but I know that not everyone does. The boards length and wheelbase make for a very agile ride, which could feel twitchy at higher speeds if you’re not used to it. That being said, this might not be a go-to downhill board for everyone, but the small size makes it great for whipping around during freeriding as well as street and park skating.
Another bit that makes for awesome freeriding is the combination of the rocker and CNC flush mount, which combine to create a nice low standing platform. This puts your weight closer to the turning point in your trucks and makes for great board control at any speed. The top layer of formica also adds some vibration dampening and stiffness when you’re sliding or on choppy pavement. All these features along with the concave made me feel very confident freeriding at high speeds on this board.
That leads me to my next topic: how I rode the board. My setup was mainly 50° Calibers with Riptide APS bushings and a bunch of different wheels—mostly 65-70mm to keep the whole setup a bit lighter and more nimble. This board was a great go-to deck for skating hills and then hitting up the local skatepark afterwards. The short wheelbase and deck kept made for a lively ride and made it really easy to throw slides on. Ollie up a curb, boneless 180 off, switch bomb down your favorite run. When I got tired of tucking and sliding I would skate over to the local park and ride the halfpipe, ledges, and funbox. For how flat the kicktail is, it provides surprising amount of pop which makes ollieing this 8 ply maple beast that much easier. The overall size and weight of the deck make it difficult to do some flip tricks on, but you can learn to adjust to it.
There are some things I think could be improved on. First, I wish that the kicktail had a bit more concave to it. When I first started riding it, my foot would sometimes slip off the back because I wasn’t used to the deck’s length. This is an easy fix. I just layered some extra griptape around the edges for a bit more concave back there. The other negative bit about this board is that the wheel flares seem to be a bit fragile. I managed to take two small chips out of the bottom ply with a hard hit to the sidewall while at the skatepark. The rest of the boards construction does seem to hold up to some serious abuse. I put a decent ding in the tail after my board got away from me downhill, but it shows no sign of delam or further damage, which I was surprised at.
Overall, I give this board a thumbs up. Highly recommended to city skaters looking for a responsive board to bomb hills and slash sidewalks and alleys on or to downhill skaters who want a premium deck to mess around on between hill runs. For a directional topmount deck, it is surprisingly versatile. Freeride to your heart’s content on the Madrid Nessie. Take full advantage of the decks features and continue to blur the line between “longboarding” and “skateboarding;” we all know they’re really the same thing.