Nath's Blade Set-up Series: Matt Smith
What skates are you riding at the moment?
Valo V13 David Sizemores
You rode Xsjado skates for a long time, how different are your new skates?
Really different. I loved my Xsjados, not so much for the way they looked, but the way they felt to skate; particularly for grinds. Aesthetically they were never my favourite looking boot, but I loved the way you could adjust them in so many places to find the perfect fit and feel. They were definitely not without flaws though, without new buckles every few weeks they would begin to rattle about terribly, and the 1.0 cuff that I loved so much was only any good for a few months until it began to loose its strength and feel floppy. It's been refreshing to switch to the V13s after ten years of Xsjados. The Sizemores are light and responsive, plus are definitely the best looking blades I have ever owned. I like the way the V13s are so minimalistic, there isn't anything there that's not needed, just a solid boot that works.
What is the full specification, I want to know size, liners, boots, soul kits, frames, wheels, bearings, any mods? Don't scrimp on the details!
I am usually a size 7 but I couldn't fit into a 7 Sizemore V13. I believe the boot is the same for 7 and 8 in V13s, so I have an 8 liner in a 7-8 boot as it comes (I am thinking of changing liners, but haven't done this yet). I like a simple frame, so I skate the Kizer Fluid 4 frames in white. The new Dead Wheels Im skating are so good! I have the 58mm 92a ones with the Slaptap street series bearings (ABEC 9 chrome steel based bearings) and they seem to be the best wheels I've skated for a while. I used to ride Eulogys a lot and have never really gotten on that well with any other wheels until now but I've been skating a lot of street including some rough ditch spots and they seem to be doing okay.
You choose your skates and then you ride them for a really long time, normally until they are close to death. Why is that?
I like to get used to a setup. I change wheels and bearings all the time, but frames will often last me 6 - 8 months, sometimes more!
When you see the latest skates released, are you never tempted to change?
Sometimes, I went through a phase of almost buying classic thrones every other month. They were such a good looking skate, but I never made the jump. I was just too comfortable on my Xsjados I guess.
What do you like the most about your current blades?
They are a simple hard boot and feel great as an all round skate. The stock liner is half descent and they are actually a really cheap skate too. I don't want to talk about colours too much, but I have never been feeling the really bright colours with some setups. Neutral colours are the way forward for me so the plain black is great. I have been feeling the lack of negative space on the soul kits though haha, negatives in V13s are no joke!
How important is having a good groove in your setup? Do you prefer a brand new unworn in soul kit that is super fast or something really well worn in?
I like my skates the most after I have had a couple of weeks to wear them in.
How important is the look of your skate setup? Is it something you actively think about?
Yes, although in the past I have had a few suspect setups that I wasn't really feeling and didn't last very long. For me it's an important balance between them feeling right and looking good.
In your current setup, are there certain tricks that are easier or harder compared to Xsjado, If so, what tricks and why?
Negatives are so much harder (a lot less grind space), toe rolls and fastslides seem better. I think there was too much give in the Xsjados and you need to be able to push hard into the boot to find that balance point.
Do you rotate your wheels regularly?
No, I should do that way more often.
Have you ever cleaned your bearings?
About 10 years ago haha.
What were your favourite wheel graphics of all time?
Thats a hard question. Maybe the first Shima Mindgame wheel? I think that was the one that came with his pro model USD Psirus?
Where do your old setups go when you are finished with them?
I used to have to throw loads of Xsjado parts away as they had fallen apart, a few bits have been sold and some parts given away over the years. I snapped three Xsjado cuffs in 4 months just before I changed to Valos so those all got thrown away. I probably have enough parts to make up a couple of Xsjado setups, but they would be pretty worn out.
I know you used to cut parts of your skates/footwraps away for comfort, is this something you still struggle with?
Not really, they just used to rub me on the top of my foot, right at the top of the tongue. I would trim this down slightly to stop it putting pressure on that part of my foot, it usually seemed to solve the problem.
How long can you keep your blades on usually before they hurt?
Normally a few hours before my feet start to ache. I have had setups in the past where it was way less though.
What are the perfect retirement blades?
Anything with 100mm wheels.
Matt Smith - Switch Topsoul, Plymouth Shot - Sam Cooper
Words - Nathan Hadley and Matt Smith
Photos- Matt Smith and Sam Cooper