Although I am not super interested in skateboarding in the rain sometimes rain happens and often it’s not raining, but the ground is wet when I want to get out for a ride. On a bicycle the obvious answer is mount fenders. It turns out on a skateboard the same thing is true. This idea is not my invention. When I started thinking it would be nice to ride in the wet without being splattered with dirty water from my wheels I did some Google searching and found quite a few LDP [Long Distance Push/Pumping] setups with fenders. I took inspiration from those search results and combined them with my limited DIY skills to come up with what you see here.
I tried to put fenders on my Pantheon Pranayama first and could not make it happen. That particular setup has very tight packaging of huge wheels, TKP trucks and wide deck so adding extra material between them just didn’t work out. I’m not saying it’s 100% impossible, but it was hard enough I decided to try something less challenging. Next up I tried adding fenders to a Pantheon Quest. This worked out fairly easily. It’s a bigger deck with a bit more space when it comes to the area the fenders need to sit between the wheels/trucks and deck.
Here are the materials I used:
- Thin cutting board material [Amazon]
- Sharpie marker
- Zip ties
- Pipe insulation foam
- Electrical tape
- Scissors [sharp!]
- Drill with a bit big enough to slide a ziptie through the resulting hole
Each board will require a different fender install so unless you are making fenders for a very similar LDP setup you’ll have to improvise/customize to work. Here is what I did:
- Cut a rectangular piece of the cutting board material that roughly fit the area where I was going to mount the fenders.
- Draw a “slot” that will allow you to pop the fender under your deck behind the wheels.
- Cut the slot out with scissors. Err on the side of too small. Test fit and enlarge as needed.
- Once the fender fits well on the board you can cut some foam to sit between the fender and the deck/truck to prevent annoying vibration noise.
- Drill two holes to put the zip tie through.
- Use the zip tie to attach the end of the fender securely to your board. Play around with the tension. Ideally you want the fender to stay in place without moving/making noise and have the zip tie loose enough you can remove the fender when not needed or for maintenance.
- Use electrical tape to protect the deck from wear in areas the sharp edges of the cutting board or the zip tie will rub.
If you want to practice you can do some prototypes out of thin cardboard or thick paper to get a polished design and then use the cutting board material to make the final product.
I was very impressed by how well these fenders worked. Before I had them installed a wet ride would mean I’d come home filthy from the waist down. Using these fenders I stay 90% cleaner with just some splatter down on my shoes. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of running over a large slug or goose poop with a skateboard you’ll know how nice coming home clean is! Using the foam and adjust the zip tie tension I get a nice quiet ride.
The fenders are pretty secure and robust, but they can come off or get damaged with enough use. Once you have a design you like make a template and then it’s only a matter of a few minutes to make a new set. It’s easy to buy cutting board material in a bulk set so the cost should be minimal as well. If you make them well you should be able to remove and re-install the fenders easily on the go. That way you can just keep ’em in your pack until you need them on a longer mission where rain isn’t certain.
The bad news is that although the fenders will keep you a lot cleaner wooden decks and bearings don’t love being wet. It’s not a death sentence, but unless you stay on top of maintenance after every really wet session you will have problems. Using wood sealer on the deck liberally and frequently will help. Wiping down the deck and letting it dry somewhere warm, but not excessively hot is a good idea. Cleaning and re-lubing bearings will keep them rolling smoothly a lot longer. You can kill a set of bearings in one really wet session if you leave them to rust post-ride.