Madness Skateboards Review
Madness Skateboards is a skateboard company originally known for making decks suited to skating bowls and ramps. I’ve skated a number of Madness boards in recent months and here will share my overall experience and impressions of the decks.
I’ll get into more detail later, but to sum it up: I’m a fan. The mix of Madness’s unique graphics, creative board shapes and features, and a range of sizes (and especially wheelbases) is compelling. While not the lightest decks on the market (Powell Flight decks hold that honor), in my experience Madness boards are durable in my and not overly heavy.
While the company focuses on making shaped transition boards, I also like using their boards for street skating. I’m taller (and older) and I like a popsicle-style deck with a longer wheelbase for street skating. Madness makes a few options that fit this description.
Before I go on, I typically buy Madness decks from Thank You Skate Supply, which is Dwindle’s direct-to-consumer online skate shop. They usually have a good stock of the decks and occasionally some decent sales.
Below are a few stand-out features of Madness boards.
One of the interesting features of some Madness decks are groves routed into the wood. These are presumably to provide grip when grabbing the board. For example, the photo below is of the nose on a deck I set up as a slappy board.
One thing to keep in mind if you plan to ride rails is that the grooves can cause a bit of an issue when screwing them on. For the slappy board I bought, I didn’t think through the fact that the board had groves along the edges. This contained where I mounted the boards (see below). I was able to get them mounted, but will probably avoid Madness decks with groves in the middle when setting up a board with rails.
The longer wheelbases on some Madness skateboards is appealing if you are a bigger rider or just prefer a more stable ride. I switched from riding a Powell Flight deck that was 8.5 inches wide to riding the Madness Jack Fardell model, which is also 8.5 and has a wheelbase of 14.88 inches – one of the longest wheelbases on a popsicle-shaped deck that I’ve been able to find. The full dimensions of the board are: width: 8.5″; length: 32.63″; WB: 14.88″; Nose: 7.0″; Tail 6.56″.
If you are curious about the full setup, I ride it with Tensor Maglight ATG 5.75 Trucks and 54mm OJ Nomad wheels. I wrote a review of the Tensor ATGs here. One thing to note about this deck is that the concave and kick are both pretty mellow. I like it for a street deck because I can move my feet around fairly easily to set up for tricks, but sometimes on transitions, I wish it had a bit more concave because my feet float around when I don’t want them too. But that’s why I have a bowl board!
As a side note, Fardell is an Australian pro skater who represented the country in the Olympics. I was trying to figure out how tall he is, for reference and to get a clue as to the long wheelbase perhaps, but didn’t have any luck.
Madness is one of the only major skateboard brands that offer long-wheelbase decks (14.5 inches and up), which offers the ability to consistently source high-quality decks.
I’ve found other companies that make longer wheelbase boards, but often they run out of stock for a specific board I want to ride, which can be frustrating.
Some of the decks also have two truck bolt hole patterns drilled on the front of the board, so you can choose from two different wheelbases.
I like to ride my bowl and park boards pretty loose so I can carve walls smoothly. Having wheel wells on a deck gives me some peace of mind that I’ve got a few more millimeters of bend in my truck before getting wheel bite. Many of the Madness decks have wheel wells, which is another reason I’ve been riding them on setups where I want to ride loose trucks.
Madness joins a number of skateboard companies that now offer shaped decks. That said, I really like the shapes Madness puts out. Shaped but not so crazy as to be pure novelty boards. Of the five Madness decks I’ve purchased, three were shaped decks.
The first one was the Madness Manipulate Holographic deck, which I’ll admit I bought as much because of how cool the art looked as for the shape. I used this deck on a pool and ramp board set up (with wider trucks and bigger wheels).
The board is 9 inches wide, 32 inches long, and has a wheelbase of 14.25 inches. The nose is 7 inches and the nose is 6.58 inches. The shape is sort of popsicle-like, but it’s still decidedly more directional than your typical street deck.
This was one of the first decks I bought when I got back into skating after many years, so I wasn’t quite sure what dimensions I wanted. I was impressed with the quality of the craftsmanship on the deck and overall how it felt.
I had two problems with this board: 1) the tail felt like it narrowed a bit too much for me, and 2) the wheelbase felt short. So I picked up a new deck with a wider tail.
After the Manipulate deck, I bought a Madness Grasp deck, which had a longer wheelbase and a blockier tail, which offers more support for my back foot.
This board is 32.58 inches long with a 15.13-inch wheelbase. The nose and tail are both 6.625 inches long.
The Grasp has the grab grooves cut into it on nose and middle of the deck. I personally don’t grab much, but I could see how they would be helpful.
I really like the dimensions and feel of this deck. It’s more distinctly shaped than the Manipulate deck and feels really stable when going fast in a bowl.
I’m currently riding it with Ace AF1 66 trucks (9 inches wide) and 58 mm Bones SPF Rapture 81B Sidecuts Wheels.
The other shaped deck I bought was the a deck that was a collaboration with Poler skateboards, a European brand of boards that’s popular in the us. This deck is called the Madness Ace, a reference to Ace Pelka, a skater who has slappies on lockdown.
Here’s a video of Pelka slappying all manner of things, including my some of my home town San Diego curbs:
This board is 10 inches wide and I’ve set it up with Independent 215s. Huge trucks! The board has a blunt nose, a bit reminiscent of Hosoi Hammerhead decks from the 1980s.
The board is a pig, but works well for curb slappies. I can really hit the curb with speed and feel confident I’ll lock in. The big square tail feels really supportive under my back foot and the nose is big enough to grab it easily and even squeak out a nolly.
Who makes Madness Skateboards
Madness boards are made by Dwindle Distribution, which is based in El Segundo, California. The company was founded by freestyle Steve Rocco and Rodney Mullen and is based in Santa Fe Springs, California, in the Los Angeles Metro Area. Dwindle owns a number of major skateboard brands, including Almost, Blind, Darkstar, Dusters, Enjoi, Speed Demons, Superior, and Tensor Trucks.
Dwindle was bought out by Bravo Sports, part of the Transom Capital Group in 2018. Bravo also owns Sector 9 and Protech. So you’re definitely dealing with big companies here, but that’s not uncommon in the skate industry nowadays.
Madness doesn’t explicitly say where their boards are made on the website, but Dwindle manufactures many of its boards at Douglas Street Manufacturing, a wood shop in Shenzhen, China.