2020 Pantheon Gaia – Downhill / Freeride Longboard Deck
Gaia Deck Specs:
Purpose: Downhill / Freeride Skating with a Cruiser Vibe
Construction: 7-ply Maple Sandwich, Triaxial Fiberglass Under Top and Bottom Layers
Length: 37 inches (94 cm)
Width: 9.6 inches (24.5 cm)
Wheelbase: 24.5 – 25.5 inches (62.25 – 64.75 cm)
Drop: 0.2″ (0.5 cm)
The Gaia has been a staple in the Pantheon lineup since 2015 as our premier freeride deck, and we are now at version 6, with an all new fiberglass construction and a finalized mold that we don’t plan on ever changing again. The 2020 Gaia is a perfect collaboration between intention and attention, resulting in truly rideable art.
If you read nothing else, read this: The Gaia is a VIBE. The lines are perfectly smooth across the length of the deck, while the inside of the board offers all the board feel and shape that you’ve grown to expect from Pantheon.
This deck has reached crystallization. Five years into its existence with immeasurable feedback leads us to a more refined Gaia than ever–one that is more beautiful, more multi-functional, and less cumbersome for virtually any style of skateboarding, from your cruise through the neighborhood to bombing the steepest mountains in the world, to freeride and freestyle skating.
MAPLE / FIBERGLASS CONSTRUCTION
In order to produce the functional and performance oriented, but cost-effective skateboard, we decided to take the construction of the Gaia to the next level. During our prototype process, we tested several cores with all bamboo/fiberglass, combinations of maple, bamboo, and fiberglass, all maple, and finally a classic maple layup with fiberglass in various positions.
We settled on putting the fiberglass under the top and bottom layers of maple in a classic 7 ply maple sandwich. We did this for a couple reasons. Firstly, fiberglass SUCKS to touch, from both a user-perspective as well as for the person making the board. After you wear your board in, periodically, you’ll pick up your board and loose fiberglass will end up in your hands. The same goes for the person sanding the deck. The more exposed the fiberglass, the more you’re going to feel it. Secondly, we’ve been making wood decks for 6 years and really feel as though boards are most aesthetically pleasing in wood.
So now that we’ve told you all the things we don’t like about fiberglass, we’ll tell you why it’s there. The biggest reason is that we wanted to create a deck that wouldn’t warp on you, no matter how much you abuse it. Furthermore, we are able to create a lighter weight layup while still offering downhill-capable rigidity for enhanced control when blasting down hills and into slides. Once we weighed the benefits versus the costs, hiding a couple of layers of triaxial fiberglass inside the board was a no-brainer that will result in even fewer board failures and higher performance.
Finally, we’ve added a sweet griptape design with 36-grit, downhill ready griptape on the top. There is definitely more value than ever in this board!
The 2020 Gaia features a 0.2″ modified crescent drop, hidden within the board’s rails to create super clean lines that both look smooth and fast and feel less intrusive. You will notice obvious places to stand, where your feet are really locked in the pockets, but the concave hardly forces you into them. It’s much more free flowing and surfy than the older models with wheel flares–ideal for freeride and flowy downhill–and it lets you stand close to being right on top of the trucks if that’s your style. The Gaia doesn’t separate the tail from the rest of the deck as much as previous models or other decks with a specific center platform and kicktail, making the tail highly accessible and usable. And this board does have POP.
The taper is as close to our version of “perfect” as our experience has been able to produce. The shape of the deck forces a surfy stance, and with your front foot placement at about 45 degrees and toe in the drop, your heel will drop right into the fattest part of the board at 9.6 inches. The rear foot placement will depend on comfort. The deck is right at 8.5 inches wide at the base of the rear drop, so if you’re freeriding and or predrifting and dropping back to stick your toe in the drop, you will have a combination of rail feel and drop leverage to really push the deck around. Finding a way to get these specs to both look and feel right is why we are on V6, and as sweet as the old Gaia decks have been in the past, we are definitely in a superior space with this new mold and shape.
Regarding mold changes, we wrote a blog on this, speaking about what we are calling the board-mold “handshake.” The Gaia, more than ever, was designed with a customized, very specific shape in mind, specifically for this mold, and the mold was designed specifically for this deck profile. In fact, if you shaped this board any differently, it wouldn’t look or feel the way this board is made to look and feel, and the difference would be pretty drastic. The complexities of why this is special are many, and some riders will place more value on it than others, but in the end it all goes back to the concept of making rideable art. As we’ve been designing longboards for about 8 years now, the demands we place on ourselves to continue to push the envelope have put us in this space where we really just want PERFECTION. It is unlikely that we will change this mold again, but as always, we will continue to listen to feedback from riders all over the world who have real world experience on our decks, and we will respond appropriately.