Pantheon Gaia – Downhill / Freeride Deck With Big Surf Vibes
The Gaia has been a staple in the Pantheon lineup since 2015 as our premier freeride deck, and we are now at version 5, with an all new “Summit Series” construction and a finalized mold that we don’t plan on ever changing again. This deck has reached crystallization. Four 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.
SUMMIT SERIES CONSTRUCTION
In order to produce the lightest and most durable possible construction, we decided to take the construction of the Gaia to the next level–our Summit Series construction. The core of the board is made from poplar, a very lightweight and fast growing wood that is purchased locally and then glued up and made into core blocks. We then take the core blocks and machine them very precisely, so that, after the wood is glued up and bent into shape, all of the features of the board, including wheel wells, flush mounts, and urethane bumpers, fall into the exact right place. Carbon fiber is pressed with the core in a compression mold all at once, creating an extremely solid bond with a smooth carbon finish on a deck that is unable to warp and handle your abuse like a champ. Purple urethane bumpers cover the nose and tail to help guard your deck from impact damage, an embedded Pantheon Logo is pressed into the board under epoxy, and the deck is finalized with an auto-level poly spray finish. The end result is nothing short of rideable art.
This year’s 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 V4, 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.
Gaia Deck Specs:
Purpose: Downhill / Freeride Skating with a Cruiser Vibe
Construction: Pre-Machined Poplar Core, Biaxial Carbon Fiber, with Urethane Bumpers on the Nose and Tail
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)