This board is the reason the clerk at the corner store calls me “Fastcar”. Why? Because it’s fast! …and because he’s a little strange like that. It’s also the reason I’ve decided it’s finally socially acceptable for me to yell “STELLAAAA” in public (an opportunity I’ve been waiting for since my 9th grade English class). Plus, the graphic looks like a music video to me. Kinda like Pink Floyds “Goodbye Blue Sky” or Flowbots “Handlebars”…either way making it one of the more politically charged longboards since Globes short lived Ronald Reagan pinner. Does any of that make it a good longboard? Who the fuck knows…you have to keep reading! How much of that was even true? The part about my nickname being “Fastcar”. That guy is legit a weirdo.
Stella knew what they were doing with the dictator. I’m not about to pretend that this is a brand new shape, but it’s a great variation on a classic. Tweaked enough to make it unique, but nothing so crazy that it’s unfamiliar. Everything you expect and a little more...for instance, you’re going to be able to mount this every way you’re hoping is possible. Drop through, top mount, (obviously) but most importantly, with no fancy drops or fat cores in your way a redrill is quick and easy (though would require homemade wheel wells). So to each his own…even on this one deck! Also, there’s a nice waist in the deck for comfortable foot breaking. It doesn’t compromise leverage because it’s only the middle and, taboo as it is, foot breaking could save your life…say if a cop casually tries to run you over one day.
Yea, so…with the ambiguity of the abbreviation “LDP” I’ve decided to honor it’s original meaning. Since “long distance push”, while used by some is technically incorrect…from now on I’ll call that “commute” and LDP will be the more accurate “long distance pump”. Anyway…this board is great for it! It’s tub concave is aggressive for a push board, but the flat part in the middle is just wide enough to be comfortable. Throw on an already low truck like Newton or Carver CV drop up, or just use drop through risers and you’ll never get tired pushing.
Here’s where things get fun. I love the standing platform on this board, and the first thing I think when I see a drop-through deck with cut-outs is would this look cool chopped? To which my mind replied with a resounding “yes!”. However, I didn’t go through with it…why? Because it makes such a great rain deck as-is. Commute setup with some old bearings, rain wheels, and a nose guard (why not? You’re GOING to fall in the rain.) Makes the rain your friend on a hot day. The very low ride hight is going to keep you stable…which is my first concern in the rain. Plus, there’s like a foot of gas pedal on all four corners of this deck, giving you more than enough leverage to slide in the rain. These, of coarse, help in normal freeride as well…and the tub, while comfortable in the middle, gets a bit more aggressive towards the rail. So you’ll feel plenty locked in.
Freestyle on this board is not easy…but possible none the less. What seems more like “excess deck” than actual kicks can provide a surprising amount I leverage. Though the control is never going to be what you want it to be. Unless you do that redrill thing we discussed earlier…::wink wink:: but this is a review of the board Stella made, not “Stella ft. Steezy Mcgee longboarder extraordinaire” (your new name, reader. In case you were wondering…). As far as stock, I suggest learning some basic tiger claw variations, and (unless you’re that one guy who can kickflip an evo) old-school/ghostride kickflips. Watch your fingers because this board gets angry when you make it leave the ground…though it’s for that same reason you’ll have more confidence than ever landing tricks…this thing plants hard and stays where it is.
Well there it is Mcgee, Stella came to play. Or they didn’t play…I honestly don’t know how that phrase is supposed to go. Either way, the Dictator, given the opportunity, lives up to its name. Definitely a natural addition to any skate arsenal. Plus, to all those out there saying “well this is all old news, that kind of board has been around forever”, here’s the kicker: (on top of all the subtle differences mentioned earlier) the Dictator boasts a quality and durability similar to some of those other boards at a much better price. That alone makes it worth considering. So call your local shop (you should know them pretty well by now) and tell them to throw out those Reagan cruisers and make room for Stella! As always, Facebook is a great way to keep up with your favorite longboard companies.
DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.