Gaia of the Greek Pantheon was a primordial being that represented the concept of life. She was the personification of the earth and mother to all living things, even the Gods themselves…or, as my readers would recognize her: “That mossy bitch from God of War.” (that’s right, I know my target demographic.) Either way…That’s one epic legacy to live up to. So let’s thrash some wood and see if Pantheon Longboards is up this most herculean of tasks (get it? Reference five!)
Versatile as it is, the Gaia seems made for downhill. What looks like very subtle concave online is actually a pretty aggressive tub. There’s just enough flat in the middle for comfortable pushing and room to explore difference stances. Though, the abrupt wall of concave still really cradles your foot and provides a lot of leverage, especially when gripping a turn. Plus, combine that with the crescent drop and you have a fantastic pocket that feels great in a truck. The wheelbase options all really compliment this discipline and the EFP feels extremely solid and stable.
There’s definitely two different philosophies when it comes to freeride: “Go fast; slide far” vs “Do tricks; get techy”. I don’t play favorites…I like both, but I do prefer my setups to pick a side. The Gaia has definitely done so…it chooses larger wheelbases, a symmetrical concave, and superior pockets to an easily accessible kick. That’s not to say you couldn’t slide-shuv or blunt on this beast, but it’s definitely designed to take speed a little better. Plus, once your feet plant, they feel damn good where they are. The tub cave almost feels like micro drops for your toes/heels so switching between frontside and backside has never felt more effortless.
Let’s talk about that kick. Sure, the pockets feel like home base, and the crescent drop is a great warning that you’re reaching the instability of a past-the-bolts stance…but they aren’t so harsh that the kick is inaccessible. Which, for a flat speed-oriented kick is superb for popping ollies. If street oriented stuff is what you’re into I would say this is a little bit of a compromise…but if you want to haul ass and still make it up and down a few curbs, Pantheon did it right. With a more abrupt snap than you’re used to with flat kicks, you’ll get more distance than air and a clean arch is an easy thing to accomplish. Grab a few ramps or head to a boardercross event and you’ll have the time of your life on this board.
No board is perfect, everything has its compromises…usually I don’t “criticize” as much as I just try to steer my readers on the right direction…for instance, the Gaia is more fast freeride oriented than it is techy. That’s just an observation and hopefully it will help you when deciding if this board is right for you. That being said…my one major criticism of this board is something I feel they could easily rectify without compromise. The wheel wells are too short! They’re plenty deep and beautifully crafted…but unfortunately only prove useful when using the two wider mounting options. Which is a pity because the flush mount is nice, but really makes wheel wells necessary when running looser or lower degree trucks on the shortest wheelbase.
Well kids, that’s it. The Pantheon,Gaia is one great deck…planning to tackle Mount Olympis? You couldn’t choose a better piece of wood. For more information and even some stoketastic holiday edition boards check out the Pantheon Facebook page.
DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.