There are a lot of new products coming out in skateboarding these days. Often these are minor advancements marketed in a gimmicky way with a silly name for the innovation. For these reasons I stuck with simple gear, but then I discovered Alchemy griptape and that changed. With the coolest looking grip, no gimmicky flavor, and the simple name Alchemy Traction Solutions™, this was a new product I had to try.
Griptape has always been a basic component in skateboarding. Besides graphics and small perforations there hasn’t been much innovation in the realm of grip. The best innovations are usually seen when creative skaters realize they can use griptape as a personal canvas, leading to them making cuts in their griptape to make the grip itself the art. Alchemy has taken that skateboard tradition to the next level by making the grip-cuts graphical in a way that is superior in use.
Alchemy draws it’s inspiration from the actual Great Work of Alchemy. Their griptape designs are split into two areas; the Microcosm of the natural world with patterns like a thumb print , and then the Macrocosm of the metaphysical and occult with patterns like the Flower of Life. They have also recently made another innovation called SOLE Mates™ that mirrors the classic wafer and herringbone design on the soles of so many skate shoes. Even their regular grip, Prima Materia, is higher quality and available in two different kinds of grit; Sphinx that is derived from the sands of Africa, and Stardust which is formed from a man-made version of comets.
I was drawn to the unique philosophy behind Alchemy and the use of sacred geometry to make such complicated griptape. I ordered a couple sheets of grip and set up two new decks, the Flower of Life pattern for my fiancee and the Matrix pattern for myself. The grip is so different that it comes in packaging with directions and requires two people to apply it. It was a fun challenge and both sheets were applied without a problem.
I bought my Girl deck with the grip in mind and as soon as the tape was laid down the graphical superiority was obvious. The real question however was how it would feel. I was a little nervous that it would totally screw up my flip-tricks and when I threw the board down it was seriously different. I had never felt such grippy grip. I was landing my basic tricks, but my go-to favorite wasn’t happening for some reason. This wasn’t because the grip was bad, but because it was so awesome that I kept over ollieing. After half an hour I got used to it and felt like all of my tricks were a little better. Flick and catch are important to me, and this grip responds like a dream (as seen by me using the Matrix grip over the trashcan).
I wanted to write this review sooner but I realized to properly do it I had to use the grip as harshly as I could. With all the cut-outs my fear was that it may wear out fast, but that ended up not being the case at all. The grip is still good-as-new after three months of skating through dirt, mud, rocks, and rain. Even wax flaked off onto it while I was waxing a ledge and that didn’t mess it up. Alchemy grip looks cooler, feels better, and lasts longer.
Besides griptape they also have some standard hardware with a sticker, but what I think is cooler is their unique Blind packaged T-shirts. What they are doing is taking nicer thrift store shirts and printing their own graphics over the pre-existing graphics. You choose the size and color and then the shirts are sent without you knowing exactly what you will get, so the element of surprise is an added bonus. It is recycled art in wearable form, and the results at the price of $7.77 is superb.
It used to be that the standard choices of griptape when you go to a skateshop was Jessup, Black Magic, and recently Mob. I sincerely hope Alchemy is added to that list.
Alchemy is doing everything right in the skateboard world that sometimes feels wrong. They are run by a husband and wife team, not a corporation, and their enlightened and humble nature is refreshing. Most importantly their products are truly top notch innovations, or to put it more simply; Alchemy is sick!
Check them out – http://www.alchemygrip.com/.