Anyone Have Experience with Freewave?

Tips and advice on both skating gear and technique

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chakakhan
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Anyone Have Experience with Freewave?

Postby chakakhan » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:15 am

I'm planning to study in Korea in the Spring, and I'm toying with the idea of having some skates made (my wide feet and short toes are truly a curse). I'm curious if anyone has experience with freewave or can possibly provide feedback on the skate itself.

jipe
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Re: Anyone Have Experience with Freewave?

Postby jipe » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:18 am

I have a pair of Harimau made on order by Freewave.
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The build is excellent with a very stiff shell.

Freewave makes only custom or semi-custom boots so they can be adapted to your feet. You can have a very snug fit.

I use these skates together with Seba KSJ WCE.

The ankle/cuff part of the Harimau is stiffer than the one of the KSJ with less rear/front flex. The upper part can be compared to the upper part of the original Twister, i.e. no cuff and relatively high shell inside but without removable inner boot..

As you can see on the pictures, the inner side is shaped to fit the foot shape with cups around the malleolus and made with a very stiff foam. The tongue foam is softer.

The red material on the tongue is a kind of rubber scratch that prevents that the tongue slips.

The boots are slightly lower than the KSJ so, with the same frame, your foot is slightly closer to the ground than with the KSJ.

Harimau boots are the lightest on the market, they weight less than the KSJ boot (728g vs. 840g for KSJ size 43, Harimau are custom so no size but equivalent to 43).

The Ikran frame is rockered and weight less than the KSJ frame (205g for the 242mm 4x80 vs. 248g for the Seba Deluxe/KSJ 976 frame) but the Seba frame is stiffer. Note that a part of the additional weight of the Seba frame is due to the steel axle vs. aluminum axle for the Ikran. Honestly, I never understood why Seba uses steel axles because aluminum axle are strong enough especially for slalom, all other manufacturers use aluminum axles.

Some more details below:
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borisb
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Re: Anyone Have Experience with Freewave?

Postby borisb » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:49 pm

Hello,

I am using Harimau for 1 year and 9 months now. They are not issue free, but I can say with confidence I would not enjoy doing slalom anymore if Jipe did not recommend FW to me 2 years back, because of the constant pain issues with all the other linerless boots. That is an individual thing but FW is a good choice if you are not happy with the fit of other skates. Jipe is this a new pair? If I remember right, before you were posting images that were closer to the original white/black version. I was about to ask if your old carbon shell was reused but this one seems to be new.

I am not a top level slalomer meaning I tend to use also the middle wheels :) so the boots are not under strain comparable to someone who lives and breathes toe wipers, nowipers etc. but otherwise I use the boots very regularly and they sure do not look as nice as Jipe's shiny pair in the pictures ;) So far everything is just outer skin damage due to falls, because in warmer months I practice on asphalt. What I like about the Harimau:
  • the fit is great. When new, the left boot seemed a tiny bit smaller than I would like, but after several weeks they expanded in the toe area somewhat. Or my toes have shrunk down :) no matter, does not hurt anymore.
  • i can skate every day in a week when time allows. I couldn't do this with any of my previous skates (ankle/arch pain), but of course you can get the same with any other skate if they fit you nicely
  • the higher carbon shell provides good support but is shaped so that there is a "cut" at the malleolus so good bye ankle pain
  • the responsiveness of the skates is superb. They are very stiff, when I tried High Lights it took me some time to get used to the softer boot and I had to keep reminding me to use more physical force and extra care in some tricks.
  • they allow you to skate fast because of their reduced weight. My size is 295mm (EU46/US12), so when I was using Seba High it was like two heavy bricks.
  • so far, my pair does not suffer from issues friends are having with KSJ/Trix/iGor, like tongue slipping down inside the boot even when laced properly or the frequent problem with inner padding getting damaged in the heel area
  • they are flexible enough for all types of tricks. When new, sitting tricks are difficult but the problem goes away after some time.

Harimau boots are not without issues however, fortunately so far I encountered only minor ones:
  • the metal "O" shaped rings used to bend the straps are not strong enough and easily break. They are easy to replace, but this happened at a competition and I recall that one of the Czapla sisters was not impressed, making a comment about the build quality of the skates. This was just plain embarrassing. ;) As if it wasn't enough that I have different skates than everybody!
  • did I mention people will be asking you about the skates with a suspicious look on their faces? Practice your answers beforehand or make sure you can do at least 20 sevens before putting them on in public! ;)
  • It is easy to damage the outer skin especially around toe area and somewhat around the ankles. I am taping over the front toe part every couple of months (basically when it gets too bad) with a textile tape. Some spots around ankles are beyond repair and look ugly, but this is only on the outside so not a real problem except people think I inherited them from my grand dad ;)
  • the micro buckles are easy to break when falling because they are located in a rather exposed area compared to Seba. But I seem to fall more than other people so maybe not an issue for everyone. I had to use 3 replacement buckles so far, they are the standard type used on all Seba/PS/speed skates/... most skate shops have them in stock.
  • the back heel straps got torn after around 6-8 months from the boot in the place where they are sewed in. They were only irritating me anyway!
  • the inner padding at the heel has some slight damage, the top layer has a small hole but the padding itself is still intact, I am wondering how it will progress. I have recently seen iGors with deep hole in the padding, so I hope it will not come to this stage anytime soon.

A final note, if you use orthodics it might be a good idea to inform Captain Yang about this and have a pair ready before you do the plaster casting.

Boris

jipe
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Re: Anyone Have Experience with Freewave?

Postby jipe » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:06 am

Hi Boris, no these are the original pair, I have only one pair of Harimau. They look new because the pictures are old = the pictures I took when I received the boots. The Harimau are slalom boots not freeride boots, the outer has no slider or any protection, it is plain leather.

I don't have issues with the padding at the heel with my Harimau nor with my KSJ. I think this has to do with having some slight movement of the heel inside the boot = wear means that the boots are not perfectly fitting at that place.

The boots were indeed very tight fit when new and it took a long time before they expand a little (very little in fact).

Something I forgot to say, useful For people having orthodics: on my boots, the inner sole isn't removable like on Seba boots and on almost all other slalom boots I had (the inner sole is light grey same material as the rest of the inner). So if you want to fit orthodics, I think you need to ask to have the inner sole removable.

As said, the tongue slipping down problem (that I also experienced with my KSJ and Bont Vaypor speed boot and that I solved by making holes in the lower part of the tongue and having the laces going under the tongue) doesn't exist on the Harimau due to the red grippy rubber sewn on the tongue, a kind of rubber velcro.


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