Should You Ride Plan B Skateboards? Honest review
The Plan B brand is an enigma. At times in the past Plan B skateboards were everywhere. At other times they cannot be found. So what’s the deal? Well, as we shall see, Plan B is an iconic brand with a rollercoaster history in skateboarding.
Plan B History
Plan B skateboards has a long history in skateboarding. It originally came about in 1991, when its founders Mike Ternasky and Tony Magnusson. Both Ternasky (team manager) and Magnusson (pro rider) had ties to H-Street, which was a dominant force in skateboarding at the time.
Plan B started out under the World Industries umbrella of companies, with the likes of 101 and Blind.
From the beginning, Ternasky intended for Plan B to be a heavy hitter in the industry. He brought Matt Hensley, Mike Carroll, Sal Barbier and Danny Way over from H-Street. The H-Street brand would never recover from the exit of its biggest stars, though it still exists today.
Ternasky then handpicked top professionals from other companies. Canuck Rick Howard left Blockhead to join the new crew. Sean Sheffey left Life skateboards where he had shaken things up with a standout part in A Soldier’s Story. The originator Rodney Mullen signed up as well.
There were also some lesser known players who joined the team. Ryan Fabry would soon become a household name in skating, as would Pat Duffy. But it was the transition-skating wonder kid Colin McKay that would steal the show.
Plan B’s Street Skating Influence
Street skating was already eclipsing vert as the style of the day. Plan B didn’t start the downfall of vert, but it did help it along. One look at the list of pros on the original team explains it all. Only Way and McKay were really vert skaters. The others, though they skated transition, were all street skaters.
The Plan B Video: Questionable
It is impossible to overstate the importance and influence of the Questionable video on skateboarding. It wasn’t the first to feature street skating. Blind had just released Video Days the year before, and World Industries’ Rubbish Heap was already a big influence.
But with Questionable, there was no dead time. The opening montage was a clue to the hour-long madness that was to follow, but Duffy’s opening part was proof. Duffy destroys a 10-set handrail with lip slide, 50-50 (both ways) and smith grind (both ways). The industry was on notice.
Plan B’s Demise
Two more full-length videos were to follow, but the super team was never going to last. Carroll and Howard soon left to start Girl skateboards. Hensley retired before Questionable dropped. Mullen stayed, but only until the untimely passing of Ternasky.
Mike Ternasky died in a car crash in 1994. His death spelled the end for Plan B. Without the super team and without its founder and driving force, the company was never going to last. Magnusson held things together until 1997, but by then the industry had moved on.
Plan B’s Resurrection
In 2005, Way and McKay revived the Plan B brand. It has seen various corporate partnerships since then, but it continues to exist and to influence skateboarding at various levels. As of this time, Plan B sponsors big names like Chris Joslin, Ryan Sheckler, Trevor McClung, Alex Sorgente and Aurelien Giraud.
As may be obvious, the current lineup is a driving force in competitive skateboarding. There are a lot of X Games gold medals there, and possibly more gold on the horizon as the 2020 Summer Olympics approach.
Plan B skateboards may not have the underground street cred they once did, but they’re still a force. The question is: Are they any good?
Plan B started out as a deck company, and that remains its focus to this day. There are also Plan B wheels and Plan B trucks, which are decent but not quite top quality. They are a great place to start for the new skater, but not quite as tough or as smooth as some of the better brands.
A Plan B deck however is as good as any other wood on the market, and better than many. Beginning skaters often upgrade the components on their Plan B completes as they progress, but the deck stays around until it’s thrashed.
Plan B complete will tend to cost much less than assembling a complete piece by piece out of top-tier components. A Plan B deck on its own will cost as much as any other pro deck, so that should tell you the quality of the trucks and wheels. They’re rideable, but they won’t take abuse.