Skateboarding is not something one does. It is something one lives. Montreal makes it easy too; the city shuns wood in favour of brick and concrete, and icy stairways demand handrails. In other words, so long as the streets are plowed and the cops are busy hassling homeless people, they city opens like a giant skate park. No wonder skaters here are so good! However, when out and about in the city, a loose wheel or a busted bearing might result in a short day at the park followed by a very long, tedious walk home. So, prevent tragedy. Add this bit of gear to your outfit: Lilian Cuer’s belt – the XBELT Skatetool.
The XBELT is a nylon or leather belt with contrast stitching and a stainless steel buckle. The buckle is hollow and housed within are all the tools necessary for a fix on any deck: 3 wrenches, a mini screwdriver with two bits, and a bottle opener for the brewski one needs. Magnetized components allow the belt clip to serve as a handle for manipulating the parts, so no cramped hands.
“It’s a high grade object,” says Cuer who created the object based on his own experiences as a skateboard. After 15 years as a street skateboarder (“there’s more freedom,” he says), he was fed up with the inconveniences of fixing his board. “All the tools on the market are too small or too big,” he says. “If they are too big, you have to put the tool in a pocket, and if you fall down, it will hurt for sure. It’s very dangerous.”
And tools that are too small? “It’s very hard to use small tools because they hurt your hand when you work with them. Also, they’re easily lost. You take a break, put your tools down in the grass while you skate and forget about them and they’re gone.”
Cuer solved all problems with a single object. The belt is a fairly stylish object. For all its practical use, it looks rather ninja-esque with its hexagonal punch out in the centre and its sleek lines that form a double X. Overall, with the black, red, and brushed bare or powder coated stainless steel, it’s got an industrial chic ethos. Yet nothing in the design is accidental and every component is functional. The central hexagon is a 9/16” at one end, while the other has a 3/8″ and 1/2″ wrench. The plastic snaps are used to hold the screwdriver bits. And the bottle opener… can’t forget that either. All in all, this is a smart product. Cuer worked three years on the design, and his hard work shows in the attention to detail. Along with its swiss army like arsenal of tools, it’s hard to leave behind. “You forget your belt, you forget your pants,” he jokes.
Although the first generation of the belts are standard to a few design combinations, the next generation will feature increased customization of the buckle and strap. “We worked with Barry Walsh, a local Montreal skateboard for an engraved design on the belt. We customized it for him,” says Cuer. Walsh’s curivilinear Montreal-logo-like design is available for those who pledge $100. The basic design comes with a nylon strap for pledges of $35, or a leather one for pledges of $45.
When Cuer left his job as an industrial designer to work on the XBELT, he opted to use kickstarter to fundraise. He followed projects on the site and was inspired by how they did. “It’s a good way to get feedback from customers what they think of the product.”
Using Kickstarter to fundraise has been a learning experience for Cuer. “The community responded very quickly on the first day,” he said. “It’s been more slow since.” He is trying to reach out to the skate community with videos on the site, such as one that features Barry Walsh at the Big O.
The X-BELT Skatetool campaign runs until June 6 at 6 p.m. You can check out the Kickstarter page HERE.