Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here is my long winded version of the Skate Panel event

Here is a link to the article about the event that was posted this week on the Cournalist.

Here is my long winded version of the event. I thought it was a great skateboard history lesson and talk.

The skateboard panel event held at NextSpace, didn’t have the full house of (90) I’d hoped for but it did have the stories. If you skateboard and wanted to know the history of Santa Cruz Skateboards, the various changes in the history of skateboard wheel since the 70’s or about all the one off skateboard machines that NHS uses to test and build the latest greatest skateboard products, you missed your opportunity. You missed Aptos local, Don Bostick who founded the World Cup of Skateboarding (with his wife Danielle Bostick), talk about his passion for skateboarding and the lumps and bumps along his career path. You missed the story behind the Maloof Money Cup’s skate event with highest money purse in skateboardings history. Don’s his first introduction to events via Tony Hawk and how he hung up on them thinking it was a crank call and how they called back and changed his life’s path. And his early days working on the X Games to present day mega ramp events that are coming in the near future.

Thursday night was the Santa Cruz Design and Innovation Skateboard Panel event at NextSpace which had a kind of high cover for this economy but it still had a crowd of around 50 people. In the audience was Jeff Kendall the VP with NHS. TC the owner of the new Santa Cruz Boardroom skate shop, and Annie Morhauser from Annie Glass with her son Taylor, and a host of others, I invited Rick Blackhart, Jimbo and Jim Phillips, Keith Meek and many other skaters though many didn’t make it.

If you every wondered what the letters NHS stands for you would of heard the full story as told by Tim Piumarta, the Director of R+D at NHS and skated for NHS back in the early days and started to work for them in his teens and has never stopped. His passion for skate and his knowledge was inspiring. Tim was the first speaker on the panel, who could have talked for the whole evening and we would have been more than happy to listen.

NHS stands for Novak, Haut and Shuirman and was founded in the early 70’s. Richard Novak still owns and runs the company with president Bob Denike, who is another true blue skater from back in the day. Doug Haute is the legendary surfboard shaper and owner of Haut Surfboards located on Swift Street on the West side. Jay Shuirman was a great counter balance and best friend to Richard Novak. Jay was an amazing person who died of Leukemia at age 42. (Read the book “Built to Grind”by Independent Trucks and learn more about Jay’s amazing life and how his influence started a change in the skate industry that has made an ever lasting impact). The NHS brands are well known worldwide which include the following: Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Ricta Wheel Dynamics, Krux Trucks, Creature Skateboards, Designarium, Nor Cal, Mob Grip, Bullet Products, Anti-Crime and Strange Notes. Some of the brands from the early days were Road Rider, OJ Wheels, Cellblocks, Park Rider and a few others.

Tim talked about the history of the skateboard wheel from back in the ball bearing days to the transition of the sealed bearing and how it changed skateboarding forever. How a man with an idea to put a bearing from a Xerox machine into a wheel for a faster and quieter ride and how he drove down 41st and stopped at the first surf shop he came across to try and sell his idea. He stopped at O'Neills which at the time was managed and run by Jon Buckley and Michael Mitchell. They told their bosses who said we don’t do skateboards. Michael told the man to go to the Santa Cruz Surf Shop which was the closest one to the beach on 41st and owned by NHS. Jay and Rich worked out the deal to make the wheel design to fit the bearings and the rest is history. Maybe one day NHS will write a book about their amazing story.

Tim proceeded to show us the first wheels and it’s size to tall wheels, wide wheels, for each type of skating all the way to the present wheel which in contrast to the first wheel is surprisingly around the exact same size but with a radius edge and cores. After he spoke, next up was Connor Welles, Hard Goods Development Coordinator at NHS. His parents were in the audience and it was nice to see their big smiles. He talked about the process of getting skateboard products manufactured and working with product managers. Next was Don Bostick who’s life was guided by his skateboarding passion. Fourth on the panel was Erik Florio - CEO and Founder Whagaa/Go Learn to Skate Apple iphone application which is based in Scotts Valley. Erik talked about the early days of wanting to do apps before the iPhone and his connection with DK and how his app went to number one for a month on itunes.

I was next and talked about skateboarding and design and showed a short Powerpoint presentation. I talked a bit about when I graduated from San Jose State University back in the mid 80’s and how I worked at the Santa Cruz Surf Shop (the same shop NHS started) as manager, buyer, airbrushed surfboards and met many owners of surf and skate brands. One of my graphic design teachers, Russell Leong, encouraged me to use my action sports connections to start my own business Maximum Impact Design. During my presentation I showed an Electronic Arts ad that was a rough sketch design and then the finished product and how it was all done via oldschool mechanical art.

Last but not least on the panel was DK (Danny Keith) or Ricky Danny if you are on twitter or listen to KDON. He spoke about his Grind for Hunger non-profit, running a retail skate business and his love for skating and how it has driven his life. There was always this underlying tone of skate and passion with everyone’s talks. I hope the stories get spread around so people can tell their kids. Santa Cruz skateboard changed lives and will forever be changing lives in the future.

Thank you to all the sponsors for supporting this event. Santa Cruz Skateboard, Santa Cruz Skate Shop, NextSpace, Fringe, Khiro Skateboard Products and Parachute Design

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