School's out, and my kids are hitting the pavement (literally — we've got some skinned knees already!) Casterboards (like a split skateboard on two casters instead of four wheels) are one of the latest things that my kids are into, and they are on theirs all the time. Something I just discovered, though, is longboarding. Have you heard of it?
Almost more like a mini-surfboard than a skateboard, right? Ryan had posted another one, too, this 5-foot longboard (below). Both boards are made of Baltic birch plywood, purpleheart, padauk, and zebrawood, but this one looks entirely different from the other one. And five feet long?? It would be like sidewalk surfing!
Well, I wasn't able to reach Ryan in time to interview him for this article, so I turned to the place for instant information, Twitter! There I met Marcelo Peroco, of Massachusetts. Marcelo, who is originally from Brazil, started skateboarding as a kid, but didn't begin longboarding until 2007. Last year he started a business, UncommonBoards.com, where he produces custom longboards that are entirely handmade. (In fact, one longboard I saw even proudly proclaims "No CNC machine" and "Handmade" on the back!)
I asked Marcelo about his longboards and what makes them "uncommon". He explained,
Uncommon Boards is the result of riding with boards of different shapes, sizes and flexibility, different trucks, wheels, bearings, bushings in different places. Most of the big manufacturers have to come up with different graphics to make their boards appealing to the consumer out there. I am not into this philosophy. You will only know that my boards are "uncommon" if you ride one of them... they perform in an "out of the ordinary" way. They won't let you down.
Like Ryan, Marcelo uses Baltic birch plywood, but he also likes maple — two woods he says that have "proved their integrity" when used correctly. He's also doing some prototyping in bamboo — a material Marcelo says he likes for its flexibility and its memory properties.
Asked about his preferred finish, Marcelo quipped, "I use that polyurethane stuff — you all know." (I don't know for sure, but here's one possibility: General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat) But he also says he's "trying some different finishes, lots of experiments going on."
One board takes Marcelo two weeks to make. They're entirely handmade, and he says he is very picky. "Quality is satisfaction," he says, making it obvious he's a woodworker! He also crafts "custom pieces of furniture, custom cabinets and some doll furniture. Just kidding with the doll furniture, but, who knows?" [Joker!]
UncommonBoards.com is hoping to have online sales available soon, but for now it has pictures, contact information and a blog that you can check out if you're interested in learning more. Five-foot long skateboards — what will they come up with next, wheels that pop out of your shoes? Oh wait, that's been done....
Do you own a longboard? Have you made a longboard? Tell us about it in the comments! (And if I hear back from Ryan — with the cool boards from our Gallery — I'll let you all know). 'board safely!
Note: Header photo from Flickr through a Creative Commons license courtesy of Alex Kerney of Maine.