The Best New Skateboards of 2012: BambooSK8
When you are searching for a skateboard, what are some essentials you look for? What type of skateboard do you really want to ride? Introducing BambooSK8, an Environmental and Socially Responsible Skateboarding Company Out of Oceanside, California. We got the chance to skate one of these Bamboo Decks and loved the ride. These things are hella strong. (it’s quite a challenge to break one)The bamboo actually increases your pop considerably in comparison to a maple board. We’ve never skated a deck quite like one of these. However, beyond how fantastic these boards are, the company behind them is changing the concept of skateboarding. We had the chance to speak with Geoff Koboldt, the President of BambooSK8, and here’s what he had to say:
When did you start BambooSK8 and why?
BambooSK8 started at the tail end of 2007 with our official launch at ASR in January 2008, which resulted in us catching the attention of ASI (action sports innovators), as well as being featured on NBC. We started it because we saw an incredible opportunity to help minimize the destruction that the skateboarding industry was contributing to deforestation, especially with the rise in skateboarding over the past 10 years. Towards that end, we had some experience working with bamboo and felt it would make a great alternative resource for the eco-conscious skateboarder.
What are the benefits to the environment by riding a bamboo deck?
Bamboo is a sustainable grass and only needs a few years to mature before its chutes are cut down with a hand axe. Maple on the other hand requires 40-50 years of maturity and then once cut down with a chainsaw (gas=pollution), it is gone forever. When you cut down a bamboo chute, 4-5 instantly regenerate and it doesn’t require the need to be replanted. Since our bamboo comes from managed forests directly near the factory, it doesn’t require all the transportation pollution, unlike other companies who are milling longs and shipping them overseas to get made into skateboards and then shipped back again. Bamboo gives off 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees and reduces soil erosion as well.
Do you have various sized decks accessible?
Short decks range from 7″, 7.25″, 7.5″, 7.75″, 8″, 8.25″, 8.5″ and a 10″ pool deck.
Longboards range from 31.5″ locker cruizer, 39″ square tail, 40″ drop through, 41″ drop through, 42″ double kick to 44″ pintail.
Exactly where is your company situated?
We have always been located in Oceanside, CA.
Who does your board’s artwork? Do you employ artists or deal with this in-house?
The creative process for our graphics comes from a combination of in-house and other artists whose work we have commissioned, from all over the world. We have even gone as far as having skaters submit artwork and then the community votes on that artwork. Our Panda Revolution deck comes from combining the top 2 winners out of more than 100 submissions and then our in-house designer merging them together. Recently, we had an artist create our entire 5 new longboard graphic series, which we will be launching this fall. Many of our decks are tied directly to a charity, so every sale results in anywhere from $2-$5 being donated. These charities include the Musicares, National Wildlife Federation, Grind For Life, Standup for Skateparks, American Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund and many more.
Have you been participating in any skateboarding events?
Yes, quite a few! Phoenix Am, X games, Tampa Am, Clash At Clairemont, Am Slam, Seismic US open, Revolt Summer Surf Series, GreenFest, Ocean Beach Farmer Branch Skate Jam, Central Coast Jam, OG series, CASL, and many more little contests around the country.
Tell me about your riders, Ryan Strader, Alex Marshall, Mikee Brown, Terrence Marshall and David Kahn.
We’ve assembled a great team of skaters who represent our company proudly. Ryan Strader took 12th at the Phoenix Am, which is a strong finish amongst hundreds of the best am skaters out there. He also competed strongly at the Tampa Am. David Kahn has been busy tearing up things at Woodward while touring across the country from Florida hitting up all the great skate spots in between. The other guys have been shredding daily. We’re working on putting out a little video in the fall so we can bring some more attention to these amazing guys.
Inform me about the material/technical differences of using bamboo versus using a maple board from a skater’s viewpoint, does the bamboo board offer much more pop, strength and durability?
#1 feature of our decks is the POP. Bamboo is highly elastic with incredible rebound. In fact, we have a video of Ryan skating in Hollywood and the board flies out into Hollywood boulevard and gets run over. Ryan grabs the deck and gets right back on it as if nothing even happened. Years ago we blind tested the decks at Sole Tech’s STI lab and the results on the day of testing that we were physically there resulted in 3″ higher ollie than a maple deck. POP is consistently the main feature talked about by the skaters who skate the decks.
#2 feature is the strength. Bamboo is highly dense like Hickory Pecan, which is the strongest hardwood. Therefore, you have a lighter board on average with greater strength. The decks are known for withstanding incredible force and therefore, durable with less razor tail.
What is your company’s philosophy, what do you wish to attain moving forward?
The very core of who we are revolves around being social entrepeneurs who constantly give back to our communities and our industry. Like I mentioned earlier, the sales of our decks are tied to many charities and non-profits. We also try to surround ourselves with other ecological companies who also want to make a difference for this planet as we ourselves are very environmentall-focused, not only as a company but as individuals. In 2012, we officially launched the 100 decks for 1 program. This equates to 1 skateboard being given to an at-risk youth for every 100 decks we sell. While this is something we have always done since day 1 of starting our company, we wanted to publicly announce this in hopes that it would raise some awareness for others to also help contribute.