Since 1963… with a few blackouts here and there. This started out as just lame quickie because I wanted to post a picture of this wacky old plastic Makaha skateboard that I’ve always loved. In the beginning, just as with Nash, Makaha was a real company. Makaha was one of the first skateboard companies, and the first one to use clay wheels. Owner Larry Stevenson has an actual patent on the kicktail! Their web site claims to have made the first production longboard as well. Also like Nash, unfortunately, at some point in the 70′s Makaha started turning plastic toys. After the jump there are some more examples of Makaha’s past and present.
Check out this blast from the past below. The Makaha web site has a lot of history, but not enough if you ask me. Part of the problem is that it’s all done in flash and you can’t click to enlarge the pictures. High volumes of that kind of content is tedious to work into a flash presentation.
Back to the board that started this post, this picture of the underside shows how the wacky truck was mounted to the board. If you look at the top you see one bolt sticking through per truck. Basically, the top of the plastic skateboard is acting as the baseplate for the truck. The pivot point just rests inside a plastic housing. It’s an ingenious method for cutting costs. High performance? Not so much. This yellow board was probably the most distinct Makaha product from the era. It’s got an odd race car/rocket dynamic that would have appealed to any 11 year old boy. This is the skateboard they should be reissuing!
The web site is big on the 60′s history of the company but kind of mum on the 70′s and beyond. I didn’t even know they were around in the 80′s and 90′s. Occasionally you’d see it advertised in Poweredge magazine as Coming Soon! but the product and rebirth of the company never seemed to materialize, at least not to anyone outside of the immediate vicinity. It seemed like they were working on the idea but the capital fell through. Actually, I seem to remember Makaha being one of the backers of Poweredge, but I wouldn’t place any bets on it.
Although they are made out of plastic, they have heavy duty construction and a very solid aesthetic to them that is really noticeable in the black board below. So these were the highest quality of toy skateboards.
You can’t fault Larry for trying to cash in on the recent wave of collector hysteria. His name and company is firmly cemented in skateboarding’s past. He has to do it now because it won’t be too long before the guys that appreciate the brand name won’t be in a position or mind set to collect them anymore. They’ve gone back to the route of craftsmanship. These boards aren’t cheap by any means. Not just modified or tribute re-issues, they are almost more like museum quality recreations. Head on over to the Makaha web site to check it out.
Lastly, speaking of quality reissues, check out this glamor shot Larry’s beauty queen wife Helen from 1959.