More designers butt into skateboarding

Paul Smith limited skateboard

Paul Smith is a UK designer. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t skate. His web site offers a really expensive limited edition skateboard that seems to be identical in every way to the non limited edition model except it costs an extra $300. Paul Smith isn’t the first designer, or the first Paul to get into limited edition skateboards.

My first thought was that these Paul Smith skateboards were just more hipster bullshit. These boards aren’t going to be ridden, they are most likely destined to lean in a corner of some loft apartment. The owner will probably chat about it at cocktail parties. You know, I have half a mind to take it out for spin some time, but Cassandra thinks it’s bad idea because I’m too old. She also says I’m not old enough to have a mid life crisis. – Or maybe some trust fund hippie will buy it, who knows. There’s also the culture of design enthusiasts. Probably not much of an intersect with the old school eBay skateboard crowd there. These Paul Smith board look good, except for the wide shot of the pink wheels. They spent a lot of time crafting the total look and appeal of the deck, down to the over-designed Seismic trucks, only to blow it on the crapy looking pink wheels that don’t match the aesthetic. Not a good combo for the intended audience, or any audience for that matter.

I decided to check out the manufacturer of the boards, Bottega Montana which is primarily a furniture design firm in Montana run by two Italian brothers. These are highly crafted hardwood boards. It’s all about the woodworking. Every product has the Bottega Montana distinctive joint, even the skateboards. You can question the price vs. performance ratio to be sure, but that’s not the point of these boards. At $395 and up, They are more like family heirloom skateboards, if you can wrap your head around that idea. A couple of the boards even go beyond the classic surfboard inspired shapes. Too rich for my blood for sure, but I can certainly appreciate the quality of the work and care that goes into making one of them. I’m sure they are beautiful to hold in your hands.

Bottega Montana skateboards

So now we come to another designer’s limited edition skateboard. A few years back, Paul Frank had some limited edition skateboard decks produced, and the evidence of their existence seems to have virtually disappeared firm the web. Comparing these mass produced popsicle sticks to the Bottega Montana boards is kind of like comparing a work of fine art to something bought at one of those traveling starving artists shows where the landscapes have been produced by non-skilled sponge-stamping assembly line workers.

I couldn’t find any pictures of the Paul Frank skateboards, so I thought this would be a good place to show this skirt he produced made up of appropriated old school skateboard company logos. It’s actually kind of funny and dates around the time the (Paul Frank) boards were made.

Paul Frank Skateboard logo skirt

3 Comments

  1. Nothing to do with designers but Lonnie Toft is making skateboards with bamboo laminates that are some handsome hand-crafted action. 4 or 8-wheelers.

    Not sure if he’s selling them but that bamboo is more sustainable than maple.

  2. Thank you for the article.
    Maple with oak and walnut are as sustainable as Bamboo,
    see here for more info.
    http://www.bottegamontana.com/sustainibility.html
    ciao.

  3. That’s good news but I’m not sure you are correct.

    Bamboo can grow a foot a day, with one species recorded to have grown almost four feet in a single day. How long does it take to grow a maple tree to a size that is useable for lumber? How long does it take to use up a skateboard?

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