Pure crap or Pure Genius? In the late 80’s I wouldn’t have been caught dead on a Variflex board, now I kind of want to make a t-shirt out of this old sticker design. The post on the Variflex XP series still gets a lot of traffic, but I’d never seen a Spittle board… until I googled it after writing that last sentence. I found one from Ebay seller toddtwist, AKA Sean Goff. Turns out the Spittle board looks semi-legit. This one sold for a killing at $280 considering NOS Variflex XP series were going for $70 8 years ago. Art of Skateboarding dates this board to 1988, and they’ve got one in a nice white colorway.
UPDATE: Justin Goetz has a mind like steel trap. He recognized this deck from an old Lance Mountain column in the November, 1989 issue of Transworld. It’s actually a pro model for Michel Spitalhouse. I added scans to the end of the post.
Instead of my usual Random Florida Spot Check, this year I’m bringing you Random Crap Skateboard. These were spotted at a store called 5 Below, which is like an upscale Dollar Store if that’s even possible. Surprisingly, the wheels on these things actually roll.
Barney Google, he had a wife and couldn’t keep her… maybe because he bought her one of these Minions branded skateboards with built in googly eyes. Yes, the eyes inset on the top of the deck wobble around. I can imagine kids crashing into all sorts of obstacles while trying to skate and watch the eyes move around. Excellent idea!
These images were sparked by a post in the Vintage Skatemag Gallery for a board called the Chaka Zulu. I had a vague recollection of these advertisements from back in the day as being some sort of foil clad foam core deck, but I wasn’t sure. Nathan McDernott saw the post and sent in some pictures of his Galaxy board collection. He has confirmed that these are foam core boards clad in a thin sheet of metal. He also mentioned there were some Nash skateboards made with the same technology. Texas Rec Corporation was the manufacturer of the Galaxy skateboards, and their mailing address in Wichita Falls, Texas is about 120 miles from Nash’s location in Fort Worth. These two companies are separate entities, so the Nash models might have come about through geographical proximity and one company or the other reaching out for more business. Both Nash and Texas Rec are still in business, primarily making water sports accessories, with Nash tending towards the more active items you might ride on, while Texas Rec makes a lot of lounge chairs and life jacket related items.
This is a curious product. I imagine it came into being via a discussion about the quickest way to cash in on a fad while spending the least amount of money. They must have thought the very clean design and sharp top graphic would fool an unsuspecting customer into thinking this was an actual skateboard, and if you glance at it sideways and squint your eyes, it look s good. The strangest thing is that the Starter Skate allegedly comes out of England in the 70’s. We’re talking England in the 70s, not Soviet Russia in the 60’s. I asked Neil about it, he said he’d never seen one before. The UK had much better crappy skateboard technology, so this one is puzzling. I’ve seen boards with fixed wheels passed off as skateboards before, but never with such presentation. This one sold for about $50, and the fact that anyone bought it at all is no doubt in large part due to the very nice pictures the seller provided. This looks like a prop from a Back to the Future movie if McFly traveled to Nazi Germany.
Bow before my arcane knowledge of useless skateboard related information. This Valterra Rad-isaurus looks suspiciously similar to Denver the Last Dinosaur. Both appear to be released in 1988, although I can’t tell for sure about the Valterra board, the copyright is hard to read. They both appear to be the similar species, and they both wear mohawks and sunglasses, but only the Rad-isaurus has pants. Denver is obscene! Won’t someone please think of the children? Follow me dear readers, and we will tackle the question that archeologists have been pondering for decades: “What happens when a group of pop-a-wheely, BMXer, fun-loving, skateboarding, and rock-music-listening contemporary kids open an ancient dinosaur egg?”
From the same company that brought you Super Bat Justice Man, comes Ninja Frog on a skateboard. You might notice a similarity to certain Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t usually have this sort of encyclopedic knowledge at my fingertips, but the phrase “Non-fall Action” was oddly familiar, so looking it up wasn’t hard. The frog on the left is actually riding a skateboard, although it’s hard to make out. Those are turtles riding skateboards on the right, which is an actual graphic on one of a few different TMNT skateboards. it looks like one of them has a Hosoi knockoff!
I’ve seen a lot of Nash skateboards over the years, but I’ve never seen the Ramp-ant, which you can buy from Hermann’s Attic on Ebay. I’m not sure what the LSD inspired artist was going for, but I can’t believe they missed the obvious opportunity for a double pun had there actually been an ant on a ramp on the bottom of this deck. Even so, it’s a pretty great example of a horrible graphic. It reminds me of the Tubes for some reason. A Tarampula could probably take this Ramp-ant.
A trip to the toy store almost never disappoints when looking for Skate and Annoy fodder. One of the Kryptonics license holders makes some plastic skateboards that are near Penny board quality, the wheels have decent bearings and they spin quite freely. The trucks are tight, but they have a little room to loosen built in already. The deck design, namely the kicktail and off-putting concave could be better, but it’s not an abomination. At $40, you could do worse when shopping for a beginner who just wants to roll. (UPDATE: Looks like a Mojo Pahse III) Then there’s this Disney character board with Jake and the Neverland Pirates that appears to be molded in one piece, trucks included! Almost ready to ride right off the injection molding machine, just add bearings and wheels.