Blue Sky Longboards is a company based just outside NYC with roots deep in the history of board culture. Matt gives us the lowdown on Blue Sky along with some insight into longboarding.
Blue Sky Longboards http://www.blueskylongboards.com will be launching their brand this spring. One snowy evening in late January, I got to catch up with Matt, the creator of Blue Sky Longboards, and find out more about them and how it is that they have already got incredible buzz about their upcoming line of longboards. NYC has become a longboarding epicenter. For contours, comfort, smoothness and style, Blue Sky builds boards to bring out the best in each rider.
Matt, how did you get into longboarding and making boards; how long have you been riding?
I’ve been skating forever and got a longboard about eight years ago. I started skating at age four on a rollerskate board, you know , roller skate wheels on a piece of wood. That lasted about four days. It was 1971 and the Z Boys were my heroes. I got into snowboarding early on http://www.visualnews.com/2011/01/01/old-school-snowboarding-ads-from-78-to-92/ and rode one of Jake Burton’s first boards back in the early 80’s. I also worked with Steve Link and Summit Snowboards; he worked for Tom Sims. I was actually one of the first people in the world certified to teach snowboarding. That was at Breckenridge in Colorado. I continued to make and help shape boards; I have always enjoyed the process. One of my favorite things was to get up early and get out there on the mountain first while everything was still freshly groomed and just bomb the slopes. That’s what I like to do now, too and longboarding translates well to that. It’s a natural transition.
So you’ve been involved in the lifestyle a long time.
I’ve been skateboarding for 40 years. It has been my biggest passion, other than my family. Last year I did scrape my head for the first time– nothing major – but it made me think seriously about keeping all four wheels on the ground! Once you get to be a certain age, it’s more challenging. Back in the day, it was slow-mo when you were falling– you saw yourself and could catch yourself, now your on the ground before you even know your falling!
You’re not kidding. You also don’t heal up so quickly! So how are your boards coming along? Tell me about starting Blue Sky Longboards.
My son, Noah and I went to the Broadway Bomb and we were riding shapes I had cut. I threw Blue Sky Longboards on them. I had never met Ryan (Daughtridge) from Bustin’ Boards before that http://bustinboards.com/– I met him at the Broadway Bomb and I told him we wanted to start making boards. He liked the shapes, and gave me some advice. I started to get to work on making this happen. We’ve gotten tons of interest so far.
We met with manufacturers, the Chapman brothers, (Glenn and Gregg) – these guys make boards for some of the biggest brands – and prepped for the shapes. The Chapman’s were instrumental in our process. I cut a few decks so people could ride them and test them out. We tweaked them here and there to get them where we wanted them to be. We then started working on the website www.blueskylongboards.com and really started an active conversation on Twitter @bluskylongboard. We now have a few thousand followers around the world all waiting for our launch! It’s very exciting. People will be able to order from our site and get our longboards in shops. So we’ll do both wholesale and retail.
What other things have you planned for Blue Sky?
At Blue Sky, we really want to make a difference in peoples lives. One of the first groups we connected with is Longboarding USA www.longboardingusa.com. We are the official board sponsor for these two brothers, Tanner and Caleb, which are longboarding across the USA to raise money for some really worthwhile causes. We will provide boards as well as a financial donation. I hope people will check them out and pitch in. We have also teamed up with Boarding 4 Breast Cancer (B4BC). This year we are only involved in regional events for them but next year I hope to be involved on a national level. I truly believe you have to give before you receive.
Who designs your boards?
I do most of the designing. Noah helps with designing, too; he has opinions what he likes, including wheels and trucks. He wants to enjoy it (making & riding boards)but not have too much responsibility he just wants to hang out and be part of it. He is only 13 and starting high school next year so I cant blame him. I would love to build Blue Sky, it’s my passion and then perhaps in the future if Noah is interested, he can have it and run with it.
What’s the longboarding scene like in NYC? It’s pretty incredible from what I understand.
With Bustin Boards being headquartered here, it’s very active, really cool. There are guys doing incredible stuff that I wasn’t aware of until I got deeper into the scene. Tricks I never imagined on longboards being done, some of these kids are really pushing envelope, really innovative. The kids doing it remind me of the Z-Boys! http://www.sonyclassics.com/dogtown/ It is so progressive and the whole longboarding scene has a good vibe. The Broadway Bomb was amazing and had a huge turnout and major support.
The Broadway Bomb is how I heard about Blue Sky.
Everybody was so welcoming. It was a good group of people and a lot of energy. These newer longboards are the first real innovations in skateboards in a long time. The longboards and smaller cruisers are so responsive you can just fly..so much smoother. Kids are gravitating to longboarding. It’s seeing a rapid growth, probably the fastest part of the skate industry right now.
So the good word about Blue Sky is already out.
We’ve had people reach out to us from all over the world. Were all really excited about launching Blue Sky, even guys in the industry are excited about it. People seem to really like the name, it’s got a positive vibe. Hey, we’re not shooting for the moon we just want to create a positive and progressive brand. We want a good niche not a hard edge vibe. Our boards are a smooth and responsive ride.
So who rides longboards?
Every age group is riding but there are a lot college kids going back and forth and also people who use a longboard to commute to work. There are older guys that used to ride skateboards getting back into riding but this time they are on longboards. There are also the younger kids. There are a certain amount of people with discretionary money, too that enjoy the luxury of buying a nice board and also people with several boards in their collections.
A Little Bit About Longboarding
Longboards are longer skateboards with considerably larger, softer wheels than on a freestyle or street skateboard. The reverse kingpin trucks help riders to surf the pavement, cruise fast and also turn well with great maneuverability. Longboarding can be an easier, more immediate and fun way for beginners to get into skateboarding.
Longboarding offers riders the opportunities to cruise, carve, bomb hills, slalom, speedboard, freeride, dance or boardwalk, distance ride, and slide, which opens up possibilities for fitness, transportation, downhill, and trick-riding. Longboarding is really the source of all things skateboarding. In the 1950s and 60s, when surfers put wheels on wood and tried to get the same feeling of surfing on dry land, that surf riding was the genesis of the sport of skateboarding. The growing popularity of longboarding is just the sport coming full circle and many types of riders respond to longboarding and can enjoy it, no matter what their level of ability.
Do people get different boards for different uses?
Sure, for different uses or just because they like different boards, so both. People like the artwork on the boards and like the shape. I am really happy with both the shape and graphics on our first line. We carry a look and feel across all of our shapes so when you see a Blue Sky board you’ll now it’s ours. I will be signing and numbering our first batches. Of course we are also selling t-shirts and other propaganda.
When will Blue Sky launch?
We launch on March 30th.
Follow them on Twitter @BluSkyLongboard https://twitter.com/#!/BluSkyLongboard for video, pics, and a great community of riders from around the globe.
4º Flatspot Series Slide Jam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNGNeAIHsrw
Technical longboard riding video Longboarding Whips and Chains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma2NghDOOsw&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Longboarding – Sunny Side Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wR50uITrnE&feature=related
Stand Up longboarding documentary http://blog.udmag.net/stand-up-longboard-documentary-is-out/
Endless Roads 3 Land of Castles http://vimeo.com/35557633 longboard girls crew
Interested in distance skateboarding? Check out http://www.theidsa.org/ the International Distance Skateboarding Association to get involved.
Want to be even more immersed in the longboard push culture? Freshpaved Magazine http://www.freshpavedmag.com/about is a great place to hang out on the web.