How It Started
This project came about as a gift for Tinker to commemorate his 40th year at Nike. Ryan from Earth Tech is originally from Portland and he and Tinker go way back. For this project, we made a surfskate with custom graphics and Ryan crafted a hybrid wake surf/river surf board for him. Yes, Tinker Surfs!!
Tinker's Board-Riding Tendencies
Tinker is an athlete who loves surfing. He longboards, stand up paddles, and wake surfs. We wanted to get him on a surfskate as a way for him to cross train while out of the water. A LOT of people think that when you reach a certain age, getting on a skateboard is a bad idea. The truth is that surfskating is way different than hucking down a 12-stair or bombing a hill at 40mph. While you can definitely incorporate plenty of speed, slides, and airs into surfskating, it also lends itself to being technique-focused with very careful speed control. You can actually get on our Electrical Ninja with the Alpine Trucks at a complete standstill and build momentum by just pumping. It’s a great core workout and mimics the body mechanics of surfing. It’s a real win/win.
The Custom Graphics
We wanted to pay homage to Tinker's history with Nike by using some of his shoe design sketches. The art is actually from one of Nike’s jets... yes, jets, which Tinker designed. The jet artwork is based on Tinker's original drawings of the Nike Air Max, one of his most iconic shoe designs, and they're found under the wings on the jet. We saw some parallels between the flow of flying a jet and the flow of rinding our boards, plus the wing shape was already semi-skateboard-ish so it translated well to a skate deck.
It was just too cool not to use.
Tinker's Take on Shred
Tinker has always been about experimenting with alternative technology and fabrics. He was stoked to hear about our mission to turn would-be trash into beautiful, high-performance skateboards. He knows a thing or two about making beautiful, high-performance products that go between your feet and the ground, after all. And it's entirely possible (with the right know-how) to turn upcycled surfboard waste into sustainable shoes, so you never know what kind of Shred collabs the future could hold!
Designing a Board for a Design Icon
Tinker Hatfield is an iconoclast. He’s a legend in design and his approach is inspiring. Besides the fact that this is literally the only skateboard of its kind in existence, it’s just cool to think that the guy riding it created the Jordan 3s and 11s. We don’t make shoes, but we definitely try to apply Tinker's outside-the-box thinking and pure passion for design when handcrafting our skateboards.
When reflecting on this custom board build, the image of Tinker holding the board with a big ol' smile on his face immediately comes to mind. So stoked!
Lessons and Takeaways
This custom board is a reminder for us to always get creative, think outside the box, and go the extra mile. Building custom boards for people is such a fun way to collaborate with our customers. We're honored when people trust us to come up with a completely unique design for them (like we did for Tinker) and also when we get to bring someone else's vision to life.
If you're interested in a custom-designed board, check out our Customs page where we have images from some of our favorite custom builds and a form you can fill out if you want your own custom Shred surfskate. We also have links to blank deck outlines that you can print out and sketch directly on, channeling your inner Tinker Hatfield.
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Thanks for stopping by, and remember to shred after reading.
Electrical Ninja (30")