I started our company Thrive Vintage, with two friends of mine (John King, Tanner McGreevy) last summer, in the name of continuing what I felt like was a dying breed of skateboard. The actual long, surf inspired longboard skateboard I recalled seeing as a kid in old magazines and then later in movies seemed to no longer be in production and had not been for decades. The majority of larger boards I found seemed to be downhill or dancer boards mainly with a focus on one or the other, with “new school” hardware. We wanted to take it back, simple, stylish, and a smooth ride.
My passion with the classic “surf” style started long ago when watching movies like The Endless Summer and Big Wednesday with my dad and uncles and takingfamily surf trips to Southern California every year to see family. All this really manifested in a major way at a thrift store with my mom when I was 15 in Oklahoma City.
It was 1999, and I found a classic surf style longboard about 52’’ tall from the 1970’s that I grew to love. I couldn’t believe I found it for $2.50 at a thrift store! It almost looked petrified and others passed it by like an unusable antique water ski or something, but I would never do such a thing. This thing was beautiful!!!! It was longer than any board I’d seen, at this time in the nineties there were only a few companies mass-producing longboards most of which were between 32’’- 44’’ in length. I loved the size, it was only a few inches shorter than my snowboard, and my brothers and I always loved to snowboard but in Oklahoma we couldn’t so this longboard bridged that gap quite nicely for me year round.
After riding this board and only this board for some years I became very partial to the smooth ride and size. I was fortunate enough to get to travel and play with a band for years and we toured all over. I took this board with me everywhere that I was allowed to travel with it, and eventually rode it in all of the lower 48 U.S. states. I was constantly asked about the board, where someone could get one and where I got mine and so forth.
Finally, years later after being asked however too many times a light bulb went off so to speak and after extensive research I found that the company who made my antique board had gone under long ago in the mid-seventies. As far as I could tell there weren’t many options as far as long, surf-style cruiser boards. I had always seen different types of boards, some similar in size and shape to mine, but nothing quite like it.
After conferring with my close two friends years later (2015), we decided to moveforward with starting our company. Our focus was to improve and revive the surf style shape and smooth feel of the longboards of old, hence our company name Thrive Vintage. We took what we liked with the older surf style boards we’d seen and improved on them when we designed our staple board, which is 58” long, and almost 10’’ wide. This board has a surfy ride similar to a snowboard in the sense that you mainly have your heel and toe sides to work with. In this way, our boards differ in how they control and feel from the “new school” style board/truck setups.
I had a friend who saw one of my boards and commented on it being too pretty, or a novelty item. He was a pro rider in the circuit in SoCal and didn’t think the board was capable of performing due to its size, I was glad to cruise with him and show him otherwise. I enjoy riding my 58” everywhere I go, it still is the only board I ride, ever, downhill, cruising or whatever the case, I prefer it. I know I am partial because I’ve ridden this type board since 1999, and I am the owner of our company that makes these boards, but I say all that to say that as an avid longboarder and thrill seeking/surfer/snowboarder, I love and prefer riding the board I make to any other on earth. And that feels nice. That felt pompus typing, but I didn’t mean it that way, just happy that I am happy with the board we make and its performance.
Thrive Vintage now offers our two long-board shapes (the 58” is standard, and the petite is the 52” version of that), a munchkin, (which is that same surf-style shape but a shorter/skinnier 26” version) and a vintage bowl cruiser with a kick tail that is a throwback to the 80’s Caballero decks. Our boards showcase the natural wood grain finish and we wood burn/brand our Thrive Vintage logo and OKC city stamp on each board. We will also be doing select runs of boards with custom artwork wood burned into the bottom of each deck.
For now we mainly sell our boards through our website: ThriveVintageLLC.com