Bear Walker claims that his inherent manual labor skills originate from a background of working his way up from hauling debris to completing framing and finishing work for his father’s construction company. Before long,
Bear Walker, founder of Kodiak Boards.
Walker began to pursue his skill set down a more artistic path. In attaining a degree in Graphics from Clemson, his capstone project of a metallic ink skateboard sparked his interest in skateboard design that would eventually manifest itself to become Kodiak Boards.
From there, Walker embarked on a painstaking journey of trial and error to select the best wood, plies and configurations for developing his own line of longboards and cruisers. As he described the process of ups and downs, “Some snapped, some looked strange, some were too stiff, too flexible, too hard to carve into, too soft to withstand the wear and tear of being a longboard.”
Bear ensures that the boards are produced flawlessly.
Above all, finding the balance between functionality as grip and maintenance of the boards integrity posed the largest problem in designing Kodiak Boards’ iconically carved top layers. As someone who rides the boards every day looking for potential flaws, Walker is confident that the top carving pattern actually improves grip, in the absence of grip tape.
The CNC design on the top of the deck means you can go griptape free.
To achieve the intricately cut patterns, Walker designs each individual line and uses a tabletop CNC to etch the designs out. Typically, after up to 10 attempts to perfect each of Kodiak Boards’ models, Walker is ready to move on to what he cites is the real work of the process. Once off the machine, each board goes through a sanding process that provides a hand filed finish to every edge of the board. From there, the bottoms of each deck are routed, sanded and branded en route to receiving the secret Kodiak Boards touch. In the end, the polished look is set to withstand all sorts of weather, routing abuse and plenty of good times.
In sum, six years after the foremost design, Kodiak Boards recently came back from the shores of a photoshoot in Costa Rica for the launch of their new line of 23” Surfers. You can check up on the process of this drop on their Instagram here.