When you think of old school-styled cruiser boards made in Australia, it’s tough not to have the name Penny come to mind. However, the crew behind Victoria-based, Hunt Skateboards has a completely different project on their hands that combines modern versatility with the glory of 50s/60s skate nostalgia.
At first glance, these boards look similar to the Skee Skate by Tresco but with a contemporary, hand crafted finish and a set of trucks and wheels that look like they could handle far more than the metal wheeled contraptions of decades past. Nevertheless, Founder Alex Hunt claims that it was not one specific board that inspired their hallmark shape, but rather a general appreciation of skateboard manufacturers from that era that has given Hunt Skateboards their direction.
Speaking on the creative process, he told us, “The shape we ended up with actually evolved through trial and error when we were developing our concepts back in 2014. We had tried everything; every shape, style, type as a means of being innovative but we were always drawn back to the basics – the hardwood cruiser – I guess it has a nostalgic quality that can’t be tainted.”
With a tried and true model as the base, the allure of Hunt Skateboards stems from the updated maneuverability that these boards bring to the table. Upon first push, these boards are inherently easy to pick up and ride. As such, their style has been described as something in between a longboard and a Penny Skateboard. These things are designed with speed in mind and come with all the carving abilities to make it happen. They also handle with optimal responsiveness and are resistant to speed wobbles. For a casual cruiser, Hunt Skateboards check all the right boxes.
When it comes to those who have put their boards to the test, Hunt claims their customers range from hipsters to hardcore skaters to surfers to casual skaters of all ages. In line with their vision of creating an accessible ride for all – this is exactly the clientele that Hunt was shooting for. “When we were developing Hunt Skateboards, our primary focus was to develop not only a board that felt perfect under the feet, but also one that suited the broad spectrum of skaters, from beginners to advanced,” Hunt added.
As for the minds behind the brand, Alex Hunt and his partner, Caitlin Jostlear, interestingly ran the operation out of their van for the entirety of 2017. Equipped with a batch of blank decks, the pair set off on a 12 month road trip across the country, putting the finishing touches on boards and selling them as they went. Through their travels, they were able to remarkably get their boards under the feet of skaters in every state in Australia.
By the end of the excursion, van life had run it’s course as the Hunt Skateboards operation left the road with a head full of life lessons and a grip of common sense to continue their endeavors with. Now, instead of a lifestyle of long term travel, the team is about to settle into a sizable headquarters of their own. With half of the space dedicated to a workshop and the other half dedicated as a show room/hang out space, the plans for a new working environment sound like they’ll be the perfect place to further foster Hunt’s craftsmanship. Along with the new space, the team is also gearing up for the release of new hardware featuring the brand’s signature branding.
From there, the future of Hunt Skateboards will be driven by the pursuit of finding good times and celebrating the means of reaching them. To sum this vision up, Hunt concluded by telling us, “We are deeply engaged in what has always fueled the overall culture of skating/surfing and that is its creative, laid-back attitude to seeking a good time and release. With respect to the innovative, forward thinking skateboard manufacturers – to us, it is about keeping it simple and staying true to the core values of the industry. That is, as we have said to others before you, to the likes of when the skateboard was fist invented; it wasn’t about designing something new, rather finding an alternative to surfing when there were no waves. This is what we celebrate – a collective that is about enjoying life and appreciating something that allows one to do so.”
Concrete Wave has been covering Carver’s unique trucks since 1999. Their appeal isn’t just for skaters, they are firmly rooted in surfing. It was this connection to the ocean that led to an inspired collaboration with Bureo. NET
Who is Bureo you might ask? They are a company that makes skateboards out of recycled fishing nets. I sat down with David Stover one of its founding members, along with Carver’s head of marketing, Peter Shu to find out more.
Carver has collaborated in the past with Loaded to create the Poke. But this collaboration was different for a number of reasons. “This is one of the first philanthropic partnerships we’ve done” says Peter. “We are using sustainable materials and we know it’s truly a unique collaboration.”
“The initial idea of the two companies working together came about by Greg Falk and Neil Carver (founders and partners of Carver) who contacted me via email” explains David. “Greg was quite impressed with the idea and had heard about through an artist friend.” Fishnets to skateboards is definitely an idea that grabs your attention but it quite a bit of time to develop. The problem of fishnets polluting the world’s oceans is absolutely massive. There are thousands of tons of fishnets that get lost at sea. These nets trap fish and attract scavengers like sharks that also get trapped. By reclaiming these nets Bureo hopes to inspire people to think about what kind of ecological footprint they are leaving. Just Google “ghost fishing” to get an idea of how devastating the problem of lost nets is for the world’s oceans.
Bureo launched their first model – The Minnow in 2014. The collaboration builds on the fish theme with the introduction of the AHI. The deck features the same “gill-like” traction top as the Minnow, but there are now three areas that users can apply custom griptape. “The AHI is actually modelled after one of Carver’s best-selling templates” says Peter. “We didn’t just take something we already had – we customized things and added things like concave.” Both Peter and David were quick to point out that the key element in creating the AHI was performance. The plastic is as rigid as any wooden deck you’d ride and the kicktail and slightly upturned nose keep your feet firmly in place.
While the fishing nets are recycled from Chile, the decks are made in America. The same goes with the wheels, trucks and all the other components. The key thing about Carver is their attention to detail and how much they focus on top-quality components. This was born out by the trip I took to their El Segundo offices. “The nuts on the trucks are highest grade you can find” Peter proudly tells me.
Over the past several years, plastic skateboards have taken a huge part of the market share from traditional wood companies. And yet plastic cruisers have also brought in a brand new set of customers. David feels the functionality and performance of the AHI separates from the typical plastic decks on offer. “You can set up cones and work on your moves and get better” says David. “The sustainability component also helps to differentiate the AHI.”
As anyone who has braved the traffic of the greater Los Angeles area will tell you, traffic can be a nightmare. Mercifully, the Carver and Bureo offices are located within five miles of each other. The teams spent a lot of time testing prototypes and discussing ways to improve the offering.
“We really enjoyed testing the prototypes with the Carver team and having such a solid and knowledgeable sounding board throughout the development of the AHI” says David. “It’s always fun to know how much went into the project and then see the response from the riders and watch them rip through a few turns!
Bureo started the recycling program with one fishing community in Chile and this has since expanded to 15 locations. To date, Bureo has recycled about 100 tons of material which translates in over 200,000 pounds of fishing nets. “As we get traction we are aiming to set up similar partnerships with communities” says David. “We are also hoping to work with the automotive, building and furniture industries.”
In honor of the release of the AHI, Concrete Wave is giving away one complete set up.
In 100 words or less, we’d like to read your thoughts about ghost fishing. The best answer (as judged by Carver and Bureo) will be awarded a complete.
Please submit your entry by September 30 to firstname.lastname@example.org