Student designs Long Boards
Gabrela Yelton | Friday, April 19, 2013
Longboards are an increasingly popular means of transportation around campus, and one student has gone so far as to begin producing his own.
Despite the availability of well-known brands like Penny Board, Loaded, Sector 9 and Gravity, junior Michael Fisher, a Keough Hall resident, designs and makes his own longboards.
Fisher said he had little experience with longboards before he came to campus.
“I come from a small town in Wisconsin, so I hadn’t really seen longboards as a way to get around, but coming here I really liked the idea,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he researched longboards because he was tired of walking and found bikes inconvenient. He said longboards looked like a fun way to get to class but seemed too expensive. He then decided to make his own and has been doing so since last summer.
Every board Fisher makes is customizable, Fisher said. The customer decides the shape of the board, the design on the bottom, the color of the grip tape and whether or not there is a design on the grip tape.
Customers typically want the boards for transportation rather than for tricks and stunts, Fisher said.
“The people who ask me for boards aren’t looking to do crazy tricks or anything of the sort,” Fisher said. “They just want something that is sturdy and will ride around well.”
Fisher usually sells his boards for between $120 and $125, depending on the design.
“I could make a larger profit if I decided to make them in bulk, but right now they are more a way to have fun and get creative,” he said.
Fisher said he enjoys sketching and considers designing the boards a great way to channel his artistic ability. He makes his boards using baltic birch from Menards, a local hardware chain, and from wheels and trucks, which he purchases from a wholesaler. Fisher said he can get wheels in any color, including transparent and glow-in-the-dark ones.
Fisher said he has experimented a lot with the decks of his boards.
“I’ve done a lot of experimenting with different bends in the board,” he said. “I still haven’t figured out how to do drop decks yet, but I’m working on it. The artwork I usually do with stencils because it’s a lot easier to just spray paint, but I can also do brushwork.”
Fisher said he also adds fiberglass to the bottoms of all his boards and has worked on finding ways to make the boards lighter with different layers of fiberglass.
Because there is not enough room to make the boards in his dorm, Fisher said he usually works on them when he is home over breaks. He also tends to do the paint designs at home but has sometimes painted on campus.
“I’m going to be living off campus next year, though, so I’m looking forward to being able to work on them here,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he doesn’t plan on giving up on his new hobby anytime soon.
“I can definitely see myself continuing with this,” he said. “I can see myself as being that old guy riding around with his kids.”