If you’ve been a Skate The East reader for any amount of time you’ve heard about Surf-Rodz and how they’ve been changing the precision game by putting prices through the floor and making trucks that ride like nothing else on the market. This past Thursday I took another trip down to Surf-Rodz to talk a little bit about both what Surf-Rodz is doing to help promote and change the longboarding industry as well as how they’re quickly changing the precision game. For this post, however, I’m going to focus on how they’re trying to change the industry as a whole, part 2 will focus on what they’re doing in terms of efficiency and how it’s a huge win for skaters everywhere.
When I say that Surf-Rodz is innovating constantly, it’s not just in the truck game (although I did see something special that I can’t talk about yet ;-)), it’s in the industry as a whole, and they aren’t just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk. When I first went down to Surf-Rodz this past Thursday I had some questions I wanted to ask that got the conversation started and showed me just how forward thinking Surf-Rodz was. If you’re a fan of the Surf-Rodz page on Facebook then you might have seen an image similar to the one I have here on the right, and if you’re like me you asked yourself, “What the hell is Surf-Rodz doing on a race car?” Luckily, I’ve got an answer, and it’s indicative of the future of longboarding. First, let’s actually look at who Surf-Rodz is sponsoring.
Rit Pustari Racing is a Top Fuel Drag Racing lead by none other than, you guessed it, Rit Pustari from Norwalk, CT. He’s been involved in racing for the past 15 years and boy does he go FAST. I’m talking 0-100mp/h in 0.1 seconds — ONE TENTH OF A SECOND! Know what else goes fast on asphalt? RKPs…are we starting to see a small connection? Surf-Rodz Road Division and Pustari Racing, both fast on asphalt, both appeal to a similar crowd. It goes even further than that though, it’s about breaking down the walls that are currently constricting longboarding from growing to it’s full potential.
So how is this all going to help longboarding as a whole? Attention. When Rit roars down the strip, although it just takes a matter of seconds, the lasting impression that Surf-Rodz is going to make on everyone from other drivers, pit crews, commentators, and spectators is putting the sport in the minds of many people who haven’t touched a skateboard since they were in their teens. It brings new attention to the sport that will inevitably attract other major sponsors, such as Nike, Addidas, RedBull, EA Sports, ESPN and similar companies, meaning new and positive change for the sport.
These bigger sponsors will allow the sport to grow and solidify. Their involvement would mean bigger downhill and freeride competitions with real prize money, allowing a professional longboarder to make a living off of the sport they love and work tirelessly on. Could you envision a 6 city downhill racing and freeride tour? With real prize money and TV coverage, maybe with the finals even making it into the X-Games? I know I can, and it’s a vision that has potential to be converted into reality. Involvement from big, outside sponsors also means more innovation for the average rider as the sport’s increased popularity will bring incentive for bright minds to come up with new ways to design, and produce, efficient and effective longboarding equipment. Lower prices for better products? Doesn’t sound like a bad thing if you ask me.
So why haven’t we seen this before from other big players in the longboarding industry? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the sport is only now ready for it. With 1,200 racers at the Broadway Bomb in New York City this month and over 900 at the Board Meeting in Toronto at the beginning of the summer it’s clear that longboarding isn’t a fad that’s going away. In fact, it’s a movement that has been growing strong and steady and is just now ready to break out and grow into its shoes, so to speak.
Do we expect to see other longboard companies running out to sponsor race cars or sports teams? No, probably not, but we think you’ll start seeing a trend of longboard companies and other, “mainstream” sports companies starting to intermingle a little. It’s a sign of our sport starting to grow up and mature while still maintaining it’s special and unique culture that we’ve all come to know and love. It’s an exciting time to be in longboarding right now, we’re seeing the future become reality every day, and the best is yet to come. Surf-Rodz is leading the way by breaking out of the industry to spread the stoke, props to them for having the vision and the cajones to go ahead and take the jump! Cheers to making it better for the rest of us!
I’m including a gallery of some of the other pictures I got while down at the shop. Check out the custom board that Surf-Rodz did to match the car, talk about swag!
Ladies and gentlemen start your engines…