by Cajsa Carlson
In an attempt to share the original, rebellious spirit of skateboarding with a younger generation, graffiti artist and European skateboard industry veteran Dave the Chimp is bringing his passion for the activity to a new venture this summer. Chimp, who works with Mob Skateboards, Vans, Mischief Skateboards and Mabasi, has added yet another arrow to his quiver with his youth-focused brand Solid Skateboards.
Chimp started the company with CEO Richie Löffler (who runs and rides for Hamburg's Trap Skateboards) and production manager Julian Dykmans, a former long time pro at Antiz Skateboards. Solid Skateboards is a way for the three founders to give something back to a culture that has given them "travel, friends and adventure," Chimp tells CH. And the main goal of the company is to bring back some of skateboarding's positive vibes and rebellious attitude. "We want to keep this spirit alive in an ever-increasingly athletic- and money-dominated activity,” he says.
Influenced by past and present skateboard artists including Jim Phillips, Ron Cameron, Mark Gonzalez, Andy Howell, Andy Takajian, Neil Blender and VCJ, Chimp (who works as Solid's Art Director) set about designing graphics that would inspire kids the way those artists inspired him, and focused on creating boards that fit children at all stages of their skating development.
With graphics featuring bats, eyeballs and puking monsters, Solid Skateboards aims to suit kids at the very first stages of skating, while remaining playfully appealing as they enter their early teens. “Most brands aimed at kids just take adult products and scale them down, but that doesn't really work—and most of the graphics are lame. I want to make graphics that make kids’ eyes pop out, and make them think, 'This is the board I want! I wonder if I can get away with this?'" Chimp says.
The company's beginners board, Kids Wide, targets kids aged between three and six years old, and has a shorter nose to keep the weight down. It’s wide (to help with balance) and has a special foam-grip that will help hold the rider's feet in place when standing, but won't rip out the knees of pants should the rider decide to paddle around a bit—a reassuring feature for parents tired of buying new clothes for passionate mini-skaters. The brand also offers boards for kids up to 13 years old, including a cruiser shape for those looking for a smoother, more stable ride. With this, the simple shape allows for tricks at the skatepark, while the softer, 85a durometer wheels make it ideal for transport around town.
Solid Skateboards aims "to change lives for the better, just like skateboarding changed ours,” Chimp says. Which perfectly reflects their collective desire to introduce children to skateboarding's original, untamed, DIY roots.
Monster boards are available online now, while the special shapes (beginner, cruiser, longboard) will be available 1 August 2014. Prices start at €90 for completes.
Images courtesy of Solid Skateboards