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judahman

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Reply with quote  #1 
It hit me the other day that I've yet to see a comprehensive account of
Wes' unique design development of the wide board for vertical.
We've all heard about the chance discovery that as Wes started making decks,
the decks got wider simply cause he was using a fat marker to trace existing
deck shapes onto new. Of course what followed afterwards was not by "chance",
but rather the artist/designer facing the struggles of design development, testing
and marketing.  The various skatemags have never done a great job of telling
the history of the sport; "style" and "fashion" dominates. I know the latter are
also important to skating culture, but I think many of us here are more interested
in the design history of skating, especially Wes' singular achievements. 
(Some of you know by now that I'm married to an academic, so I apologize
if some of this sounds pedantic.)   
I'm interested in whether the designs were mostly driven by the DT surf-style
of skating, or if other influences came into play.  Like one can see where the
whole street skating thing has shaped board design toward a lighter, smaller and
bi-directional board. Its suited to a type of skating that values highly technical
"tricks" over  flowing carves, for instance.   But on the other hand, I'm wondering if there was a point where you, Wes, had to let go of the surf-style as
the main influence on your designs, like you discovered you were on to something else beyond that? 
And on a personal note, as a furnituremaker and designer, I'm interested in
whether there were any up-hill battles or struggles you had to overcome 
Wes, to make the whole thing viable. The public doesn't always see the value
in a new design and I imagine there was still that prejudice when you were
starting out, like "Why are you still playing with these toys?"

Thanks for listening, and I apologize if any of this is an imposition.
Dan Marciano aka judahman
Bulldog

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Reply with quote  #2 
Huuuum let me go get some beer,  think about it & I'll get back to Ya.....OK..



Wes


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BenJAMMIN

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Reply with quote  #3 

I would definitely be interested in reading that story.  I am fascinated in the evolution of skate history, specifically design changes and the factors which drove the change.  I am a fan of the wide decks, maybe it's because I am taller and find them more comfortable, but reading/hearing interviews with influential persons and industry pioneers is quite a treat, and hearing Wes share his thoughts on the wide decks would be enchanting.... and in your honor Wes, I would drink a cold frothy one while reading your memoirs

SkateFink

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Reply with quote  #4 

Hell yeah Dan.........good call. Wes, I thought you quit drinkin'?? Oh my God, what was I thinking?? you're IRISH!


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FakieMaster

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Reply with quote  #5 

Seems like writing about 12" wide decks would require a 12-pack of micro brew!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog
Huuuum let me go get some beer,  think about it & I'll get back to Ya.....OK..



Wes



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Bulldog

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Reply with quote  #6 
Shut up Pat!   


OK I'm guessing 76 late 76 Jim & I had been making boards in my yard for a wile & we started off with some of the boards Jim had got from Sims wile on that team after the Z-Boys...   I shortened one to 31" & put a wedge tail on it from what I had cut off & it worked really good....   
But all the boards at this time were a solid piece of wood that would split if Ya lost it into a curb or something like that, so we would take the board we just split & Trace around it using it for a template for the next because that was the best board we had made up to that point...        So using felt pens as they were called back then the line was pushed out a little each time so the boards were getting wider & then we started getting wider wood also...

The wider boards worked better & everyone that rode one had to have one & they liked the art to!    So we were jumping .5" getting wider & wider then Jim thought 9" would rock & I have Big Feet & went for a 10" any time I left my board unguarded B. Paul or Arther Lake would snag it & ride till I grabbed them & took it back, so it was clear they were working...

Ray found these We Willy Winkell 8-Wheeler uncut Blanks that were only 28 " long & I made a few 10 x28" that everyone that rode em wanted one, I made the one TA is riding at Westlake & He had just got Alva Skates going & that was how He got the 10 x 30", His company was already rolling & summer 77 cuz He has Ad's at the Dog Bowl & that was summer 77, Dog Town Skates came out 4 to 6 Months later & with PC's 8" I think that was like the older boards Jim & I made, Muir's 9" & My 10"......    After TA's 10x30" every time I would open a Skate Mag there was another company with there 10x30" Board.....

Some of the 1st home made Boards....





You can see this was a little wile before Dog Bowl & a more narrow board...



Dog bowl....







TA on the 10x28".....




Wes





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BenJAMMIN

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ok, I gotta come clean and admit that I read this without drinking my beer, a little to eager I suppose, but I promise I will have 1 or 12 later

Great story Wes, thanks for sharing, I will have to read it again later with my brew in hand.  The pictures are even better - Awesome Man, just Awesome!

~Jammin
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Reply with quote  #8 
The " DT surf-style" was because we all surfed & wanted to even if there wasn't waves, We rode banks that looked like waves & as boards got wider they allowed more control & flowing carves....

There was no "
up-hill battles or struggles" the shit just Hit the Fan & was On!

Never gave a Rat's Ass about "
What the public see's as a value"!

"Why are you still playing with these toys?"  I got back into making board's in the Mid 90's just cuz I missed it....   it was something I was always proud of & it had meant allot to me...   there was nobody making wide boards at that time that I knew of & Ray had a shop & had said the same thing "nobody was making wide boards" & so I started....


Wes

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Roadrider4

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Reply with quote  #9 
I love Skateboarding , Wes, I'm so glad you where born  !
ISLANDSK8R

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Reply with quote  #10 
Dig hearing the stories, thanks Wes!
SPinVB

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Reply with quote  #11 

Quote:

"nobody was making wide boards" & so I started....



And for that we are grateful !!!

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judahman

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks for sharing Wes.
I hope you'll post up again on this as memories resurface.
Whatever works to jog 'em loose...

Sounds like you got some good early feedback from your crew's field testing.
I imagine that must have been a boost to your thinking one could produce
and market designs like that...

All I remember from the magazines was one month the DTS ad appeared with
you and Jim Muir and then the wide boards spread like wildfire. A buddy of
mine with a gift for petty schemes, had his father pose as a NY skateshop owner 
and call you guys with an order for 6 boards, the wholesale minimum. 
(I think we got em before the NYC skateshops did!)
I think there were 2 of each design. I figured the Muir would be plenty wide
enough but when I saw the Bulldog I knew that was gonna be mine. Finding
trucks wide enough was another story. So I guess there must have been a lag
of a few months before skaters caught on to the new wider boards and other manufacturers began to knock it off.  Still wondering how things spread so fast,
whether it was word of mouth or if the magazine's had much influence, like with that shot of T.A. above ?


OldSchoolSkate

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Reply with quote  #13 
As I recall "things spread so fast" because of the unique style being displayed in the magazines. I know that's where I first saw it all, I grew up on the East Coast so the pools were still full of water, but the style was wicked. We surfed but in NJ the waves were small and poor so as the skate parks opened the concrete was always good.

When I first saw Wes's Bulldog Design board I had to have it for the same reason Wes created it, I got big feet and a 10" board fit me better. I never looked back. I still have that board, although the graphics that attracted me to it are long gone and I repainted it several times, the front several inches are smashed off and the tale is worn.

When I got back into skating that was the first deck I got was a Bulldog Design reissue.

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mattinDULLYOUTHmn

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Reply with quote  #14 
Very cool information, thankyou
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Bulldog

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Reply with quote  #15 
"Still wondering how things spread so fast,
whether it was word of mouth or if the magazine's had much influence, like with that shot of T.A. above ?"

Yea for sure it was the Photo's of the DT Guys Ripping on them from the magazine's....   & then when people rode them They wanted one.....







They looked totally different than any other skateboard at that time...  When we would go to Skate Parks people would check them out...









These were the 1st hand done production boards Jim & I made with an ad we put into Jays Mom's paper...



Then a few months after the Dog Bowl came the 12"....






Then Jim & I found some Curled wood & made Boards the worked really good & I rode mine all the time & that board turned into the Tri Plane...

 

That also was the start of the concave boards....



Wes

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"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough;
we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much."
President Ronald Reagan
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