Carpark Outlaw Winter Series 2016

Hey, my name is Karol Pabich. I’m an ambassador for Alternative Longboards here in Melbourne, Australia. Hope you’ve enjoyed the edit I’ve put together from the finals of our COWS 2016 races, all previous races are also up on my channel.
So let me tell a bit about the races. It’s winter in Melbourne. About 3 months ago Tim Bell told me about his idea of racing through carparks, 10 weeks, 5 races and every race in a different carpark. Together with Sunset Skate Sessions they got into preparing everything, looking for sponsors etc.
It’s a great way to keep the local scene going when the roads outside get a bit wet and the temperature drops. There are plenty of quick and fun carparks spread all over the Melbourne CBD and they’re safe to skate at night. The carparks aren’t too fast for beginners so everyone can participate and have fun. That doesn’t mean it’s boring for advanced riders, they got up to some decent speeds, lots of overtakes and really close encounters…that resulted in a couple crashes, nothing bad luckily.
As for the first time, I think it was a success and everyone really enjoyed it. I’m sure we’ll have another one next year alongside other events in the summer. Once again huge thanks to Sunset Skate Sessions for organizing, everyone that helped and of course all the sponsors that provided us with sick prizes.

Designing longboards

When 16 years ago I gave Szymon my old board, you can say that I kind of “infected” him with passion to skateboard. After 10 years it was the other way round – it was Szymon who in 2010 showed me his first longboard and since then I was hooked. I rode as often as possible, not expecting that eventually I will be the one producing such boards. I remember our beginnings, how we tried to bend first cardboard concaves, just to feel under feet the right curvature we wanted to get in particular board model. Then I would sit in front of the computer designing the 3D version that we could later mill using the CNC milling machine built by Michał.

 

Alternative World

The first shapes were designed based on our longboard experience. Due to the fact that we were riding longboard, we knew what we wanted in particular models. Prototypes of various models were built and then as a result we managed to get 5 board models.

Alternative World Collection: Junko | Seagull | Chauma | Bunting | Thunderbird

Relating to company’s logo, we named each model with a name of a bird we thought best reflected the board’s “nature”. The first collection included: Junko, Seagull, Chauma, Bunting, Thunderbird. For some that may be an interesting fact – Chauma used to the board with drop through and it had flex. The first version of Bunting was a directional board with “aggressive” concave.

Graphic by: Mateusz Kołek

We wanted the whole collection to form one graphics which we cut into particular models. We were the first longboard company to have gone through with such project. Mateusz Kołek, the illustrator, took care of the accomplishment of said project.

Haunted Woods

After the first collection we got lots of feedback from the riders and users of our boards and soon afterwards I already started sketching shapes for our new collection.

Haunted Woods collection

Haunted Woods Collection: Thunderbird | Fantail | Chauma | Junko | Snowfinch

It was that time when Chauma was completely changed from drop thru city board into freestyle-freeride top mount longboard. Wheel flares, which block the foot during slides and thanks to which you can install bigger wheels, were designed. There were 2 models more then: Fantaila – a directional board with one kicktail for downhill/freeride and Snowfinch – a classic model for tech slide.

Graphic by: Sebastian Skrobol

When a new model is introduced, numerous prototypes are built. Changing the measurement even for just a few millimeters can make a huge difference and has the impact on the comfort of riding. When something is modified, each time a new form is milled on which another prototype is made – the process is repeated until we reach our goal and desired effect. The 2014 collection was named Haunted Woods and just like a year before, one graphic was designed and then cut into particular models. This time the author of the illustrations was Sebastian Skrobol.

Collection 2015

Snowfinch | Chauma| Fantail | Bunting | Junko | Flamingo

Designing longboards is divided into few stages that integrate the board. Starting with designing the right wheel base through designing the surface of board’s moulding – whether it is going to be a rocker, camber, or maybe a flat board and then finishing with choosing the most suitable concave, plus sometimes things like kicktail or dropdown add to the whole process. In each of these elements, one needs to take into account technological capabilities and characteristics of materials.


Finally, the phase of designing board’s cutting. I look for an inspiration in various objects, trying to adjust the shape to the use of a model. The inspiration often comes from car’s bodywork. I’m searching for a car model that in my opinion best reflects the nature of a particular board model and I start sketching. For instance, Bunting’s shape was an inspiration that came from Lamborghini Diablo. This model had its comeback in 2015 in a totally new edition.

Bunting 2015

I designed the board model after discussing it with our rider, Łukasz Tomkiel. We spent hours wondering how to make this board perfect. The very same year Snowfinch model was also designed. We decided to make it oldschool skateboard. In 2015 season we added a completely new freestyle model – Flamingo. I worked on the first projects of this model already in the middle of season 2014. I did some first drafts, we made some prototypes and we sent them to our freestyle expert Kajetan Michalski. And that’s how our red-hot freestyle-dancing board was created. It comes in flex soft and medium.

Graphic by: Patrycja Podkościelny | Graphic by: Tomasz Majewski | Graphic by: Patryk Hardziej

In 2015 collection we also used the technique of cutting one graphics into several models, but this time 3 artists were in charge of the illustrations: Patrycja Podkościelny, Patryk Hardziej and Tomasz Majewski. We grouped longboards based on their use into 3 groups and each illustrator prepared a full-scale drawing that was cut into two pieces.

 

Joy of Destruction | Mountain of Doom

Before launching each new collection we go through the whole line-up in terms of diversity of the models and we analyze each model all over again – what could be changed so that it suits its uses even better. In some models just the lifting changes are made, like it was in the case of Flamingo and Junko 2015 models, where the shape of the cutting was refreshed. However, some of the models are changed on a wider level. I’ll refer again to Bunting 2016 as an example. After discussing it with the riders, we decided to shorten the wheelbase, which consequently made the longboard 4 cm shorter. I designed a new W-concave and changed drop’s shape for Mushroom shape, which guarantees perfect foot holding even with the most difficult slides. Fantail model was also modified. In current model I’ve designed W-concave at the back of the longboard and I changed kicktail, so that it’s better suited for its use in this model.

Joy od Destruction: Hummingbird | Junko | Flamingo | Ostrich   Mountain of Domm: Wrobel | Chauma M/W | Bunting | Fantail

Chauma 2016 is a good example to prove that we want our boards to suit clients’ needs perfectly. Thanks to the opportunity to express one’s view on a particular model through filling out a form available on our website as well as out riders’ feedback, we reached a unanimous decision that Chauma 2016 has to be in two versions. Chauma M (M- micro-drop) that is the continuation of 2015 model with a flat concave and slightly enlarged microdrop and Chauma W (W-W-concave), which is the version for all W-concave fans.

We added three new models to 2016 collection. Our shortest board is the Hummingbird, which was produced even before our first official collection and there were only a few pieces of this model. What is left from the old version is the name and the general idea of the function it serves. However, I have re-designed the board, so that it suits its use better. Another model is our longest board Ostrich – the model long-awaited by dancing fans. For a long time the drafts of this board were waiting to be brought into effect. We had to build a new pressing machine to be able to create such a long board. The third model in 2016 collection is the downhill board Wrobel, which is classic-shaped with a straight radial concave. It was designed for riders who like simplicity or for implant application under grip.

Just like in last collection, we chose exceptionally talented artists to make our boards look awesome. This time we divided our line up into two groups – the first group are the boards for mountainous areas, so the Mountain of Doom collection, whose graphics were drawn by someone you already know, Sebastian Skrobol, and the second group, meaning boards for flat, city areas, so that’s Joy of Destruction collection with the graphics designed by Przemek Kotyński.

Joy of Destruction – Przemek Kotyński | Mountain of Doom – Sebastian Skrobol

I do hope that this year’s collection appeals to you and meets your expectations. While you’re reading this article, we’re starting to work on a new collection, so that riding longboard will be even more fun next year. Your feedback and suggestions are most welcome, because we want the next collection to fill your personal tastes even better.

Opinions on the various models of boards you can express by filling this form

Piotrek

The fight for progress

1Progress – development, improvement, transition to a higher stage.
2Fight – ambiguous concept, meaning confrontation and struggle of individuals, communities or forces.

Everything we do, we create for a single purpose – to provide better quality and especially to develop. Nothing can describe what we feel, from being vastly pissed off when something is not working despite the large amount of work, to the huge joy when one of the ideas being developed eventually succeeds. A constant struggle, though exhaustive, gives us a lot of satisfaction. Even if the solution will not go live, it gives a different perspective on the problem and the knowledge, by which we can further develop.

 

 

Seemingly simple thing as a longboard, whose production consists of several seemingly easy steps: preparation of materials, laminating, pressing, cutting, and finish, can cause many problems. Just as one swallow does not make a summer, to produce one board is not the same as to release the serial production. I remember as it was today, how we enjoyed having created the first series of boards – 5 items. FIVE ITEMS – seems like nothing, but it gave us a glimpse of what we must pay attention to and how long way we still have ahead.

 

 

Every change we introduce, we test the best we can. We make sure that the perfect solution at first glance will not have adverse effects on the product quality or it will not be impossible to use in mass production. Therefore, we frequently face a choice – new and possibly better or good and verified solutions. Although it’s sometimes hard to notice, our product constantly changes. Some of the solutions will not be visible to the end customer, but we can assure you with a clear conscience that our boards get better every year.

 

 

One of the best examples of recently introduced innovations is the new milling cutter, which we use to cut our boards. Most skateboarders does not have to think about it, however, a cutter is very important if we take into account the production process. Looking for a suitable tool, taking into consideration all the guidelines it must satisfy, among others vitality, appropriate diameter and working length, geometry of the workpiece, it creates us quite a problem to solve. In fact, only recently we found suitable tool that meets all requirements. The road to achieve this was long and winding, starting from consultation with various manufacturers, through tests of cutters in operating conditions, checking the quality of the edges, up to the comparison of lifespan. And all these steps were repeated at least 15 times. In the end, we reached our goals by finding a tool that best fits our needs. But this is not the end of work. What if there is another solution which will have better performance, or will work faster? For this reason, we must never stop seeking and constantly strive to develop.

 

 

And this is only one of the stages of production. We constantly try to be open to future improvement and explore new materials, to make users the most satisfied. When designing each collection we collect all the information on existing solutions. On the basis of these data, together with our riders, we develop a new collection for next year. However, to ensure that the next collection meets expectations, we need one more thing – feedback from users. It is thanks to conversation with you and your opinions that we receive from different sides (private conversation, facebook or board registration forms), we obtain the foundation to create new quality. It is because of you, we know our strengths and bad sides. We want to thank you for that and we hope that you will continue with us our fight for progress.

 

“Wise criticism enlightens, stupid quenches.”3

Peace.

Szymek

1https://wikipedia.org/

2https://wikipedia.org/

Pursuit of happiness

Hi, I’m Łukasz. I was born in Ełk , which is famous for its beautiful surroundings with lakes. By the age of 21, I had been living with my parents and I obviously attended school. I have always enjoyed adrenaline-rush sports. When I was 11, I used to ride BMX quite a lot and it became my passion till 2009. After that, so when I was 15, I replaced a bike with a longboard. Hardly anyone knew what longboard is and people actually looked at me like at some kind of weirdo. Anyway, I went on riding longboard and started to develop skills, new tricks and slides. Then in 2010 came the first competition (Doping in Warsaw), where I met many people who shared the same hobby as mine.

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After all these longboard-related events I started to think that it must be a great feeling to be the best rider. And I felt like becoming one. I devoted lots of time to learning new things and I spent any savings on new wheels or boards. There were more competitions I took part in and in which I actually was placed quite high. So years were passing, my skills getting better and better, but the life in Masuria, hills or mountain-deprived region, started to be a bit boring.

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The thing is, I had to drive 500 km or so (one way) in order to take part in any competition or even to train and practise on a more challenging route. It was irritating, because my passion to longboard grew stronger, but I had less opportunities. I finished 4-year-technical school and then got a job. Eight hours by the injection molding machine that ejected the same parts every 20 seconds – what a fascinating and thrilling activity, right? 🙂 So a few months later, in November, we decided together with my fiancée Asia that something had to be done. We didn’t want this dull work in Ełk till the end of our lives. The outcome of our discussion was pretty interesting – we got married on 23rd May 2015 and the following week we left our families and moved to Nowy Sącz.

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We managed to save some money during the winter and decided to have holidays of a lifetime! We participated in most longboard events in Poland, also had a chance to join some in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. If we had been in Ełk, we wouldn’t have had a chance to participate in so many events. Why have we chosen Nowy Sącz? Alternative Longboard team moved here in 2014 – they’re our good friends who help us whenever we need them.

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I’ve always wanted to make longboards. There were nights when I used to sit in a basement gluing plywood, which surely looked pretty much amateurish, but I enjoyed it anyway. I hoped that one day I’d have a chance to work with Alternative guys and guess what – it did happen:) After the biggest trip (Kozakov + KNK) I got down to work. I can now honestly say that my dreams came true. I live in the area with mountains, there are countless challenging routes around here and I make longboards. Sorry, THE BEST longboards in the whole wide world:D However, I haven’t finished setting new goals yet, I’m going to achieve them step by step. And my adventure here, in a new place, has actually just started.

LONGBOARD THROUGH DESIGNER’S EYES

Boards displayed in longboard shops, used by our friends or the ones we’ve ridden ourselves – they all must have been somehow produced. Active longboard users tend to talk about the whole production process, what it looked like, who and how made it. Unfortunately, limited possibilities of getting first-hand information as well as insufficient objective information have contributed to the creation of some myths and legends about the board production.


It seems that there’s lots of information available on this topic – after all, almost each manufacturer releases the material about production, yet after thorough analysis it turns out to be just a general overview of the whole process, without going into details. These videos almost entirely leave out a very important thing – machines that make the whole production process possible. As a person with 6-year experience in longboard creating, who started off with “garage production” of just a few boards within one season and ended up with much bigger scale of production, I’d like to share this experience with you. I’m not going to write about the process itself, in which unique way boards are pressed or how the materials are being selected. You can find lots of information about it online. What I’d like to tell you about is the construction of the machines dedicated for longboard production and also overall experience with manufacturing the product – longboard.j.

CHEAPER IS NOT ALWAYS WORSE

The longboard sector in Poland, Europe or even in the US is comparatively smaller than any other sector such as automotive or household appliances industry or for instance food industry. New businesses, which produce longboards themselves, very often have a tight budget (it was also the same in my case). Rapid technological progress and constant changes in preferences regarding the graphics/shape do not make things easy. To give you an example: a battery manufacturing plant can invest hundreds of thousands zlotys in professional production and assembly lines equipped with ready-to-use tools and production surveillance and there is no problem at all. There’s capital for investment, the product doesn’t have to change for a long time, so why not?

Nowadays fewer longboard companies can afford the luxury of having no novelties for upcoming season. There are many latest technological developments, so you need to be flexible. Another problem is money, which I already mentioned before. So what’s the solution? We can blow the whole thing off and use just the simplest production techniques actually turning it into advantage – handmade, which has recently become extremely popular. The second solution is to broaden your knowledge and go for automation, meaning building the machines on your own. It takes time and surely requires lots of work, but it pays off. The results are much better and cheaper in the long terms. All the machines in our workshop have been either built from scratch for producing longboards or rebuilt from ready cheaper machinery available on the market.

Automation in our company is present in possibly biggest number of stages, it reduces the risk of manufacturing defects, ensures better quality of the product and simply makes the work easier and faster. How did it work in practice? Actually very good. It does not differ much from professional and pricey solutions, which doesn’t mean there are no problems at all. Breakdowns always happen, and here we observe another advantage of our solution – you can fix things on your own. One can say that this requires specialist knowledge, which is true. I’ve lost count how many hours I’ve spent learning programming, mechanics, evaluating strength and rigidity of the structure, electronics etc. I’ve spent so much time analyzing the already-existing solutions as well as testing new concepts. There was something that helped me a lot with it – Open Source projects.

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OPEN SOURCE NOT ONLY FOR GEEKS

Open source community is very large. We can find 3D design software, CNC programming software, programs for electronics or machines design or the ones for calculating. There are numerous driver projects for automation available. The community working in a particular project is very helpful. After all, these are the people who had similar problems and understand the principle of helping each other. It is quite surprising how much it can help small businesses in their development. Open source worked out for me and I try to be involved in the projects that helped me. The additional benefit is that it saves money – you don’t have to pay for programs’ license (which, in fact, can sometimes cost a lot). And what we get for free, measures up to the quality and professionalism of the competition.

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ATTITUDE

Like I’ve mentioned before, longboard manufacturing industry in Europe is really small. Difficulties with implementing new solutions and modernizing the existing technologies – you need to deal with these problems on your own. There’s no space for “just another day in the office”. There are new challenges coming every day and new problems that require original approach. At first it seems interesting and engaging, but after a while it turns out to be quite tiring. What’s really important is your mental attitude – never give up. It might seem obvious and trivial, but I don’t mean that you should do the same things repeatedly and expect different results. When we test a new solution, sometimes it might take 30 costly attempts (in terms of money and time) to get what we want. It’s not always easy to treat the results stand-offishly and draw the right conclusions. “Never give up” relates to the attitude of constantly searching for bigger or smaller innovations, treating the existing solutions with reserve and naturally persistence in the actions we undertake.

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IS IT WORK ONLY?

Confucius said: ” Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. That’s absolutely true, but these days are not always nice and enjoyable as I said earlier. However, when I sum it up, after all the adversities, it’s not that bad. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. What gives the biggest satisfaction in longboard making is the satisfaction of Alternative longboard users, seeing the riders enjoying our boards. It’s all about changing the small world around you for better. It’s about providing possibly best products at a reasonable price, which undoubtedly makes up for all the difficulties we encounter.

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