INTRODUCING...'THE PHAT FLYER'

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2010
A while back I started making skateboards for fun. I hadn't ridden a skateboard since I was a kid but thought ‘I'm a woodworker...I can build anything – why not a skateboard’. Since then I've built three decks: one street and two longboards. The street deck was an article for the mag I worked for and doesn't get used much – can’t see getting me and the deck into the air and having the wheels stay on after the landing. I like riding a longboard because it’s a smooth, easy ride and the size (40" x 9 1/2") of the deck is better suited to my size 14’s. Another reason that I like longboards best is there’s lots of room for creativity. You can mess around with the deck’s shape and because you don’t grind the bottom of the deck, you can add interesting veneers for cool visual effects. This longboard was the last one that I made and is by far my favourite. It’s a simple pinner-style with a stylized grip tape job on the top and fly Paris 180 mm Adam Colton signature trucks. The bottom was veneered with some left over curly cherry that I used for the guitar cabinet I built a few years ago.


 When I started working at Lee Valley, I met a guy during my orientation that had some mad skills. Mark McCabe is an extremely talented artist who spends every break and lunch time drawing. Once I saw what he could do, I knew I needed some of his work on my longboard. After a few discussions and some hearty laughs we settled on a design and I commissioned his art for my board.


I wanted to poke a little fun at my size so we came up with the character of the ‘Phat Flyer’. (I'm not sure if Phat is still a cool thing to say) There are many small details to Mark’s art that take some time to find. Everything from a chicken with a Flavor Flav clock around its neck to the ‘Evolution’ tattoo on the Phat Flyer’s arm is in there. Even a squirrel that has been run over by a skateboard is on there...inspired by something I once said about the size of my Abec 11 - 76mm Gumball wheels ‘you could run over small woodland creatures and not even notice.


Despite some difficulties with the existing finish on the deck not gelling with Mark’s medium, the artwork turned out well. Mark used a combo of ink and pencils which gives it a transparent effect that allows the wood grain to come through the artwork. He doesn’t have a site up at the moment but he assures me that he’s going to get on it...I’ll post it when it’s live.

I'm going to build more longboards when I get a chance and I'm already in talks with Mark about doing more Phat Flyer scenes. I promised a longboard deck to Adrian Ferrazzutti but I think I will stick with the zircote veneer that he requested for the bottom. I'm also looking at offering a seminar on deck building through LV’s seminar program...we’ll have to see. If your in the market for a longboard, let me know. I like making them and everything would be custom - just like my furniture and you too could have some of Mark's art.

A co-worker at LV once suggested that perhaps I was ‘too old’ to be skateboarding. In my opinion, you’re only as old as you feel. I still think I'm 18 (and have been accused of acting it) and If I want to hop on my deck and carve then look out ... ‘cause a dude my size is hard to slow down let alone stop. Go SK8.