In the beginning, I was a boy who loved skateboarding. It wasn’t just about the awesome tricks. It was my freedom, my transportation, my culture. I made friends through skating, and it helped me belong to something – a movement – and have that sense of community that every kid needs.
So, when I grew up and became a dad, I never had any doubt that I’d get my daughter into skating. I wanted her to have the real, cool experiences I had, and to create a connection with her while she was also connecting with others. Skateboarding is still a huge part of my life, and I was sure that my daughter was going to love it too. Cue my shopping for her first board.
Wow, was I disappointed by the options out there. The kids’ skateboards on the market were few and the ones I did find were pretty pathetic. They were plastic, cheaply made boards, and most were covered in ugly designs. I was looking for a board like I had as a kid, solidly built and boasting an old schools design, but sized for a toddler or little kid. At the time, what I wanted didn’t exist. I searched and searched before finally determining that there just weren’t any real skateboard options for kids out there.
I have to say, I was pretty surprised. It seemed like there was this huge market in the children of the first and second generation skaters, but nobody was making cool, quality boards for these kids. It felt like Disney had copyrighted the right to make kids’ skateboards, and then pumped out a couple of Made in China models covered in laminate. What I found felt really inauthentic.
I wasn’t about to give up on my dream of teaching my daughter to skate, so I had to find a solution. My background is in engineering, and I’m also a woodworker. You know what happens next: I set to work designing a board for my daughter, loved the process so much I wanted to keep making more and set up today’s youth generation with top-quality boards, and the rest, as they say, is history (as in, we’re a manufacturer and brand now!). That said, it makes sense that we named the company after my daughter, who inspired this whole crazy venture.
Here’s my quick elevator speech about how Carter SB went from an idea to a legit product: First things first, I outlined the essentials of a good board: made of wood, handcrafted in the United States, and featuring seriously cool, old school, designs. I was making this for my daughter, so it needed to be sized right for her tiny self. Did you know that kids who use appropriately-sized boards are less likely to get injured? As in so many other sports, a proper fitting equipment is vital in skateboarding.
With that established, I got down to work in my workshop in Everett, WA, home of another transportation manufacturer you might have heard of (that would be airplane master Boeing).
Our handmade boards take shape by gluing and pressing seven sheets of high-quality Canadian Maple. Everyone who knows anything about skateboards can confirm this is the only material out there that’s suitable for a strong board that delivers.
From there, it’s over to the CNC machine to cut the board shape, and then we route and sand the boards by hand, three different ways. Then we stain them – we currently have six color options – and add the design through a special top-secret process. Last but not least, we attach the trucks, wheels, and hardware for the complete sets.
One thing I think is really cool about our boards is the fact that, because they are all handmade, our customers can design their own. Pick a deck color and a design, and we’re going to make it for you like that. My daughter, who’s now 7, is in charge of approving the final art designs, and she has a seriously good eye for what’s cool. We currently have about ten designs, with the Space Squatch (that’s a sasquatch with an astro helmet) being one of my favorites.
We make boards and apparel for adults too. Our boards come in five sizes, three sizes for kids between the ages of four to 12, and two options for people who are over sixty inches tall and more than 100 pounds. So, if you skated when you were younger, and want to show off your old tricks to your kids, we can get you back at it. Of course, the same is true if you never quit skating, or you never started but want to now. We have hand-made boards for it all.
Over the past 6 years we’ve built Carter Skateboards into a family business. I make the boards, my wife Carol does the books, and my daughter tests the product and, as mentioned above, chooses the art. Once again skating has delivered a sense of community, not to mention fun, creativity, and achievement, to my life and that of my family. It’s a rad thing and that movement and sense of community is what I want to provide to others through our brand. And it’s all because I couldn’t find a cool-looking and quality-performing kids’ skateboard.
Build your kid’s board (or your own) at CarterSB now.