Legendary 1970’s vert skater Cindy Whitehead has been named Kryptonics First Female Brand Ambassador. Whitehead is a skateboarder, Sports Stylist and the founder and owner of the skateboard brand “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word”
Cindy was a pioneer skater in the male dominated profession of professional vert skateboarding during the 70’s, and became one of the top ranked professional female pool and half-pipe skateboarders.
She still holds the distinction of being the only female to be featured in the centerfold and a two-page article in a skateboarding magazine. Cindy was also the first female skateboarder to be sponsored by Puma.
Since her retirement from competitive skateboarding, Cindy has worked as a fashion stylist for the past 25 years specializing in sports, with companies like Gatorade, Nike, the NBA, and athletes such as Tiger Woods, Michelle Kwan, Kobe Bryant, Drew Brees, Maria Sharapova, and Mia Hamm. She is also coined the term “Sports Stylist”.
Never one to shrink from a challenge, in 2012 Cindy made national headlines by skateboarding down the closed 405 freeway in Los Angeles. In June of 2013 Cindy donated a collection of her skateboarding memorabilia to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In 2015 Cindy was featured in Puma Suede’s new book; XLV Stories of The Puma Suede – she was the only female athlete profiled.
In 2013, Cindy created a brand called “Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word” in collaboration with Dusters California skateboard company (the brand responsible for bringing back Kryptonics Star tracs) she designed a skateboard specifically for the female market.
The GN4LW brand gives back to women in action sports with every collab it creates. Cindy recently signed an additional two year deal for her skateboard line. In January 2015 she joined forces for a collab project with “XS Helmets”.
David Boortz bought his first skateboard in 1996,while in the sixth grade. “I street skated everyday then on and all the way through high school and into college.” Like many kids without a lot of money to spend on ‘toys’, continually snapping decks was a problem for David. “My father has a woodworking background and presented the idea that we could make decks ourselves for less cost–but of course, that wasn’t the case!”
Whether David’s father actually believed he would save money is still debated within the family. But what is absolutely true is that father and son had some serious bonding time. They pressed their first 7-layer street deck in 1998 with a homemade skateboard press, made of welded steel and car jacks, and decided to call the project “Lekker”.
The current iteration of Lekker Skateboards was born during David’s college days at UC Santa Barbara. A friend wanted him to make him a board that he could cruise around campus, something that would be easy to carry and store while sitting in class. “With those qualities in mind, I came up with the idea to replicate a 1960’s style “sidewalk surfboard” – and that was the beginning of the company we are today.”
For those who are wondering, “Lekker” is a Dutch word literally meaning “tasty”, but has various connotations throughout the Dutch-speaking world from “sweet”, “good”, and more recently, even “sexy”. David says he enjoys the vagueness of its meaning. “I also enjoy the typographical symmetry of the word itself. The double “k” is rare in the English language, so it gives the company a standout name.”
When it comes to creating the actual decks, the manual labor of each board is spread over a few days, due to drying times of glue and polyurethane finishing. In total, it takes about 6 hours of direct labor for each skateboard they produce.
After college, Dave worked as an engineer. A former colleague just happened to be Zac Effron’s father. “He found out about my Lekker side project through the office grapevine and gifted one of my skateboards to Zac as a birthday present.” This exchange developed into Zac and his father visiting David’s workshop in December 2013, and marked an enthusiastic beginning of their partnership.
David says that Zac’s celebrity has given Lekker a lot of exposure to his fan base. “They are mostly young women, who aren’t usually targeted as a prime skateboard market. So that’s a nice opportunity for us. We’ve sold a number of boards to his fans, and through the messages and photos they’ve sent to us, know that they are excited to have a new sport in their lives.”
Lekker are currently working on their third edition of boards that will feature their first kicktail. “I would say that our primary focus for 2016 is to get our boards under the feet of new riders. We want to encourage folks to get outside and skate, to let them know that it’s absolutely something they can do and will probably love. I’ve never met anyone who tried skating and didn’t like it.”
by Dewey Weber
Based in Denver, Colorado, KOTA Longboards is accepting pre-orders for a new collection of longboards featuring authentic, vintage Surf Boards by Dewey Weber
designs. All pre-orders will ship in early January 2016.
Prices range from $229 for a board-only option to $329 for a complete setup with high-end trucks from Paris and Custom Speed Vent Wheels fro Seismic Skate Systems. Prices do not include tax or shipping charges.
You can purchase directly at kotalongboards.com, by visiting the KOTA Longboards Factory in Denver or by phone at (303) 524-0027.
“We are thrilled about this new partnership after a long history with skateboards in the 1970s and dabbling again in the late 1990s/early 2000s. We carefully chose KOTA Longboards to align with our tradition of quality. Our brands share the standard of excellent performance and craftsmanship,” said Shea Weber, CEO of Surf Boards by Dewey Weber. “Watch for future announcements of surf retailers offering this new line of longboards that give the surfer an unparalleled land surfing experience,” Weber added.
“Our partnership with Dewey Weber seamlessly aligns with the vintage look and feel of the KOTA brand. Dewey Weber has a legacy as an innovator in surf board design and manufacturing. At KOTA Longboards, we share that passion for excellence and innovation,” said KOTA CEO Mike Maloney.
What have been some key developments for Moonshine in 2015?
Since 2015 was really our first full year of production/sales our plate was full with keeping up with growth. We started the year with 6 board models and will go into 2016 with 12 models and a much more robust offering across multiple longboarding disciplines. We’ve put together a great team of riders, set up distribution in multiple countries and sponsored several events; from demos to local slide jams to the Maryhill Festival of Speed. Lastly, we collaborated with Ronin Trucks to bring back their classic racing shape in the form of the Tucker and Pro Tucker (carbon) downhill models. It’s been a big year for learning and growth.
A lot of people ruin their boards by skating in the rain. That doesn’t happen with Moonshine. Why did you decide to make your boards waterproof? What has been some of the feedback?
The DNA of our boards come from the wake boarding and kite boarding industry. Our factory, The Distillery, has been building wake and kite boards for several years. Many of the guys on the factory floor are skaters – and they thought that constructing a longboard utilizing our existing technology would make for a great longboard.
That’s where the idea for Moonshine Mfg was born, and keeping the boards waterproof using our vert-lam composite construction along with urethane sidewalls and truck mounts made complete sense, since skaters ride in wet weather conditions all the time.
The response from riders has been extremely positive. We now have riders sending us water, rain and snow photo’s all of the time on social media – it’s been really fun to see. Not only is the board waterproof, but the urethane sidewalls give the board added impact resistance and the urethane truck mounts provide a vibration dampening effect.
Where are some of your boards sold outside of the USA? What region has surprised you?
Outside the USA our boards are available in several countries including Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, Hungary and Poland, just to name a few, and we are working on several more distribution relationships in 2016. The region that has surprised us the most is Korea. They are huge fans of Moonshine Mfg and in particular our dancing board, the HoeDown.
What do you look for in a team rider?
Our team riders are definitely a key component of why our boards have been so successful. We rely on our team for product feedback and new ideas, so communication is important. Some of our board designs have come directly from the minds of our team.
We have intentionally grown our team slowly and carefully. We’re looking for contributors that will not only represent Moonshine Mfg out in public at events, races, demos, and so on, but they need to be great ambassadors for the sport, have a great attitude, a willingness to spread the Moonshine Mfg stoke and, most importantly, have fun – both online and offline.
What are some of your key initiatives for 2016?
2016 is an important year for Moonshine Mfg. We’re looking to grow our distribution into several more countries. We’ll be adding a new strategic partner (or two) and we’ll be launching some more new products – also keep your eye out for some cool new apparel.
We’ll also be focusing on creating more awareness for our White Lightning Wheel brand – market feedback has been very positive, so we’d like to get the word out. Last but not least, we’ll continue to R&D new materials, new shapes and constructions for the future.