Here at Glide SUP we take great pride in being an American made SUP company, and we know why it is beneficial to the environment and economy. Alongside with our reasoning I want to share why other companies in our industry choose to manufacture in America.
Please enjoy volume #1 of this series in which I had the honor to interview the very kind, cool, and knowledgeable Peter Shu from Carver Skateboards. ENJOY!
Neil Carver shaping a Carver Truck hanger.
AJ: Can you tell the readers a little bit about your company, products you manufacture, and how you got into your industry.
PS: Carver Skateboards grew out of pure need; two surfers who wanted to surf the hills of their Venice neighborhood when the waves were flat. Early longboards at that time were just surfy graphics with the same old trucks, so the Carver founders focused on truck design, and getting the ‘surf feeling’ right. They spent years developing our patented dual-axis C7, bringing that true surf feel to life. Later, Carver created the patented CX, a simpler, lighter surfskate truck for more progressive tricks and airs. Innovation is at the core of what we do, and from our new Concave wheels that have crazy grip, to our new Wave Bank ramp, we’re dedicated riders continuously pushing progression forward for ourselves and for our riders. It’s been 20 years now, and since that humble beginning we continue to make the best surfskate equipment in the world.
AJ: Why did you choose to manufacture your products in the USA?
PS: Since its inception in 1996, Carver has been handmade in USA. Despite the higher cost and challenge of being a brand and manufacturer, we keep our relationships local so that we can retain full control over production and quality. Due to the complicated processes necessary to produce our parts, as well as the proprietary nature of our operations, we cast everything in LA and machine and assemble all of our own castings – we literally make our trucks like a true trucking company should. Carver Skateboards is one of the few skateboard companies still manufactured in the USA.
Carver team rider with a sick layback!
AJ: How do your competitors in your industry react to you being an American made company?
PS: We don’t really pay too much attention to what our competitors think. We’re really focused on our core audience and what they want. We’ve always believed that if you put your efforts into what’s truly important, everything else will work itself out. In that way we don’t really feel there is much in the way of direct competition anyway, because we’re driving the surfskate industry forward with our own innovation and passion, and anyone who tries to follow us is always a few steps behind.
AJ: How does being an American made company affect your local economy? The economy country-wide?
PS: Being American made has been a source of great pride for us. Beyond the direct jobs we support at our own factory, the vast network of vendors across the state that enables us to operate numbers in the hundreds, from parts makers, powder coaters, shippers, and materials suppliers to graphic artists and video makers and accounting and legal services. It’s a big ecosystem that not only provides work for all of these people, but it actually makes us more competitive. The high quality of work and close relationships that comes with having these personal connections is what makes our company what it is.
Carver's "12 Hands" ad. AMAZING!
AJ: What impact does your company have on your local community?
PS: Besides the infrastructure of our production network, a huge part of Carver Skateboards’ model is incentivizing sales through brick and mortar, Mom-and-Pop shops. We do this for several reasons. Carver cares about the local community, and recognizes that we’re all connected, so when our local shops do well, so do we. We began small, and we recognize the importance of supporting local shops and the impact they have in building a strong community. True to skateboarding’s roots, we understand that the local surf and skate shops are the true heart and soul of our industry. Another reason is because of the innovative nature of our equipment. To get the proper experience, it takes some consulting with a knowledgeable sales person to find your way to the ideal truck system and board model for your needs. This is best carried out through an in-store purchase. And finally, it’s because we value great customer service. Carver Skateboards are built for life, and developing a strong relationship with your local shop is the best way to get the personal attention every customer deserves.
AJ: What are the environmental effects of making your product in America?
PS: Carver tries to limit its environmental impact as much as possible, from using alternative materials, to strategic shipping logistics, we do what we can to avoid materials or processes that negatively impact the environment. Making our boards in the US removes long distance shipping from overseas, for example. We’ve recently collaborated with Bureo on a plastic skateboard made from recycled fishing nets, launched a soy-based Ecothane wheel, and introduced a new surfboard line made with Marko’s recycled EPS foam and Entropy’s pine sap epoxy, certified by Sustainable Surf. While we recognize that these are good efforts, we also hold ourselves to an ever increasing standard, and strive to further reduce our impact on the environment every year.
Carver prototype trucks
AJ: Do you think that your customers seek out your product and support you because you are American made?
PS: We believe there’s a trust that comes from knowing where your board is made, and seeing that there’s an accountability to the quality that comes from making things here. Our crew is made up of a lot surfers and skaters, so we put the kind of care into each board that comes from being riders ourselves, and knowing that what we make may become someone’s favorite ride. In this way, each board has the potential to positively impact someone’s life, and putting that kind of care and attention to detail in every board supports that.
AJ: How do you anticipate Donald Trump as president affecting how and where products in your industry are made?
PS: Politics can be very unpredictable, and seems to be even more so lately. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
AJ: As a final question; what gets you stoked?
PS: From the very start we would get emails from customers telling us their personal stories; how much fun they were having, or how because of our boards they got back into skating, or through training on their Carver they had improved their surfing. These days we reach more and more riders, and sometimes we think about how, at this very moment, there are riders across the globe in all time zones, feeling that rail-to-rail joy that got us so excited 20 years ago. The stoke we spread is the stoke we feel!
American made quality in styleee action!
*For more information on Carver Skateboards please see: www.carverskateboards.com
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