Pine man's family project rolls into skateboard business
What started as a family side project making custom skateboards turned into a full-fledged business for Shawn Arlock.
“It's something I always wanted to do,” he said. “I have twin boys who wanted to skateboard, and I wanted to make it interactive and make them myself.”
Arlock, 41, of Pine, started making his custom long board skateboards last November under the name East Coast Customs.
He started out selling them on eBay, but as demand for his one-of-a-kind boards grew, he began reaching out to local stores and beach shops along the East Coast. He said his boards are sold in 26 shops up and down the coast.
The former Jersey Shore native crafts each skateboard one at a time in a workshop in Zelienople, combining new technologies with a classic look. Each skateboard starts out as individual sheets of exotic wood veneer from Mars Lumber in Adams.
Arlock starts by pressing the wood veneer together using a 50-ton press. Then he carefully cures, shapes, sands and seals the board in a process that takes a couple of days. The trucks and wheels that steer and propel the skateboard come from California, making the boards 100 percent made in the U.S.
“It's old school,” Arlock said. “It's how they used to do it in the ‘80's, and they last forever.”
He said commercial skateboard manufacturers produce a lot of their boards overseas, using heat curing techniques that can cause the board to delaminate over time.
“It's an industry that fell into a cookie-cutter — make as many as possible for cheap as possible — mindset,” he said. “Back in the day, you made one or two at a time, and they were great boards and lasted forever.”
“I love what I do. I don't make as many as them. This isn't something I'm going to get rich off of, but I love what I do,” he said.
Arlock retails his boards for $150 to $180, which is competitive with major skateboard brands, he said. The hand-crafted look and feel of the boards is attractive to customers.
Tattoo's by Boney Joe in Zelienople displays a few East Coast Customs boards in the front window of the shop. Owner Joe Clark said they generate a good bit of interest locally.
“There's a definite following of the long board craze right now,” Clark said. “A lot of kids are doing it because they're cruisers, not for tricks, just for scooting down a sidewalk.”
Long board skateboards are not designed to perform tricks on ramps, à la the skateboarding style of Tony Hawk. They're designed for a laid back style of riding, with bigger, softer wheels that can roll easily over cracks in the sidewalk, Arlock said.
“They're made to take a cruise, real popular in beach communities. They're easy and comfortable to ride,” he said.
The long boards are growing in popularity with the older crowd, like himself, who want to relive child memories on the skateboard.
Arlock grew up skateboarding and surfing on the Jersey Shore. He said his target customers are between ages 25 and 60.
To purchase a board or get more information on East Coast Customs, visit www.ecclongboards.com.
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tavern Night planned at Depreciation Lands Museum in Hampton
- McCandless garden receives ‘certified wildlife habitat’ designation
- Program in Pine to offer advice on living with celiac disease
- Pine OKs old Wexford Fire Hall business plan
- Fall Classic in North Park to help children in Philippines orphanage
- Hampton turning lane work halts access to Route 8 from Duncan Avenue
- Ride for Ryan to raise funds for beating victim in minimally conscious state
- Expired, unwanted medications to be collected at Shaler North Hills Library
- Hampton School District changing formula for class rankings
- Northland-hosted ‘Pillowcase Project’ preps participants for emergencies
- Some North Allegheny upgrades completed; others to continue into next summer