Interview With Skate One’s Michael Furukawa

For the past several years, Skate One has utilized the convention center's upstairs meeting rooms in lieu of booth space on the floor, a trend that soon caught on, with DC, Sole Tech, Blitz, and more joining them. This year they celebrated one of their oldest and most well-known graphics, the Ripper. Next door, an entire meeting room was transformed into a gallery for the Rip the Ripper show, wherein most of skateboarding's best artists took the iconic graphic and made it their own, or "ripping off the Ripper." Dozens of skartists participated, including Don Pendleton, Russ Pope, Ron Cameron, and Lori D. The event was a huge success. I caught up with Furukawa for a few minutes to catch up on business, politics, and old times in general.

There's a high-ollie contest starting in an hour. Where's Danny Wainwright? (Ten years ago, Wainwright set the world record at 44 and a half inches)

He didn't come out. He was going to, for the Quiksilver contest, but then that got cancelled, so…

Bummer. There's a bunch of good guys here, though. Brophy has a mean ollie.

Yeah, it's probably between him, Luis Tolentino and Aldrin Garcia.

So, what's the plan for 2009?

Well, the video [Fun] comes out April first. It's our first Powell video in 10 years.

There's been a few changes in the tiers you offer, right?

Yes. Powell Classics and Powell Peralta are now just Powell Peralta. And Steve [Caballero] is now on that team, instead of just "Powell."

So tell me about this new tech you've got.

It's called Ligament Technology. We take the middle ply, router out three strips, and 3M is making us an epoxy. The idea came from when Jordan [Hoffart] ollied a big gap and his board split apart—so initially it was a safety thing, but it actually made the board stronger.

Is it costing more?

Well, we raised the prices of our boards a bit back in September, so adding this new tech we are keeping the prices the same, just giving an added value.

Have you walked the show yet?

I did earlier, when everyone was setting up their booths. It looks smaller.

Yeah, that's the general consensus. How about up in your meeting room, are you noticing fewer retailers?

Yeah, domestically a little bit, but really it's the international guys that aren't here. On top of the economy being dull, the Bread and Butter Barcelona show is going on right now, so all the European distributors are there.

(At this point, Andy Mac swooped Michael away from me, so the interview was over)