Two local businesses collaborate to bring surfing to the streets
By Sara Edwards
An innovative longboard company in Culver City, Loaded Boards, collaborated with Carver skateboards to launch its new Bolsa surfskate deck that brings a surf-inspired experience to the pavement.
Don Tashman is president and CEO of Loaded Boards and met the founders of Carver, Greg Falk and Neil Carver, through surfing. Over the pandemic, Carver approached Tashman and proposed a collaboration collection.
“We went for something that had a surfy vibe,” Tashman said. “I’ve always liked his stuff and we are voted for a high performance-composite skateboard. So I was trying to kind of create innovative and performance driven products and also very much focused on building community and worldwide.”
The Loaded Carver Bolsa board combines Loaded Board’s surfskate experience with Carver’s unique truck design, or the plate underneath the board connecting it to the wheels. The board itself has a “rocker” profile with flared wheel wells and a deck to create more leverage while turning on the board.
“I think all three of us have a very eclectic vibe in terms of how we approach things,” Tashman said. “We designed the board around their trucks while using our wheels.”
Tashman grew up in Los Angeles, where his mother, who had been skateboarding since she was four, always had a skateboard somewhere around the house. Tashman said that as he got older skateboarding influenced the way he dressed and styled himself.
“I wouldn’t say I was extremely proficient, but I just always loved it,” Tashman said.
In the early ‘90s, Tashman tried skiing and snowboarding for the first time and fell in love with these sports as well. When he started college in New York City, he started building skateboards that emulated what it was like to ride a snowboard. But he didn’t think about turning skateboard building into a career until a few years later when he moved back to LA and started working part time at his father’s clothing company.
“He said ‘I’ll give you the space to start your own thing’ so I started my skateboard clothing company,” Tashman said.
Tashman realized the fashion business was not for him after about six months and realized he was more passionate about functionally driven longboard designs instead, which led to him starting Loaded Boards.
Loaded Boards quickly rose to become one of the most notable brands in longboarding over the past 20 years in business. Right before the pandemic hit, Loaded Boards was seeing an upswing in business that only seemed to keep rising until COVID shut things down.
“We tried to focus on safety internally, especially, but then all of a sudden, after about a month or so, people wanted to be outside and wanted to get a skateboard so our business exploded,” Tashman said. “We were able to ramp up more quickly and it’s been a blessing for us.”
Tashman said the company spent a lot of time during COVID working on product development, with plans to expand beyond just longboarding.
“We made a snowboard and can hopefully continue to do that, but we’re also potentially expanding into balanced sports medical wellness products,” Tashman said. “This has really challenged us to continue to build stuff that we love and to expand that into ways that are going to be healthy in a changing environment.”
The Loaded Carver Longboards can be purchased on Loaded Boards’ website.