Our third instalment of Handmade in the UK with Hurtle Skateboards.
Hurtle Skateboards is owned and operated by Chris White, 25, from Exeter in Devon.
Chris originally started out doing custom chop jobs on boards rather than building them outright. Initially just little things like reshaping a tail or re-drilling a wheelbase, but after a while friends began asking for work to be done on their boards, everything from wheel cutouts to turning pintails into dropthroughs. Chris quickly developed a preference when working on these boards - clean lines and a simple, classy look.
As was probably inevitable, chop jobs eventually progressed into building boards from scratch. In true DIY skater fashion, Chris’ first build was with builder’s ply and was actually pressed using an anvil to get the desired bend! This is a far cry from the methods used to craft the Hurtle Skateboards decks of today, but it’s good to start with the basics!
Eventually, Chris decided to take the leap and start a company, along side his job at a local skate shop, and so Hurtle Skateboards came into being in 2013. With a proper skateboard press fabricated and now with Canadian maple, ash and sycamore veneer, work began on the ‘Origin Series’. These early Hurtle boards were a modern take on the classic pintail shape, available in 3 different sizes.
Hurtle boards are characterised by bright colours and the use of different natural wood grain patterns as opposed to printed graphics. Each board is individually pressed, allowed to cure, cut/sanded/drilled by hand, and finished with several coats of oil. There are no trimming templates or CNC elements on these boards - they’re built the old fashioned way.
This building style means that no two boards will ever be exactly the same. The grain patterns will always make each one look different even if it’s a repeated shape. Once you also factor in the tiny variances that come with any hand made item you can see that each one is unique. The Hurtle ethos has always been to make boards that are beautiful as well as functional.
After a while, Chris made the decision to discontinue the production models and make the change to just building one-offs and custom orders, which brings us to the Hurtle Skateboards of today. Chris enjoys making boards of all shapes and sizes with many different woods/colours.
He is always keen to chat about the finer points of deck design and setup with anyone who would like to discuss them.
One of the details that separates this newer generation of boards from the ‘Origin Series’ is a logo applied with a branding iron as opposed to ink. Chris is keen on experimenting with various ways of burning designs into his boards as it’s a way of marking them that compliments the wood grain, as opposed to covering it up. This has included etching patterns by hand (pyrography) and laser engraving. The fact that each board is unique means there is no need to limit the creative process to one method.
Chris has been kept busy building boards of all shapes and sizes using a variety of different colours and woods. He and the Hurtle team attended several festivals in 2015 and hope to be able to get out to more in 2016. Whilst Hurtle is still very small, it’s reputation for quality seems to be growing...
Hurtle Team Rider Hubert Wigier recently took part in a trip to Tenerife with several other UK riders. That will definitely be one to keep an eye open for once all the editing is done!
You can check out more from Hurtle Skateboards on their facebook page, website, instagram, or youtube channel! Or you might run into them out and about at a skate event during 2016. If you see Chris and the team, go and say hi, have a go on the demo boards and take a look at all the different woods and colours!