Wonder South

Surplus & Sight

Dispatch 26: Side Project Skateboards

Get past that fence and cruise 

A #WStakeover by Side Project Skateboards 

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Where adventure starts ~ Good choices. Documented by @hennythepooh. This shot is pulled from a year-long collaborative photography project I have in the works with 12 photographers around the us. I’ll be releasing more details about the project in the coming months, so stay tuned.

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Hey y’all. Jake from @sideprojectskateboards here and I’m stoked to be hosting the #WStakeover! Brief introduction: I’m the Founder & Creative Director of Side Project Skateboards—a one-man brand of handmade, vintage-inspired cruiserboards crafted from recovered woods. The boards are cool, but most importantly, SPS stands for creative exploration beyond the products. I personally believe that skateboarding is a rich catalyst for creativity, and SPS serves as a way for me to perpetuate that spirit and sense of possibility. As I’ve grown as both a creative and a business owner, I’ve discovered that collaboration is a huge part of my work, which is why I make a point of building meaningful relationships with people who can bring their own perspective to enrich the brand. All this is to say, you’ll be seeing some images from select friends and collaborators, so please pay attention to the image credits. Everyone featured is well worth your attention and support, so please check out their work as it pops up. Or if you’re into spoilers, go ahead and check out @blickenstaff (who shot this photo above), @christiangideon, @kirbygladstein, @j.bilhan, @hennythepooh, @calamityjane___, @kasperloftgaard and @aymilli88

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This is the photo that started everything. I graduated university having just redacted all of my law school applications, so I followed my girlfriend to Houston and got a job working for her parents. They hired me as a carpenter, which was extra interesting given that I had zero woodworking experience whatsoever. It ended up however that her father, Hugh was an incredible mentor and we quickly hit it off. We discovered our mutual love for skateboarding, so he brought these old film photos in of him skating around Houston during the 60’s. After hearing what skateboarding was like back then when kids would borrow their dad’s power tools, dismantle their roller skates, slap them on a piece of wood and go skateboarding, I decided to make my own vintage-inspired board. That was August of 2013, I launched Side Project Skateboards that October. And that girlfriend I had is now my wife. 

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Every board I make is 100% one-of-a-kind (there are no duplicates). Part of that is because I use found and recovered hardwoods, and there’s only so much I can source. Another part is that it’s just way more interesting to me as a maker. Photo credit: @kirbygladstein

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@christiangideon shot this years ago back when my Mondrian vans were clean and pristine. I count myself super lucky to have gotten to know him better over the last several years. I’m continually inspired by his work, presence, and humility. 

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One of the things I enjoy most about my work is celebrating the natural beauty of contrasting wood species. Each stripe you see is a different species, without any stains or colorants. But with a coat of oil, the grain really comes to life. 

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It’s been incredible to work with @j.bilhan on a variety of SPS projects. For each one, he brings a totally different vision and perspective to his photography/styling. This was a favorite from the inaugural indigo collection, where I developed a natural wood stain using 100% natural indigo powder. 

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Eisbachwelle is a small river in Munich, Germany that comes to an intense bottleneck, creating a manmade wave that never breaks. Surfers come from around the world to drop in on either side of the bank and surf in the middle of the city. I was lucky enough to photograph some of the surfers last year and am happy to report that riding the Eisbackwelle wave is on my bucketlist. 

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My friend @calamityjane___ on the other end of the lens for a change. (And by lens, I mean iPhone). Anyway, she’s super cool and talented. You should try to be her friend too. 

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@Kasperloftgaard is the coolest Danish photographer I know. We did an impromptu shoot when he was in Houston earlier this year and found this killer location by the bayou, so I stole his behemoth camera and got to shoot his good side. 

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Because I share the shop with my father-in-law and woodworking mentor, Hugh, I end up moonlighting a lot. Fun fact: there’s a large ding in our 80-some-odd year-old drill press. It happened when my wife’s grandfather was teaching her uncle how to shoot a gun in their garage in Canada. Obviously it didn’t go well. 

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It’s been real y’all! Thanks for having me and I hope you enjoyed my #WStakeover. I’ll leave you with this killer shot of @aymilli88 by @christiangideon. If you’re interested in seeing more photography, be sure to go through all the seasonal collection lookbooks on the SPS site (sideprojectskateboards.com). And stay tuned to the SPS feed or sign up for the emailing list! There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that are set to debut in the coming weeks/months. Thanks y’all! — Jake

#WONDERSOUTH