23 June 2008


The online fingerboard scene has evolved so much since I joined it back in 1999. Initially, it grew from an unorganized group of people held together by a string, which was their common interest in fingerboarding. Unfortunately, almost no people that I can remember from the techdecks.com forum. Since it was unorganized and unprofessional, people had little to gain from the online community back then. Companies were little more than kids selling cardboard and glued together popsicle sticks.

Slowly but surely fingerboarding evolved. Thanks to innovators like Gary Moyer of Moshmelloz and the global influence of Blackriver Ramps, people realized that they could take it more seriously and make products. Look at the list of the longest lasting companies in the FFI scene. Arctic Hardware (Martin Ilsley), Primo (Brandon Jones), and Flatface (Mike Schneider) all have been around for a very long time and are some of the more successful companies in our scene. How did they succeed where others failed? By respecting their customers, developing great products, and through their own passion for fingerboarding, these companies were able to thrive.
Professionalism is vital to me. If I am going to pick between two companies that sell identical products, I always choose the product which is more professional. Service, quality, and packaging all play into my decision. Professionalism is what separates Blackriver from other companies. Alot of it comes with experience. There is a framed paper in my office that states: "If you think something is more important than a customer, think again . . .". The aforementioned companies, and others who I have not mentioned, all seem to fit well with this motto. Honestly, how is a company going to survive otherwise?
It is astonishing how a forum of kids/teens/adults went from selling ragtag products to having a full-fledged economy in the transactions forum, where professional quality products are being traded/sold hourly. After I returned from a two year long hiatus, I was amazed at how much different the scene was. Prior to my hiatus, Vegas was the big deck company in FFI. The shape was inconsistent, the plys werent sanded, and the quality compared to the decks nowadays was lacking. (Vegas' were amazing for performance tho :) ) Berlinwood was around, but few in FFI ventured to buy one. Wheels were made out of rubber, and there was no such thing as riptape. When I came back, the transaction section had more posts per day than there were in a whole year prior to my leaving the scene. The decks were shaped like real skateboards, and had bright graphics. There were bearing wheels, and tuning equipment. I could not believe the growth in such a short amount of time.
I was excited, yet daunted by all the changes I saw. I was worried that people's love of fingerboarding would be diminished by the want of free products/sponsorship. I did witness a few who were in it out of material want. A few people sold products, yet did not send the items, thus taking money. Others scammed newer people by selling them fake products. Being cheap and greedy might lead to some short term satisfaction, but diminishes ones own character.
Luckily, there are plenty of people who are honest, and hard working that makes the scene shine brightly.



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