It’s downright mainstream now, but when skateboarding first hit in the late ‘40s, the sport was confined to a few land-bound surfers riding the sidewalks on homemade (and, compared to today’s models, tiny) decks, complete with repurposed roller skate wheels. Obviously, the sport has caught on in decades since, but the boards themselves have gone through quite the transformation along the way.
It’s exactly that progression—from decks designed for carving the concrete when the waves weren’t cooperating, to the technical double-kick boards and modified longboards of today—that husband and wife Eric Pinto and Illana Hester of illPinto were looking to capture with their aptly name Evolution Series of hand-printed skate decks, on sale now on Gilt MAN. Each board is based on a different decade in skateboarding’s history using original wood from the era, or when that wasn’t available, wood custom shaped and drilled to properly represent the time. Each also comes with a pre-cut piece of era-appropriate grip tape, except for the ‘50s board (grip tape wasn’t used yet). Of course with that one you get a set of metal trucks and wheels, included. Call it an even trade.
And though each deck is completely ride-able, the series is actually designed for display—which is where artist Dennis McNett and printer Chicken Deck (yep, that’s his name) come in. McNett’s been carving block prints for more than 18 years, and that experience shows through in the intricately wrought, highly stylized snake designs he created for each deck. A veteran in the industry since 1988, Chicken Deck printed each of McNett’s designs on the boards by hand, in a limited edition of 10 decks per model (plus one artist’s copy of each). So yes, you can ride the one you pick up in our sale, but considering there are only a handful of others out there in the world, perhaps you should save the sidewalk surfing for something mass produced and let your new artistic acquisition rest easy at home.