The other day I was down in Maryland perusing through the old barn shop and feeling nostalgic about the roots and memories of Bustin. The old shop is still there like an ancient tomb along with tons of original boards, random hardware and parts from companies I’m not sure still exist, riser packs from Sector 9 that I used to buy by the dozen, old clogged air brushes hap-hazardly linked to glass jars with rubber tubing, old trucker hats with sloppy bustin logos hand painted, faded print outs of graphic ideas with Bob Marley and more random items than I can believe still exist. This place is like a Bustin time capsule, but the coolest thing I found was a stack of old notebooks from college filled with drawings of longboards and Bustin logos.
I studied Psychology at Syracuse University because I thought it was interesting. I had dreamed of going to Syracuse ever since the 7th grade when I bought an Orangeman sweatshirt at Goodwill. That year I started cheering for the ‘Cuse basketball on ESPN and started telling kids at school that the University of Maryland sucked. Five years later I was determined to get there despite knowing my parents could never afford it. My mom and I scrapped, searching for every loan, grant and favor we could find and finally made it happen with a little help from the soccer coach who wouldnt give me a scholarship but helped pull strings in the financial aid department to get me there (in other words I’ll be paying it off for the rest of my life).
I studied psychology because it was the most interesting of all my liberal arts core classes my freshman year. I’ve never been big on planning your career, so I didnt much care that it wasnt going to get me a good job when I graduated. I liked it because it kept my attention and made me think. I would skate home from class thinking. I would drink beers with my friends and talk about the power of the mind. I never cared, and still don’t, much about trying to figure out what other people are thinking. I just wanted to understand myself and thought that the more I could do so, the more free I could be.
While home in Maryland during the summer of 2001, my cousins and I started making longboards in my dad’s barn. When I got back to school that fall, I was totally addicted to longboarding. My roommate graciously let me setup a workshop in our kitchen complete with saws, sanders, drills, clamps and spray paint. I would rush home from class to unclamp a board that had been glued up all day on my front door step. I think our neighbors always assumed I was an engineering student working on some wierd project so they ignored the resin smells and funky contraptions on our door step that looked like some kind of electric chair. Back then it was simple, build and ride. We lived at the top of a hilly, windy neighborhood of campus apartments and there was a free bus that would pick you up at the bottom and take you a mile or so back up to the top. It was literally like a dry ski resort. I’d jump on the bus all sweaty and sometimes bleeding and get confused glares from dkny frat boys and way-to-hot (even more annoying) long island husband seeking girls. Syracuse was an interesting place to be for a country boy from Maryland who liked soccer, skateboarding and the grateful dead.
In class I was convinced I could listen better if I could draw. Most of my classes had 100 kids in them, so I didnt really need the professors approval to do whatever I wanted, I just had to pass the tests. I would draw longboards the whole freakin’ time. By the time I graduated in 2003, I had dozens of notebooks with board sketches, graphic concepts, marketing ideas and probably atleast a million bustin logos. I also had what I thought was a firm grasp on the potential of the human mind. I knew that if you believe, it is so.
During the last semester of senior year everyone started asking each other the age old question ‘what are you gonna do now?’. For me, I wasnt sure so I just said I was going back to my dad’s barn to try to start a longboard company. That semester Carmelo Anthony lead our basketball team to a National Championship and I partied so hard with my friends that I’m lucky I even graduated. That June, I went home to Maryland with a Psychology degree and a few dozen notebooks full of ideas for Bustin Boards and got started.
The moral of the story is this: If you have a dream or something you just can’t get out of your mind, just get started and learn to believe.
Here are a few of the notes I unearthed in the old bustin barn shop: