Solomon here. I found myself getting pretty emotional as I read this. Experiences like this make all the falls, pain and negative shots we get more than worth it. This is Bustin. This is why I skate…………
What ‘s up Bustin people !
This email is for you and for any person that thinks they are too old to skate.
I received my Maestro about two weeks ago and I just wanted to let you know about the experience the board and Bustin has made in my lifestyle. Be prepared to shed tears.
I am a Venezuelan guy who grew in a oil exporter country in a very violent city, Caracas. Cheap gas (with $1 you fill up the tank of a Van and still have change back), lots of cars and motorcycles are everywhere. Riding a skateboard or a bicycle is not something cool. It is a loser’s activity. Especially after 14. When I was a kid, I had a plastic board that my dad bought for me (more than 30 years ago). It sucked but I loved to ride it while at elementary school and part of high school. Nothing radical, just going down some steps and cruising in the parking lot of my building. None of my close friend had nice boards with components of the best brands (kryptonics, Sims, G&S, Alva, Independent, Gull Wing, etc ). We would not skateboard much in this baseball frenzy country. Skateboarding was a seasonal activity and bicycling would take us farther and safely (even though more than once, other guys tried to rob us the bikes ). To much competition for this skateboard culture. Of course, there were people immersed in it, but I was not one of them. By 17, I was in College. Played soccer for 5 years for the University team and again no time for skateboarding. Free weekends were for bodyboarding. This was more than 15 years ago. Nowadays, I am not young by the standards of society (40) and after two left knee surgeries and one right knee surgery I can barely squat. As a result, I cannot slide or afford to learn new tricks. If I fall, I break. As simple as that. Besides, I weigh 36 pounds more than when I was 19 and at my best shape (playing soccer 5 times a week and bodyboarding almost every weekend). Fate brought me to the states in 2000 (Virginia-Washington DC area), found a Job, got married and now have a kid (19 months old).
I have to recognize that I am out of shape, do not skateboard like Solomon or Mike, not young enough to be on a board and to the eyes of a lot of people I should be heading to a bar in order to have fun.
In 2005, my wife gave me a gift certificate from a Skateboard web page and I bought a “Street” skateboard (Listen board, Independent trucks and spitfire wheels). I loved it. It is very easy to maneuver but a nightmare for going down any slope safely. I would ride it occasionally but to tell you the truth, if I would not ride it for a month I could not care less. This year I decided to ride my board with my son Santiago (sitting, slowly, on the sidewalk) but my fat ass was so big and the fact that I could not bend my knees well did not allow me to sit and fit comfortably on a 31-inch street skateboard. Come on, my belly even ached man!
I needed a new board. Eventually, I knew I would get a longboard but it was not something I needed.
But the universe conspires with you to help you get what you want, and my brother in law happened to move to Marcy St. two blocks from the new Bustin longboard shop. I visited him in March 2010 and he talked to me about this shop. Even though he tried very hard to describe how great the “longboard” shop was, I thought it was another nice place where you can buy things. I was going to stay three of days on the neighborhood, so I was in no rush to visit the Bustin shop.
When I decided to visit it, as soon as I entered it, I realized it was a special place. I could not believe it! Boards everywhere and all looked awesome. On the left side each skateboard was placed in a rack that look specially designed and measured to hold it. It was like every board had its throne. That gave the image (that is what I thought) that these people were proud of each one, that each skateboard was different and important for some reason, that Bustin did not represent mass production and that they cared for their product. On the other side there was a wall full of boards (with very nice designs), wheels, trucks, helmets and gloves that caught the eye and made the casual bystander even ask for the products and unintentionally become a potential buyer (like me). On the left side, behind the arrange of skateboards lies like a workshop where you can see the Bustin people assembling their products. Nothing seems to be trusted to chance there.
The best part is that when the Bustin people wait on you, they do not approach as if you owe them anything. Attitude is not their brand. Even though they are salesmen, they are the kind that take the time to explain you longbording and the Bustin approach to this activity. They explain the pros and cons of each skateboard they sell and if you ask them, they give you advice and what could be better for you. Even better, they let you ride their boards so that you can test them.
Let us get real here. I am the prototype of a buyer from Sports Authority, where the boards are encased and the most you could do is to spin a wheel with your fingers. No information of what to buy since you just want a skateboard. Bustin, made an “old” guy (but with “young” heart and soul), want to ride a skateboard again. I think, I represent a dormant but big share of the market waiting to be lured. We just have to be reminded we could be kids again while continuing our life full of responsibilities as any other human being.
Bustin boards is not a skateboard shop. It is a family, a phenomenon, a culture with mystic. You feel surrounded by friends in that shop. All that (plus an amazing web site that allows designing your own skateboard – including the graphics) is Bustin’s business model.
Going back to my shopping experience, I wanted a “long” longboard so the Bustin Complex (42 inches) was the best for me, even though I could live with a 38-inch board. But when I saw the Bustin Strike which uses the drop-through trucks and hence stand closer to the ground I decided that I wanted to have that too in the board I picked. The problem is that the “Bustin Strike” is too narrow. I may have gone three times to the store to make questions and I did not even get a disapproval gesture or felt any rush to sell me a board right away. I even bump into Solomon (Bustin Skateboards rider, salesmen, internet NYC longboarding star) on the streets of Williamsburg while strolling with my family,- and again-, no attitude and respect. I left to Virginia empty handed that weekend since they were not selling a product similar to the Strike and the Complex rolled into one. No hard feelings.
A couple of weeks after my first visit to the Bustin Store, I checked on the Bustin web site (which I browsed daily to play with my own future board designs) and I saw the “Maestro” special edition Advertisement. Drop-through trucks on a wide and long board. I bought it, I rode it and I loved it. Besides, the fact that it has kick tails on both sides make it more maneuverable in the city, in roads with patches, holes, bumps or bad paved areas.
I cannot compare my riding experience with other longboards, since this is my first one. But the difference with my “Street” skateboard in terms of cruising and going downhill are from earth to heaven. Slopes I would go down fearing to fall, with the Maestro is ridiculously easy. I cruise at least four times a week (my wife and son do not allow me more frequency) in the George Washington Parkway which is full of trees and let me tell you something, debris and leaves are nothing for this board and its 75mm Boca wheels.
My objective is not bombing hills or sliding (even though I am trying to learn), but I am squatting better after rehabilitating my knees and cruising at low level, with the 7 pm sun on one side, and on the other side the blue color of the Potomac River surrounded by nature, seagulls, ducks, blue herons and casual bald eagles. It is quality time, and carving among the dash lines on the pavement with the Maestro (Bear trucks and 75mm Bocas) it is fun (maybe stupid but fun). The board makes it simply. It even makes you looks good. Additional to all that, the head-turning quotient is extremely high. People love the board. Even at my work’s parking lot (I carry it in the trunk and sometimes waiting for my wife, I rode it there), friends I would not know used to surf and skateboard stop their cars to see the board. Two of them want one. They know where to get it.
But this is just cheap poetry (but very intimate and soulful) from a not-so-cool-overweight-old rider that wear helmets, gloves and knee pads (Bern, Loaded and Bern respectively – all bought from Bustin). The climax comes when I sit on the board with my son and his eyes open brightly when he knows is about to ride on the board with his dad.
My son’s laughs and chuckles are what are important. Those details make my day and sharing with him these moments are simply indelible memories to me. Even though it sounds VEEERY corny, I have to thank part of it to the Bustin family.