National Treasure of
‘I guess simply we are very far away from the US & EU, where a lot of the skateboard industry is. I think that can sometimes play to our advantage as well.’
In an interview with Fast Times you mentioned it sill feels weird thinking about the last job you had. Does is still feel like a dream sometimes?
I’m not going to lie, I am incredibly lucky to wake up each day, go for a surf, then head into the studio & genuinely enjoy exactly what I am working on. So yes, you could say I am “living the dream” of some sorts.
Does it get into your head at times?
The people I am most inspired by are incredibly modest and hard working.
So, I try stick to that routine too. What makes pass-port so successful? I can’t really measure the amount of success or what exactly translates to success. But once again it comes back to where we are at as brand, I feel we are at a position where we can focus on what we want always. That’s in way of projects, team, products, community initiatives, we are really enjoying each area of the brand.
What is the biggest challenge selling boards outside Australia? I feel there is a small disconnect, as majority of team & our studio is based in Australia. We are very fortunate to have around 18 distributors overseas who handle the rest of the world for us.
What do you mean by disconnect?
I guess simply we are very far away from the US & EU, where a lot of the skateboard industry is. I think that can sometimes play to our advantage as well. Maybe we don’t get as jaded or creatively drained by a lot of the horrible brands or distasteful skateboarding out there (laughing).
‘The people I am most inspired by are incredibly modest and hard working. So, I try stick to that routine too.’
Speaking about the US, do you still manufacture your boards in the US?
Boards are still made at BBS Mexico. In my opinion best quality boards in the world.
Ever since you started in 2009 by how much have you increased the board prices (in % is okay) to what you sell them today (if at all)?
No doubt prices have increased over the years. This is direct increases from the factories/ raw material suppliers etc. Our margin for a deck in Australia & abroad has never been great. I still feel I want our boards to sit at a price that is affordable for a kid, aim of the game.
Back in the days Australian skateboarders had to go to the US to make a name for themselves. Is it still true nowadays? Can a pro-skater for Pass-Port make a living staying locally and compete with the world’s best at the same time?
The internet has changed things for sure! You can be a professional skateboarder on Pass~Port or another brand and make a living staying locally. But heading over to USA does have its advantages for sure. I think these days it’s about having a balance of both local & abroad.
‘To this day I still run the company like I did when I first started & that is to keep progressing, keep mucking up, keep searching for things that excites me.’
You also said that you want your riders to contribute to what the brand is about. What is your brand about?
Our brand is about The Whole of Community if you want to know the short answer.
Actually I was after the extended version.
Hmm here is sort of the longer/ P~P Memo version… I started Pass~Port back in 2009 & to be honest there wasn’t a whole lot that excited me about skateboard companies around that time. Not only in Australia but overseas as well, everything was lacking a bit of “Soul”. To this day I still run the company like I did when I first started & that is to keep progressing, keep mucking up, keep searching for things that excites me. I want Pass~Port to always act like a vessel for skateboarders & creative types, where each can truly express what their interpretation of ‘soul’ is. Be it skateboarding or the graphics that are produced -it has to ooze jazz.
If you could pick one pro-skater to ride for Pass-port, who would it be and why?
Hmmm that is one hell of a question…hmm Jake Johnson seems like a very good combination of a solid person & talented skateboarder with his own direction. Both things important as the other in my eyes.
What advice would you give to a talented skater that wants to realise the ultimate dream of being sponsored by a board company?
If your talented enough, your time will come no doubt. Focus & refine your productivity, creativity, progression & individuality within skateboarding. I still believe you should have a handful of video parts/ interviews before major sponsoring is a thing.
‘Hmmm that is one hell of a question…’
In an interview with workinskateboarding.com you said ‘No time to worry about what other brands are doing. Just stick to what you’re into & keep pushing that 100%.’ Which skateboard brand does get your attention and why?
I like what Polar/ Pontus does, they have their own ideas & direction. Also, Evisen, to be a Japanese skateboard brand that just screams Japanese style & culture, they nail it.
In Solo Skatemag, you mentioned that ‘you will always try to have something in the shop that people won’t expect’. Does this still come naturally, or can it be frustrating/exhausting at times?
We have a handful of friends, artist & contributors constantly working on new ideas, shows & items for the store, shows & items for the store. So, if it’s not my ideas, it’s one of the other talented individuals involved in the brand.
If there is one thing you could change about skateboarding, what would it be?
Making the entire industry more sustainable. It’s something we are working on internally at the moment too.
When you say more sustainable I assume to talk about environmental impact. What do you think a board company can/should be doing in this space?
Correct, environmental impact, workers conditions, the materials, inks, adhesives, packaging etc all used in every single product we make. There is so much room for improvement. It’s not going to happen overnight, but slowly we as a brand are chipping away at improving various areas of our business. It’s something I feel skateboarding in general is very much lacking. We are just taking initiative & we are only just getting started.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
Hmm…wouldn’t mind a beer & chin wag with Rennie Ellis if he was still alive. RIP RENNIE.
‘Also, Evisen, to be a Japanese skateboard brand that just screams Japanese style & culture, they nail it.’