Part minibiography, part DIY guide, this engaging book chronicles the making of handmade skateboards by a lifelong aficionado.
“If you’ve got wheels under your feet, you can fly.” A skateboard—composed of three main parts: a deck, trucks, and wheels—promises fast movement. That’s certainly how Californian surfers thought of skateboards in the 1960s. Though no one can definitively pin the origins of these boards-on-wheels to any one location or time, Lakin notes that California seems like a probable birthplace for them, emphasizing the connection between surfing and skateboarding. After a brief history of the skateboard, readers meet Jake Eshelman, a white craftsman whose skateboarding adventures began during his childhood in Virginia. The book then explores Jake’s notion to make handmade skateboards from tossed-out strips of wood like maple, cherry, and walnut and the founding of his company, Side Project Skateboards. The author follows this snapshot with an extensive look at Jake’s weeklong process, which features plenty of up-close, bright photographs detailing each step. The tone of the narrative voice remains upbeat and energetic throughout, while the text, photos, and various figures appear on graph-paper backdrops, keeping everything clean and pleasant. Ultimately, it’s the boards themselves that appeal: a timeline at the end of the book offers a glimpse at a broader view of the skateboard—and the cool world it inspires.
Radical. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)