Bastl Boards are a German longboard brand who specialise in making custom boards for riders mostly into new school longboarding. The company behind the brand is the Side Walk Surfing Company – we caught up with them in Munich at ISPO. They immediately caught our eye with their funky boards and you could tell they were passionate about what they did.
Tell us about yourself and who is involved in the company? How long have you been longboarding?
Andreas Gränz and me (Sebastian Mühlbauer) are working 100% for the Side Walk Surfing company. Felix Menthon and Matthias Göttlicher are still students in Würzburg, but they help out whenever they can. We all met whilst studying in Würzburg (north of bavaria). Andreas Gränz is now an engineer for fibres, plastic and sandwich constructions. I am here for the shapes, to stay in contact with the shops and riders and for the right direction.
I got my first skateboard when six years old. Somehow it was my first Longboard. It was a 100% Plastic deck with an old school shape. Then I got into snowboarding and freestyle skating. When I was 19 I looked out for some alternative to snowboarding in the summer. I realized that longboarding is a great option. You can meet with friends, ride some hills, have a good time and the best thing, mostly it’s warm and you don’t need special boots, trousers or a winter jacket. Just the board and off you go.
How did you get started making boards?
At age 20 I built my first models, because the decks you could get on the market where too stiff and had no active rebound. The switzer slalom models in this time, where flexy but too short. I built some for my friends and me and than stopped building, because I moved to study in another town (Würzburg). But three years ago, I started again. A good friend of mine who I grew up with (Mike from the great Punk Band “Cashless” ) called me and wanted a deck. So I started again in my small garage. Andi saw the first results and told me that we could make it better with the right formula. Since than we have been working hard on the perfect longboards. At ISPO 2011 we showed our results for the first time and we are really satisfied
What type of riding are you into?
We are more into cruising, sliding and jibbing around. We are not into Slalom or Downhill. What we do seems to be called “new school longboarding” because we also do tricks with our boards. That is why they all have a functional Shape, for example nose and tail. We love to make big turns down a smooth hill, slide and then go fast into the next corner to make a slide again. We also love to cruise in the city looking for some new spots where we can make a hippi jump, tiger claw or whatever.
Do you enter competitions?
There are no real competitions for this kind of riding style, but maybe we organize a small freestyle longboard event in Berlin together with the shop “lassrollen”.
We often go to the slalom or Downhill events, but we don’t enter the races. We have a cold beer and look at the absolutely crazy guys who ride at hyper speed down the asphalt!! We have a lot of respect for these dudes but we don’t often go over 55 kmph.
How is the german longboard scene?
The german longboard scene is getting bigger and bigger. I think this is like everywhere else. We have a lot of good riders, a lot of motivated people who push the whole culture. We also have some other small brands who make really good boards, for example “hackbrett” or “olsen and hekmati”. I compare the longboard culture here with the snowboard culture 15 years ago. You know each other and everybody respects each other. When you ride through a city and see another longboarder you meet and talk and often you go for a beer together
Do you get to travel much?
I travel as much as i can. It depends on the work. When i travel it is to a longboard event! The next Event is in Berlin, the forum longboardz.de is celebrating it’s 3 year anniversary. Last year there were around 150 shredders hitting the Berlin streets.
Where does the company name come from?
On the first longboards i built, i just wrote with a pencil “Bastl Boards” on it. Bastl is my nickname. So we don’t think long about it, just take the name and also the handwriting from me for the logo. The logo i also created on my own, we think that a smiley fits our company philosophy perfectly.
You make custom graphic boards – how long does it take to get one made?
We want the people to get creative! Thats why we offer custom graphic boards. You also could choose one of our 15 wood veneers for that special look for your board. Staying creative and indiviual is a main topic of our philosophy. We always work together with artists or musicians we know. So we try to push their art and they do the same for us, for example by wearing one of our t shirts on stage.
For a custom graphic you have to wait between 2-3 weeks until it’s done. All our boards are 100% handcrafted and good things take time. But when you hold the deck in your hand you know that the waiting was worth it.
Which is your most popular model?
People love the Kathak because it’s a fantastic board for freeriding, making big slides and so on. The nose and tail helps you to make tricks. Old Freestyle Skaters love the Calango, because you can do ollies, kickflips and so on. Because of the cutouts you can ride the Calango also with soft bushings and big wheels. Surfers loves the Balboa because of it’s smooth ride, it really feels like you standing on a wave.
It is hard to say which model is most popular. I love the Bolero, because i like the flex and the power that’s inside the deck. Also the new school longboarding tricks work easier on it than on the Kathak, because of the rocker shape of the Kathak. The Kathak would win in a race though!