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Sick Boards Board Shop

Sick Boards Grind BC

Based in the Netherlands, Sickboards has just constructed a new shop, inspired by places they have visited. They hope it will inspire other shops, and of course their customers.

As founder Martijn Schrama explains, “The name Sickboards is sometimes confusing to people. They think we are a board brand. We did actually start out like that! Twelve years ago me and a surf buddy started building decks, and this is was the beginning of what is now known as Sickboards.”

They started importing gear to be able to build completes, which quickly grew into the online shop sickboards.nl. “I started importing gear because I couldn’t find much choice back then in the Netherlands,” Martin says. “From here, I started a small online shop. Back then longboarding was a super-niche market. My first shop was just a flat HTML page which showed the products we had, and people could email me what they would like to have. Luckily it is now a little more advanced.”

In 2006 Martijn met Lisa Karina, and in 2009 they moved to Scheveningen together. “This is the coastal area of the Hague and the place to live for Dutch surfers,” Lisa says. “The shop was in the back room of our house, and quickly surfers started ringing our doorbell requesting product.”

Sickboards was set up in the backroom, but in no time it took over the living Sick boards Vancouverroom, the kitchen and the bathroom. After the couch ended up on the terrace and the living room turned into a skate shop, in 2011 Martijn and Lisa decided it was time to open up an actual brick-and-mortar shop. The back room got redesigned to a team rider room, where in the following years, Lisa and Martijn hosted many team riders.

“Lisa brought in her social media skills, which helped to grow a big community on Facebook,” Martijn says. “We also set up Facebook groups in cities … skaters kept telling us they were the only longboarder in their city, so we brought them together, which resulted in lots of meetings and sessions. These connections, we think, are one of the reasons why longboarding is so big in the Netherlands.”

“All this had as a result that within a year our shop became too small and we moved to an old post office which was vacated,” Lisa says. “We knew we could stay for one year only, which was a great chance for us to explore how the shop would work in a bigger building.”

After Sickboards had to move out of Scheveningen, the shop went to a more industrial area in the city of The Hague. “We found ourselves a super-big, empty car dealership, which was awesome because it had a marble floor,” says Lisa. “It was perfect to practice sliding on flatground. Unfortunately, the lease was only for two years, as the building was scheduled to be torn down as well.”

In the beginning of 2015 Sickboards found its current home, a place it can actually stay. “Our goal in this new building was to create Sickboardshop 2.0, which houses the ultimate longboard/ skateboard experience!” says Lisa.

Lisa and Martijn were inspired by a number of American brands they had run across during their numerous visits to the United States. “We wanted to bring the feeling and vibe of our experiences abroad,” Lisa says. “We were looking for a way to lay out the shop in such a way we can do honor to the brands, and also explain more about the different disciplines in skateboarding/ longboarding. The biggest challenge was to make a logical plan to display all our brands (which are many) in a way customers can still have the overview. We decided to make different areas with a different vibes.”

When entering the shop, you are first welcomed in the Beach House. This is inspired by visits to the Arbor shop in Venice Beach and to the Surf & Wear Beach House in Santa Barbara. “It takes you back to where it all started, and has that beachy surf vibe,” says Martijn. In this part you find longboard and skateboard apparel, in a warm setting with a lot of wood and a big flamingo wall. It’s like a candy store for skaters. Everywhere you look you see fun and inspiring stuff. “In there you get greeted by our crew, and there is always free coffee for the thirsty,” says Lisa.

From the Beach House, you enter the California Beach, where Sickboards Sick Boards Skate Park Vancouverhas integrated their favorite places into the artwork on the walls. “We have our own pier, where you can see the Ferris wheel of Santa Monica, the little blue houses from Santa Barbara Pier, the iconic lifeguard house on the beach, a beautiful sunset, a black pelican in the air, and of course the bike path of Venice Beach with its beautiful palm trees!” Lisa says proudly. In front of this you will find California brands like Loaded, Arbor, Carver, Sector 9, Gravity, Holesom, Riviera, Jet, Madrid and Koastal, all in
their natural habitat.

“From the beach with its beach cruisers and dancers, you enter the City – which could be L.A., but we felt inspired by New York,” Martijn says. “We visited Earthwing when Brian [Petrie] still had a warehouse in New York, and the first thing he showed us was the view from a little pier behind his warehouse to the Statue of Liberty.” This inspired Sickboards to build the artwork for the Sick warehouse doors, the entry from the shop to the stock, where they have more than 1,000 different longboards in stock. “In New York we set up the East Coast brands like Earthwing, Comet, Bustin, Original and Triple Eight. It really fits in front of the skyline,” Lisa says. From the City you continue to the Park. Here the shop has placed the entry to their Sick Skatepark. “We wanted to be able to have a separation between the shop and the skatepark, so we can have a place for our demo boards,” says Martijn. “This is where people can choose over 40 boards to test out. Part of the fun of longboarding is that there is so much variety.”

In the test park Sickboards also set up a mini ramp, which is attracting lots of young skaters. It’s free to skate, and they have helmets and boards available to use. So even without gear or money, the local kids can learn to skate.

“We set it up so we can do skate events in summer,” says Lisa. “We can host a BBQ in the small garden in the back, and we’ve already had some terrific guests, including James Kelly, Liam Morgan, Patrick Switzer and Kevin Reimer.”

Like many shops, Sickboards sees a trend of longboarders also wanting to get into park or street, so they ensured that a big bowl was included in the artwork in the shop. “This bowl is inspired by the skatepark in Santa Cruz, which we visited this last December,” Martijn says. “The fullpipe is the actual entrance to the Sick skatepark. In front of it we are displaying our growing street collection, with brands like Plan B, Street Plant, Element, Toy Machine, but also Powell-Peralta, Santa Cruz, Creature and more.”

The bowl also transitions to the mountains, right next to the Mountain Shed.

Inside the Mountain Shed Robin Pelgrim has his workshop, where he Sick Boards owner BCbuilds his custom longboards called Xtensionboards. “We integrated the workshop in the shop, so anyone will be able to see how a longboard is built,” Lisa says. The shed is located right in the middle of the downhill area.

This area is a key component of the shop. “It’s a more Canadian area, and like the bowl, has been built this winter. It’s translated in the artwork through mountain views, hairpins and a big waterfall,” Martijn says. Here the shop displays brands like Landyachtz, Rayne, Predator, Kebbek, Restless and the downhill boards of Sector 9, Omen, DB and others. This is the newest area of the shop, and plans are to display more of their huge selection of specialized downhill gear.

Next in line is their huge collection of precision trucks and bushings.

Sickboards was mindful to cater to all types of customers. “In the middle of all this specialized and customizable longboard gear, we have the entry-level boards,” Lisa says. “This is for first-timers who come in and want to purchase something more budgetfriendly.” These products are purposely put in the middle, so kids can understand there is so much more out there. “If and when they start to feel the love of longboarding, they can choose from and find their favorite discipline(s),” Lisa says. “We will let them feel the difference between different boards, and help them choose what board most fits their personal interests.”

For Sickboards, it’s all about ensuring customers are stoked. Everyone buying a board has an opportunity to ride it in the shop. “This way we can teach them the first steps, and if there is time we also try to give them that first lesson in braking and safety,” Lisa says.

Even though the shop is still a work in progress, the reaction so far has been fantastic. “People are flabbergasted,” Lisa says.

“We haven’t really changed the outside of the building yet, so when you enter you have no warning of what you are going to experience. People stay for hours, and totally forget there is an outside world. We want to be a truly destination shop for customers.”

Sickboards is also interested in creating an area for European brands. “We see a growing importance of the European brands,” explains Lisa. “If we can, we try to support the cool ones and try to find a spot in the display of our huge collection. We already carry many, like Alternative, Lush, Root, Olson & Hekmati, Fibretec, Airflow and more.”

A huge amount of work went into making this shop a reality. Lisa and Martijn express their gratitude to Sonso Masia, who helped put these ideas into designs one year ago. “We’d like to extend a special thanks to Jill Martens, aka Shake, for the hours and hours of painting the walls!” they say. “A final thank you to all the customers shopping at Sickboardshop. And of course we are super proud of the #sickcrew and #teamsick for their big role in all this!”

In terms of what’s next, Sickboards is currently figuring out sponsorship for 2016. “It’s amazing how many events are happening this summer in Europe,” Lisa says. “Big Mountain Skate is doing a great job, and in France lots of events are being planned right now. Then there is Kozakov, Lillehammer and maybe Peyragudes, and many, many more. It’s going to be an awesome summer!”

Follow @Sickboardshop on Instagram to keep up to date with their adventures.

Thankyou to Michael Brooke and Concrete Wave Magazine

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