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The 40-Year Reign of Independent Trucks

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These days, we see skateboard truck companies compete fiercely. Tons of time and money goes into the research & development of coming up with the lightest, most responsive, durable, and good looking truck for all types of skating. Brands like Ace and Tensor are implementing clever design ideas into their flagship models to make them stand out and offer better value. But despite all these great options, one truck company seems to be doing extremely well without desperately trying to outperform others. You guessed it, it’s Independent.

For decades, Independent has been capturing skateboarding’s spirit of counterculture, non-conformism, and do-it-yourself attitude. Unlike ’70s and ’80s SoCal clean-looking, surf-inspired nerdy brands, Independent portrayed a rugged, dark, and rebellious form. Independent Trucks was the industry’s response to the need of a truck that both turns well and holds up to repetitive grinding and high impact. Back in the late ’70s, skateboard specific trucks have already existed, but none of them combined both of these properties. Trackers had a frustratingly poor turn, which didn’t sit right with pool skating pioneers. Bennetts had that, but they also had a deal-breaker of a baseplate, made out of plastic. Can you imagine skating a 10ft bowl, not knowing when your trucks are going to crack and fall off your board? Indy founders Vitello, Swenson, Novak, and Shuirman weren’t down for that either.

The Independent Stage I came out in 1978, and quickly became the new standard. The truck looked sleek, turned well, and was quite light for its time. To make things better, Indy trucks were more durable than anything available, proving that they were indeed “Built to Grind”. On top of that, the team was assembled at a lightning speed, including prominent riders, such as Brad Bowman and Steve Olson. Few years into its existence, Independent had more elite skaters on their team than anyone else. People like Steve Rocco, Tony Alva, and Christian Hosoi fit the brand perfectly not only in terms of their technical ability, but also with their image and attitude. Independent have always been more than just a truck brand. 

Today, Indy is stronger and more recognized than ever, with killer products and an extremely versatile team. With a huge fanbase all over the world, this brand proves that sticking to your roots pays off. While other brands are constantly coming up with not-so-needed innovations (think Tensor’s baseplate sliding inserts), Independent maintains their “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. The skateboarding community is generally innovation-resistant when it comes to gear, with most adult skaters hesitating to try anything unfamiliar.

Indy’s success comes from understanding skaters, and only implementing the innovations that are proven to stay. Remember when the Stage 11 came out? That was in 2013. At this point it is evident that it’s nearly impossible to come up with something much more improved. We diehard Indy fans, are going to wait for the next flagship model, while enjoying not only the current one, but also the heritage stages of the past. Long Live Independent, Ride The Best!

– Illya Nemyrovs’kyy

 

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