California in 1976: what a time to be alive. Surf, skate and punk cultures were busy merging, abandoned pools were being used for expressing creativity and Banzai Inc. released one of the most timeless skateboard designs in the sub-culture’s history.
In a world of wooden boards and rough planks, the Banzai model was fashioned entirely from anodised aluminium, a high grain varnish and space-age design element that, according to the company picking up where Banzai left off, embodied ‘an aesthetic much closer to the era’s zeitgeist than other skateboards of its time’ – although we’d argue nailing a set of roller-skates to the bottom of a plank is about as punk rock as you can get.
Fast forward 44 years and the company has enlisted the help of artists and experts in their field to produce a limited edition re-issue of the original board. Restricted to just 50 boards per colour and length (23.5-inch & 28.5-inch), each board comes in a high-grade collector’s box featuring a signed art print by one of the following artists: David Carson, Jay Nelson, Nathaniel Russell, Todd Glaser, and Cole Barash.
Each bespoke board is hand-brushed and made entirely from anodised aluminium, while come fitted with grippy urethane wheels, ceramic bearings, the original style x-caliber lightweight trucks, stainless mounting parts and a custom-designed tool in a sleek leather case.
As tempting as it would be to take these boards out for an uncompromising shred, the beautiful presentation boxes, complete with signed artwork and individual components carefully arranged in a case, look like they were crafted for high end man sheds or office spaces but we do hope they get some use because they look damn cool.
Medium boards are priced at €499 and the larger models cost €579, including shipping. Customers are first asked to choose a colour, which is matched to an individual artist and dictates the artwork that comes loaded within the box, and then decide on a size.
According to Banzai, the larger boards are equipped with thicker, shock-absorbing riser pads and a wheelbase near that of modern skateboards, while the shorter unit is ‘probably the closest you will ever get to the original 70s slalom vibe’, say Banzai.
“We have deleted the shaky behaviour of its ancestors but preserved the nimble and quick spirit of a short wheelbase. Lower to the ground and with a narrow shape it demands a more controlled riding technique,” they say.
Check out the Banzai website more more info. Don’t mind us, we’re off to find an abandoned pool. Plenty of those around at the moment.