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Kebbek Skateboards; A love affair with skating over 20 years long – Scabs, road rash and all

A Cup Of Stoke

Kebbek Skateboards; A love affair with skating over 20 years long – Scabs, road rash and all

From the crippling debt of the tour a couple of seeds were sown, one of these continues to be benefit to the Vancouver skate scene to this day, while the other was the re-birth of PM Skateboards as Kebbek.

It’s 2008 and I just picked up skating for the third time in my life; I’m visiting New York for work but all my free time is spent pushing around Manhattan and learning how to slide from some amazing folks over in Brooklyn, I ask for a recommendation for a downhill board and I’m told to get a Kebbek.

But that’s not where this story starts, it’s just where I come into contact with one of the most focused board companies out there.

Rewind to 1992 and a young Ian Comishin returned to Canada after studying in Japan for a year, he decided to make skating a core part of his output to the world and started raising money by selling T-shirts under the name Powder Milk, which was the name of a store his friends ran in Japan.

After a short while he turned this into a full on Skateboard operation, now dubbed PM Skateboards.

Having grown up in the mountains of Kimberley BC, Population 8000~, where skateparks were a rarity, it wasn’t odd to find himself and a crew out on the hills or skating stairs sets, ledges or whatever they could find, at a time when Skateboarding was even more criminalised than it is today.

Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

“Mad racks of PM Big Bugger boards” Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

By the late 90s PM Skateboards had moved to Vancouver from Rossland, sponsored an all Canadian team of riders as well as having their boards produced domestically, having put so much attention and focus into supporting the scene it was only logical to spread the word to small towns and cities across BC.

This gave birth to the 1999 Hicks on Sticks tour that would bring live music and skateboarding to other small communities introduce new generations to the freedom that seemingly only piece of wood, metal and urethane can bring.

At a time when the internet was still in it’s infancy, getting the message out there took more effort than just a few clicks and boobs.

This tour is a story in itself and there’s even a documentary about it, you can watch the full version here:
iTunes – Hicks On Sticks

A fresh start

From the crippling debt of the tour a couple of seeds were sown, one of these continues to be benefit to the Vancouver skate scene to this day, while the other was the re-birth of PM Skateboards as Kebbek.

Having moved to Montreal to work and get everyone out of debt from the tour, Ian got in touch with Jody Wilcock and Jim Zielasnki (AKA JimZ), old friends from back home, and urged them to come and work with him in Eastern Canada in the province of Quebec, where the name Kebbek came from.

"Ye olde shop sign on Ville Emard, Quebec, where Kebbek operates" Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

Jody had designed lowered boards for Downhill Skateboarding, between him and JimZ they started supplying these to Landyachtz while still living in BC, when they moved to Montreal to join Ian, Kebbek was born and the concept of lowered boards moved into it’s heyday of the early 2000s with Kebbek prominently leading the market not only in design, but in research and production.

It’s thanks to work in robotics and CNC which Jody and JimZ brought to Kebbek that the level of detail and thought that went into each board meant that boards were produced with amazing consistency.
JimZ also produced some of the most early CNC trucks for longboards as well, the Speedparts truck, which is still a highly regarded truck today by those in the know.

"Ian in front of a stack of off-cuts from the CNC mill, holding his Signature board and successor to the Evo (AKA Comishin/JF Boily/Jon Caften" Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

At this time they were still producing boards for Landyachtz and Ian was behind the Evo’s design, arguably one of the more known lowered boards in downhill skateboarding, which made it’s way onto more podiums worldwide than possibly any board before or since.

Video: Re-edit of the Kebbek video for Concrete Wave DVD Evolution ~2006

Alongside these speedboards, Kebbek produced high quality slalom boards along with occasional PM homage models, in house artist Pierre Gravel supplied artwork for many years worth of ranges while also holding it down as a top contender in Slalom along with other Kebbek team riders Claude Reigner and Jean Pascal (Rockin’ Rookie).

Photos courtesy of PM/Kebbek

Aside from having lean your parents dream of, Pierre holds it down in many fields including art, running cones and putting on the odd ISSA event.

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“Before the BigZig revolution, you’d find the Kebbek team pre-drifting down some of the more fancy roads in Quebec city. Legend has it those toys are made by the Devil….” Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

The same ethos of a tight knit crew centred operation that was at the heart of PM is also a core belief in Kebbek, no other brand before or since in the world of downhill and slalom has ever supported so many riders with unique Pro Model boards.

This time though, riders outside of Canada found their names on a few boards, like Australian Legend Stephen Daddow, German master Bassi Haller to name a few.

“Race unknown, but JimZ in 1st, JF in 2nd, Jody in 3rd and Adam Colton in 4th.” Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

As the years went on, most of the early Kebbek team retired their models and made way for the young blood, but you’ll still see the legend’s names popping up here and there at events.

“JimZ developed the one handed approach to sliding toeside, even K-Rimes acknowledges this feat! http://goo.gl/Rmd12e” Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

To date, most of the technical achievements pioneered by Kebbek have gone on to inspire countless other riders and board designers worldwide.

"JimZ signature board; with CNC cut drop through for Randal 35 flushmounted baseplates..... such detail. I've read the Crail version was a fucker to do..." Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

“JimZ signature board; with CNC cut drop through for Randal 35 flushmounted baseplates….. such detail. I’ve read the Crail version was a fucker to do…” Photo courtesy of PM/Kebbek

It’s the constant drive to support their riders and skating as a whole that really sets the tone for Kebbek, while also pushing forwards with board design and this year we see a refined line up with 4 pro models and other models.

To me it’s never been so much about the brand, but instead the people behind it, with great skaters like Emma Daigle, Ben Dub, Amane Kishida and Juergen Gritzner putting out signature boards this year, I’m just as stoked about skating a Kebbek as I was back in 2008.

Moi, the author, trying to survive Peyragude 2Luxe Cup 2009 on my 1st Kebbek board, a JimZ. Still grab from Yvon Labarthe’s video

Author:

Based in London, I've been travelling across the UK and Europe hunting not just for the finest mountains, but also the friendliest people to ride them with. I co-founded and run most of Newton's Shred, a longboard shop in London. Slalom, bowls, distance and even a bit of freestyle mix up my time spent on board. You can also find me rolling around a mat doing aikido a few times a week inbetween daydreaming about living in Spain.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: KebbeK Skateboards celebrates 25th Anniversary with Opalescent deck series – Longboard Magazine Europe

  2. Pingback: Kebbek Skateboards brings back its roots with the Dig Deep deck – Longboard Magazine Europe

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