Behind the Brand: DB Longboards
Staying inside the lines or pushing the boundaries? DB Longboards does both.
|Founders||Richard Docter, Bryce Hermansen, Tim Mackey|
|Disciplines||Cruising/Carving, Dance/Freestyle, Downhill/Freeride|
For many, the wooded mountains of the Pacific Northwest are a source of inspiration and relaxation. For the DB Longboards crew, it’s the meandering roads that flow down and around these mountains that have fueled their creative endeavors and driven them to create a unique identity in the longboarding world. This landscape became the perfect grounds for a trio of outdoorsy high school-aged friends to band together and start the brand, originally referred to as ‘Dashboards,’ on their nights and weekends.
The carving capabilities of Coreflex Technology makes worrying about cracks like these a thing of the past.
Starting in 2003, Richard Docter, Bryce Hermansen, and Tim Mackey’s operation first took shape as a garage-based operation to craft flatland skimboards, though their endeavors in skateboard construction soon followed. As the group maintained a working relationship into their college years, the business began to grow to a point of maturity as they graduated. With that, they were able to devote more time and effort into taking the endeavor from a hobby to a viable, long term undertaking.
Shaped by their environment and the natural interest in the outdoor lifestyle, the diverse collection boards that the DB crew began to manufacture accurately reflected their broader interests in board sports, whether at the beach or in the mountains. Rather than sticking to one specific discipline, DB Longboards drew inspiration from factors like naturally having more street-oriented backgrounds and experimenting with downhill sliding using cheap pairs of gloves.
The Flex 1 option on this Coreflex Compound is the perfect launchpad for huge hippy jumps.
However, certain moves like Production Manager, Tim Mackey’s, move to San Luis Obispo truly began to push the brand towards a more downhill and freeride-centric offering, rather than the cruise-oriented boards they had been working on. Mackey bringing back a more refined outlook on this side of the industry led the team to a focus on technical refinements in their tactics. Essentially, this helped DB Longboards maintain their proud status of a domestic manufacturer by allowing them to create value added products. With unique points of differentiation, the team was able to compete based on a strong value proposition where they could provide a board that was not only superior but also comparable in price to competitors.
In specific example, the DB Longboards Coreflex Series is a tech-infused marvel of longboarding innovation. Designed with carving and freestyle in mind, the deck is based around a strong but lightweight, bamboo core. This core sits between precision placed, tri-axial fiberglass and high density materials on top and bottom, in order to provide an intriguing flex pattern. From there, the board is insulated by a set of urethane blast tips at the nose and tail to dampen the impact of unexpected dings. Plus, for the personalized accommodation based on body size and preference, these materials have been scaled to create three different flex compositions, ranging from least to most flexible. With constructions like this coming out of their warehouse, it’s clear that DB Longboards has the formula figured out for creating some of the most technically advanced longboards out ight now.
They key to this, as VP of Sales and Marketing - Nathan Pauli claims, is learning from the competencies of similar products, figuring out how to apply these practices to their operation and then, most importantly, adding the personal stamp to make boards like the Corflex Compund series one-of-a-kind. Adding onto this Pauli said,
“That’s how all creativity works. Nobody just sparks a brilliant idea out of the blue. Every longboard today is rooted in a skateboard that was made 60 years ago.”
That being said, Pauli and the crew feel that if they continue making active contributions and innovations to the industry, they will have done their part to support the progression of longboarding.
Beyond skateboarding, the DB Longboards crew also keeps their sights set on environmental consciousness, by maintaining 100% repurposing policy. By that, all of the scrap wood generated from their boards is retained and reused for other products down the line. In swapping out trash cans for recycling bins, the crew claims that until recently, there was never even a trash can in their manufacturing shop.
Matt McDonald bringing it down somewhere in the San Juan Islands.
At the end of the day, the operations behind DB Longboards come down to the same group of high school friends who have moved from the garage to an office, but have maintained the same passion and enthusiasm for longboarding creation since day one. Though their distribution footprint has grown to become significant, the operation is still run at the grassroots level.
As for the future, the plans for the DB Longboards involve keeping up with trends within longboarding, riding the wave and evolving their production quality with the times. At the same time, they are looking to place a specific emphasis on supporting scene involvement on the grassroots level. Pauli summed this up by stating, “The future for us is hopefully more local events and stoked out kids across the country that we can help get more engaged in longboarding.”
All photos authorized to use by Nathan Pauli.