custom skateboard design (printed by zazzle.com)

custom board by theksmith, printed by zazzle.com

earlier this year i showed up to my good friend Valeria’s 13th birthday party empty handed because i hadn’t seen her in a while and so i wasn’t sure what she’d really like. after all the presents had been opened, i asked her “what did you want but didn’t get?” and her instant response was “skateboard!” – so that part was easy!

that's V! (old pic)

i’ve known Valeria since the minute she popped out (seriously, i was in the hospital room too), so of course no regular board would do for someone so special. time to design something unique! at the party i also asked her if her favorite color was still purple and she said yeah but she was into camo a lot right now too. She’s no girly girl, so i that didn’t surprise me.

i found a great Photoshop template on Deviant Art by artist Nuno Lopez which really helped me visualize how the design would play out with the trucks/wheels and board curves. it looks like he also published it on Behance as part of a pack of templates with surfboards, snowboards, skis and wakeboards. the image at the top of this page was the final mockup using that template – a low res copy of the full-bleed design i created is below.

full bleed print image

i went with Zazzle for the printing. i’d had good luck with them before on fabric products, and they have a good selection of board styles. everything came out pretty good; i’d give them a 9 out of 10 on boards. there was a bit too much stretching of the printed laminate on the tips that exposed white backing through the ink, and they were pretty darn slow – but otherwise everything arrived as expected.

here’s the online pre-rendering that Zazzle showed versus the real product:

render vs real

i’m not sure exactly what DPI the print is, but the finer details of the design were preserved fairly well.

closer view

they offered a 7 3/8″ board which seemed like a good compromise size for a 13yo girl rider. i also went ahead and let Zazzle do a full assembly. they offer a full “ready-to-ride” add-on package with Independent Stage 10 trucks, Bullet bearings and a choice of 2 different 54mm Ricta wheels (i went with the Clouds).

dedication like clouds baby!

this was a fun project to make something unique for a great kid. i did also learn a few new tricks with Photoshop layer blend styles while i was designing. hopefully V’s enjoying it and beating it up nicely – after all, boards are meant to be used!

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