Longboards made locally
Mike Mahoney is happy to see a growing number of longboard riders in Grand Junction, especially when he sees them gliding through town on a board he made.
The former middle school woodworking teacher made his first skateboard in 1977 and crafted his first longboard, a larger variant of a skateboard, in 1994. After school budget cuts ended his teaching career, he decided to blend his love of skateboarding with his woodworking abilities and make boards for a living. He opened Honey Skateboards in 2005 in southern California.
Mahoney, 49, moved the business to Grand Junction in December when his wife, Karen, was offered a job on the Western Slope. Mahoney said the local response to his boards has been excellent, especially compared to California, where there’s a glut of skateboard manufacturers.
The boards, which range from 27 to 43 inches long, are assembled in a shop at 2487 Industrial Blvd. and sold in stores across the U.S. and in Canada, Australia and Sweden, plus online at honeyskateboards.com.
In Grand Junction, the boards are sold at Traz Snow & Skate, 2466 U.S. Highway 6&50, and The Bike Shop, 950 North Ave.
Traz Manager Austin Shepherd said Honey boards are some of the store’s best sellers because they’re made locally with strong wood, mostly maple and a mahogany-like wood called sapele.
“They cost a little more but people are willing to pay for the quality,” Shepherd said.
The boards range in price from $150 to $265, depending on the length of the board, the quality of the wheels, and the material used in the board’s core, which is sandwiched between two wood sheets made of various colors of wood arranged in a pattern, a throw-back to classic surfboard design.
The cost steers many younger skateboard fans toward shorter models, Bike Shop sales representative Ed Redlinger said. But they’re popular among college students, who use them for transportation around campus.
The smoother, sturdy ride that a longboard offers has attracted a wide base of fans in recent years, Mahoney said. As a result, he has doubled production each year since he opened his business.
“The whole industry is exploding,” he said.
Mahoney signs and numbers every one of his boards in the order they were made. He recently signed his 3,500th board. He said he sells 100 to 150 boards a month.
His next venture is to make and market wood fenders for bikes. The colorful designs will soon be available at CustomWoodFenders.com.