“When my buddies went to Brazil to surf and I saw the pictures they sent me, I wanted to surf too. I decided to build my own longboard, and surf the asphalt here at home. A couple of friends saw the board and wanted one of their own, so I started manufacturing them in my garage”, says Christoffer Stivén, founder of the Swedish skateboard brand Urskog.
Already from the start the idea was to build handmade wooden boards, all of which are unique and numbered. As more and more people began to discover the well-crafted boards, Christoffer enlisted the help of Love Trollbäck, co-founder, to start experimenting with molded wooden boards. It worked out great. The boards became light and dimensionally stable, which allowed more to be produced with the same excellent finish.
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It’s not about the business
Urskog was never about the business, Christoffer says. “We wanted to do something we could be proud of. To live it. For seven years we worked without pay, we reinvested all the money in the company.”
At the beginning, few people understood how genuine and well-made the boards really were. The products were unlike anything else on the market, yet so many compared the wooden boards to blanks (unbranded low-priced boards). But little by little the skate community began to appreciate the pure wood material and the clean Scandinavian design. The Urskog brand, which originated from the longboard world, even began to gain some cred in skateboard shops.
Now, 15 years have passed since the start and the company has produced more than 15,000 boards. The brand is recognized today but still has the exact same value base as when they started.
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The value of true craftsmanship
Urskog works with Nordic birch in their boards and has a supplier of veneer from certified organic poplar, which is stained to imitate different types of wood. The veneer is put together exactly as the trees grow naturally, so that each board gets a unique look. The boards are manufactured in Sweden and the Nordic climate allows the wood products to maintain a higher quality. The steady air humidity reduces the risk of the boards warping.
Today, Urskog’s numbered boards are sold all over the world, but the brand keeps a fairly low profile. Perhaps because it is still the love for the wooden material and the genuine craftsmanship that is the driving force. “Our values are reflected in our company name”, Christoffer explains. “Urskog (‘Wildwood’ in Swedish) is something that has been here forever, something that is firmly rooted and has established its own unique lines. That’s how we want to look at what we do.”
The collaboration between Urskog and KnowledgeCotton Apparel was a natural fit. Both companies have chosen to follow their own path from the start and do what they believe in – without compromise. The collab can best be described as two brands united by the respect for genuine craftsmanship and for Mother Nature.
Together, Urskog x Knowledge have developed a collection of handmade longboards and skateboards, and for Spring Summer 2023 they will launch a joint clothing collection under the name ‘Tree Hugger’. “This collab is not a selling point,” says Christoffer. “It is rather a natural consequence of the fact that we are firmly grounded in the same values and think it is fun to do great things together.”
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