Bill Erickson’s Longboards are Easy on the Earth

A Seattle craftsman reinvents the wheel with reclaimed-wood skateboards.
Bill Erickson turns fallen trees into lively longboards in his Ballard studio

1/ Erickson longboards are 39–48 inches long, weigh about 10 pounds and start at $299.

2/ Erickson’s other reclaimed-wood creations include dominoes, cheese knives, cutting boards and a slingshot.

3/ Longboarding is a workout that’s easy on the legs, knees and back. “Your core is engaged, balancing and rolling,” Erickson says.

4/ Erickson sells longboards and other hardwood crafts at Pike Place Market (Sundays, Mondays, and often on other days, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; check website) and online at ericksonlongboards.com.

If you think your skateboarding days are over, Bill Erickson would like you to reconsider. At 46 years old, the founder and sole craftsman of Erickson Longboards refuses to accept age as an excuse to avoid longboarding—a sport similar to skateboarding, but less about tricks and more about cruising.

Erickson says that most of his customers are around his age, plus there’s a smattering of slightly older folks, including his 76-year-old uncle. In fact, the Ballard resident and wine rep attests, “Part of the reason I did this was to get people on boards who’d never thought of it.”

The other impetus was putting his commitment to sustainability into action. Erickson makes his gorgeous boards out of reclaimed domestic hardwoods (from dead and fallen trees), including Pacific madrone, Hawaiian koa and walnut.

“I polish it down to the point it almost looks like a baby grand piano,” he says, and indeed, the boards look better suited for a sculpture garden than a skate park.

In 2009, Erickson began selling his boards (along with other reclaimed-wood crafts, including cutting boards) at the Fremont Sunday Market. Last January, he moved his booth to Pike Place Market and began taking orders from all over.

While he may have to hire an assistant to deal with the increase in demand, Erickson says he has no plans to open a retail store, preferring his freedom. “I can jump in my car and do some markets along the California coast…and be the artsy hippie I aspire to be.”

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