We can’t keep our plan a secret anymore. Dwindle Distribution is producing skateboard decks in China. For months now, we at Dwindle have had to sit by silently and listen to all the rumors, all the mudslinging, and all the false claims from those who wish they’d done it first or who have been misinformed. Now that we have finally perfected our process, it’s time to set the record straight. It’s time to explain what Dwindle is doing and how this is going to help skaters, retailers, and the industry to further grow and develop skateboarding.
For the past three years, under the direction of Rodney Mullen, Dwindle Distribution has developed a secret weapon-the state-of-the-art, Chinese production facility we call Chop Chop Wood Shop. For a quarter of a century, Rodney Mullen has arguably done more to usher us into the modern skateboard era than anyone. The combination of his freakish technical and innovative skills on a skateboard with his grade-A nerd qualifications make him an ideal candidate to spearhead the team of experts we assembled to create Chop Chop Wood Shop. Decades worth of experience from skate-industry wood-shop legends, material scientists, industrial adhesive gurus, veneering specialists, as well as aerospace CAD/CAM technologists, form the foundation of Chop Chop.
“For my entire pro career, I have had to handpick every deck I ride from general production-feeling comfortable on only one of five decks. With Chop Chop, this is the first time in my career I can pick any production deck and ride it with complete comfort. There’s no way I could go back”-Rodney Mullen
Through Chop Chop, Dwindle is able to provide a superior Canadian maple board that is a more affordable product for skaters. In addition, Chop Chop Wood Shop enables us to accelerate technical advancements in skateboard decks, and bolster the broader U.S. and international retail markets for skateboards.
Effective November 1, Dwindle Distribution will be lowering the wholesale pricing of all its brands to pass this production advantage on to skaters and retailers alike.
Why Is The Price Being Lowered?
It would be tempting for us at Dwindle to hang on to this competitive advantage and keep this production savings in extra margin for our own company. While short term this may help us out, long term it doesn’t help skaters and it doesn’t help the skate industry.
The branded skateboard market is where it is today because in the current economic environment it is clear that skaters have become incredibly price-sensitive and want more affordable quality product.
In addition, for too long, retail margins have been too low and unsustainable on skateboard decks. Simply put, wholesalers have not given the retailer enough chance to make good money on a product critical to a boardsport retailer.Skateboarding needs aggressive moves and innovation to continue to grow. Consequently, Dwindle wants to pass this price advantage on to skaters and retailers alike by lowering the prices on Almost, Blind, Darkstar, enjoi and World skateboard decks. Dwindle is doing this to ensure that skateboarding and our businesses grow into the future.
Why Is Dwindle Doing This?
Quite simply, Dwindle has always strived to be the market leader in skate product, brands, and market development. The move to set up Chop Chop Wood Shop only further enforces this position as an industry leader. Chop Chop enables Dwindle to better control our current product quality and develop new advanced products. All this, while simultaneously lowering the price on existing skate-deck products.
Our competitors are scrambling to develop Chinese or offshore sourcing of skateboard decks. However, they’re behind the game. We started earlier, invested significantly more and are on a mission to see Chop Chop Wood Shop get the recognition it deserves as the world’s premier wood shop for boardsports production.
Undoubtedly, this is the birth of a new era of skateboarding.
And for the tecch freaks out there-some words from Rodney Mullen.
Laying The Foundations Of Chop Chop Wood Shop
The fundamental challenge in developing anything for skateboarding is translating what “feels best” to professionals into the technical language involved with any manufacturing and design process. This hurdle, along with costing issues, is the key reason why skateboard technology has been stagnant for decades while nearly every other related field has progressed at exponential rates.
We firmly believe there is no other wood shop in the U.S. or Europe that has gone to the same extremes from the conceptual and procedural planning all the way down to the individual labor built into each and every deck. No one consistently recreates what the pros demand better than Chop Chop. Here is why:
1. Chop Chop uses only premium raw materials, most notably Canadian maple, with American-made adhesives and lacquers.
2. Our own veneers are created from our imported, top-grade Canadian hard rock maple logs.
3. Each veneer is cut and sanded with the highest-grade machines, mostly from either the U.S.A. or Germany, ensuring absolute evenness and consistency.
4. Every mold and template has been digitally designed and CNC-cut to tolerances of .001, equal to one-third of the width of a human hair.
5. These tolerances insure the cavity thickness in the molds is exactly even, creating perfect glue lines. Delamination is profoundly reduced by even-pressure distribution within the mold.
6. Chop Chop invested in huge presses by usual skateboard standards. Each deck is pressed with significantly more pressure than the average U.S. deck and cured up to twice as long, yielding deeply saturated glue lines and overall better pop. This has been tested and proven time after time.
7. Previously, mold and template design was plagued by asymmetry, yielding skewed shapes and tweaked molds. Digital design eradicated this with perfect six-fold symmetry and what had been grossly approximated by hand is now digitally perfect.
8. The vast majority of pro U.S. decks are pressed four to six at a time, yielding tremendous deviation in the stack. Consequently, most high-level skate pros reject 60 to 80 percent of general production. All Chop Chop’s decks are individually pressed, yielding absolute consistency.
9. The height ratio between the nose and tails are supremely important to pros, as they determine the “flat” leverage points (balance and control) of each deck. These tolerances are impossible to control unless the decks are pressed one at a time.
10. As much as twice the amount of time is spent by each person handcrafting every deck. This means better inspection and quality control throughout every stage of manufacturing. This is most noticeable in the consistency of routing and sanding.
11. Chop Chop decks are cut around the bolt pattern, not vice versa, as is the case with the majority of U.S. decks. This ensures absolute drilling consistency, preserving the timing that pros spend thousands of hours perfecting.
12. A humidity-controlled environment helps eradicate weather-related variables that hamper curing time, ensuring an optimized and a more consistent pop.Chop Chop’s ability to match and supersede current manufacturing standards is obvious. But this is only where we begin, Chop Chop allows us to efficiently invest more man-hours and resources into every deck we produce. We can now afford to take advantage of the vast technological resources already in existence and raise the bar of revolutionary high-performance decks, all at reasonable prices so that skateboarding can continue to progress.