Don’t be fooled by the name, GoldCoast Skateboards have nothing to do with fake tans, Schoolies week, and ex-‘Big Brother’ contestants that we all often associate with the Queensland surf city. In fact, GoldCoast Skateboards have nothing at all to do with the land of the meter-maid, but rather, hail from the USA and are a skate brand made for skaters, first and foremost. Yup, it’s all about friends, trips, music, art and finding that perfect coastline to skate by. We got the low down on the brand from one of the founders himself, Chris Brunstetter.
How did GoldCoast Skateboards begin and who is involved?
We started GoldCoast in 2009 out of a love for skateboarding and fun, as well as a selfish desire to make skateboards that looked and rode the way we wanted them to. The four founders are myself, Dustin Ortiz, Brock Harris, and Nathan Coan. Nate and I worked together for 10 years, selling brands like Nixon, Electric Eyewear, Forum Snowboards, Special Blend, and Foursquare Outerwear. Dustin was the Senior Designer for Nixon, but wanted to get out of Southern California, so he moved to Utah to snowboard. Brock was a professional snowboarder for Burton, who after his snowboard career wanted to do something in the skateboard world. He and Dustin started brainstorming this skateboard brand and after we saw what they were doing, knew we had a great opportunity to make something cool. We showed it to a few people that had been down the road of building a brand before and got a lot of encouragement, so from there it was off to the races.
What was the intention or ethos behind the brand, how does it differ from other skate brands?
The intention of the brand has been, from the beginning, about making rad and unique stuff and having fun with our friends. So in that aspect, I guess we’re exactly like most skate brands. Our ethos is “Skateboard, Travel, Discover Cool Things, and Take Photos Along the Way”, which is really about how skateboarding brings so much into our lives, from creative and awesome people, music, art and the whole skate culture, to getting out in the world to experience all those things. The film is just there to capture the journey. We’re different from most skate brands in that we look at whatever type of board you want to ride, long, short, whatever, as the same thing. The main point is you’re having fun. If you want to throw yourself down handrails, or just cruise down to the beach to check the surf, it’s all skateboarding.
Your decks are very unique, can you describe them to us…
We break down our line in to three categories, Focus, Heritage, and Form. The Focus Series is based around the photography of us and our friends. The Heritage Series is rooted in “Garage Culture”, a lot of us that grew up skating have now started building motorcycles or working on cars, so we tried to get as much of that feeling into the graphics as possible. From old packaging, to famous European racetracks, it’s the fuel for Heritage. Finally, the Form Series is all hand-drawn/hand-painted artwork. This series usually has the most diverse range of graphics, just because the artists we choose to work with all have such different style.
What is the manufacturing process like for these decks?
We develop one line a year, but have plans to expand that to two lines a year. Right now we decide what shapes we want to introduce, develop prototype samples, skate them, and refine them. Once we’re happy with them, we start production and nine months later we have a brand new collection! It’s one of nature’s miracles.
Where does the name GoldCoast come from?
It’s a reference to the ‘see the world’ part of our ethos. There are ‘gold coasts’ all over the globe, and it was a nod to just getting out in the world. It’s more abstract than a reference to a specific location.
How do you choose artists to collaborate with?
The collaborations develop over time. Some of the people we’ve worked with have been friends for years, others are people who we are excited about who we reach out to, or who reach out to us. This season we worked with Pete Panciera, a designer and artist out of New York. He’s an old friend and an awesome ball of stress and talent. Next season we’re working with 4 different artists, Daniel Zvereff, Morgan Blair, the design group Jolby and Jair Bortoleto. When it comes down to it, there are too many people who we’re psyched on to fit everyone’s stuff in the line. So we created this zine called The Compadre and put it as the flip side to our catalogue. We have a lot of fun with it. There’s art, photos, and interviews with people who contributed to the line, either literally or in an inspirational sense. It wound up being twice as many pages as the catalogue itself, which gave us the opportunity to showcase more artists that support GoldCoast.
What kinda guys buy your decks?
We see all sorts of people buying our boards, guys and girls. We have the skate guys that are looking for a cruiser board, college kids getting around campus, people that haven’t stepped on a skateboard since they were young picking these up and having a blast, and kids who are getting on a board for the first time ever. I think our customer is a little more design minded, and can appreciate the aesthetic and voice of the brand. They’re also probably incredibly smart and good-looking.
How much does skateboarding influence other areas of your life?
It’s something I’ve done since I was a little kid. So in a way, it doesn’t influence other aspects of my life as much as it’s just a part of my life. It’s like a big brother, it beats your ass and makes you hate it for a minute, but you can’t imagine yourself without it. I work all day on skateboards, but can still hop on one after work and it still brings a smile to my face. I don’t know many accountants that can work on math problems after work to decompress.
Music tends to play an important role with many skaters and skate brands. What kind of music could we find cranking in the GoldCoast office?
That’s a great question. Music plays a HUGE part in our daily office life. We have really varied tastes though. Dustin and I even got to the point where we started making inter-office mixtapes, based on the songs we were really into that month. The track listing for the last one was:
The Villainares – Let Go
The Naked And Famous – Punching In A Dream
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Fright Night (Nevermore)
Generationals – When They Fight, They Fight
Smith Westerns – Girl In Love
The Black Angels – Young Men Dead
Future Islands – Tin Man (Extended Version)
Peter Bjorn and John – Breaker Breaker
Wire – I Am The Fly
Dirty Beaches – Lord Knows Best
Jay-Z – 1-900-Hustler
DJ Drama & Lil Wayne – Down And Out
OFWGKTA – Orange Juice by EarlWolf
Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness (Feat. MGMT And Ratatat)
Most of the time we just have music blasting over speakers on our desks, but if the headphones go on, that’s the universal symbol for, “Don’t bother me. I’m in the zone”.
You mention in the lookbook but in addition to skate, GoldCoast is about travel, film and culture. Can you explain this…
Like I mentioned before, we think skateboarding brings a lot into your life. From music, to art, to the people that you meet because of it. That’s the culture side. To experience that stuff, you need to get out there and expose yourself to it. The film is just there to capture the journey. Most of the decisions we make as a brand can be filed in one of those categories, if it can’t, we don’t do it.
Want to coast on a GoldCoast skateboard now? Head this way…