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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview - J-Gordon Skimboards

J-Gordon Skimboards have been making high performance ocean and inland wood skimboards since 1980. Find out a more about J-Gordon Skimboards in Inland Skimboarding’s interview with company founder Jim Gordon.

Inland Skimboarding: How did the name of your company originate? Is there any interesting story behind the name?
J-Gordon Skimboards: When I first made surfboards in the 60's, I didn't want to call my product Gordon surfboards because there was already Gordon & Smith surfboards. I knew that Gordon's first name on G&S was Larry, so I decided to use my initial J of my first name, Jim, along with my last name, Gordon. This is how I named my company.
I also manufactured skateboards back in the 70's, and under the J-Gordon label. Back then, I was the only
J-Gordon. In the 80's, the name expanded to include my wife, Janet, and our sons James and Jared.
Inland Skimboarding: Where is J-Gordon Skimboards located?
J-Gordon Skimboards: I was located in Santa Cruz, California but move up to Coos Bay, Oregon, 12 years ago. It's not as crowed here and the cost of living is much less than California. You can also find us at
Inland Skimboarding: How have you seen the skimboard market change over the years you have been in business?
J-Gordon Skimboards: More people knowing what skimboards are. There are many more manufacturers, especially from overseas. You now can buy skimboards at K-Mart ,Wal-Mart and Big-5 sport shops, which are mostly manufactured in China. Skimboarding has also changed with the usage of skimboards. The application just isn't for wave riders. Now skimmers are riding rails, kite riding and bunngie skimming.
Inland Skimboarding: How long have you been making skimboards?
J-Gordon Skimboards: I started manufacturing skimboards around 1980, but made them for myself years before that. I've been in the skimboard business for over 28 years.
Inland Skimboarding: What is the difference between skimboards used for wave riding and skimboards for inland use?
J-Gordon Skimboards: Skimboards for rails are usually twin tip (skateboard shape) and wave boards are more pointy (surfboard shape). Wave boards are larger than rail boards too.
Inland Skimboarding: What are the advantages of moving to a professionally manufactured board?
J-Gordon Skimboards: A professionally manufactured board should be from a company with years of experience. Experience in the industry, along with years of test riding, made with the best materials and utilization of skimboard designs and shapes makes for maximum performance.
Inland Skimboarding: What makes a good inland skimboard?
J-Gordon Skimboards: A board that is fast on the water, fast on rails with good flex and pop. Also, a board that's not too heavy, yet strong enough as not to snap on rails.
Inland Skimboarding: Tell us about your inland skimboards.
J-Gordon Skimboards: As far as I know, I have been making inland boards longer than anyone and was the first manufacturer to make a board with flex and pop. It seems everyone has tried to copy our boards but has failed. I guess this is because they lack experience. Like I said, I've been perfecting my boards for years, before most of you were born!
Inland Skimboarding: Why should I buy a J-Gordon Skimboard?
J-Gordon Skimboards: If you want a durable wood skimboard, you should consider buying a J-Gordon. Quality is number one with us. We don't mass produce our boards while other companies outsource their manufacturing overseas in order to make as much money as possible. All our boards are made by me and my two sons. We don't not use cheap, inferior materials in order to make a higher profit. We are happy making less boards so we can give you a board that we would want to own. Another reason to buy a J-Gordon is that people all the time tell us our boards are the best board they have ever ridden. Being in business for over 28 years, we must be doing something right.
Inland Skimboarding: What makes your inland skimboards unique?
J-Gordon Skimboards: Great flex and a lot of pop. (Much like a compound bow, it loads up and then the energy is released.)
Inland Skimboarding: What kind of testing/quality control do your boards go through?
J-Gordon Skimboards: We have a skim pit with rails to test new designs and shapes for better performance.We also test our boards at the beach. Input from team riders on new designs and materials is critical in testing our skimboards. As for quality control, we are a small family company. Each board is handmade buy a J-Gordon. As I said before, our name is on the line, and we stand behind our product. We don't stockpile our boards because when we come up with a new design, we manufacture it to the public right away. The board that you get is the same as our team riders use.
Inland Skimboarding: Talk a little bit about the challenge that presents when designing and building inland skimboards.
J-Gordon Skimboards: The challenges presented in making an inland skimboard is to withstand the abuse in riding rails. Rail skimmers are very hard on boards, this presents new challenges in design and construction. We do extensive test riding so we can anticipate what needs to be addressed.
Inland Skimboarding: When you get feedback from inland riders, what positive things do you hear most often?
J-Gordon Skimboards: People all the time tell us they like the flex, and durability of the board and how fast it is on rails or just flatland riding. Also, the high quality and workmanship of the boards.
Inland Skimboarding: Where do you see the sport of skimboarding 10 years from now?J-Gordon Skimboards: Growing bigger, and expanding, mainly in the middle states. More people making skim pits in their back yards.
Inland Skimboarding: Do you see anything new on the horizon technology wise that will improve the next generation of inland skimboards?
J-Gordon Skimboards: Not in basic construction of wood boards. Other companies have tried to make foam skims for rails, but they just don't work as good and just don't hold up. I think wood boards will stay around for a long time just like wood skateboards.
Inland Skimboarding: Inland skimboarders often get called names, talked down to, and shown little respect from some wave skimboarders. Inland skimboarders are often told what they are doing is not “real” skimboarding. What is your view of the inland skimboarding scene?
J-Gordon Skimboards: I think inland skimboarding is cool. I'm a wave rider myself, but my son likes rails. He is the test rider for rails, and I'm the test rider for waves. And yes, you can ride waves with a wood skim! At least our boards you can.
Inland Skimboarding: As a board manufacturer, is there anything you can do, or are doing, to increase the respect for inland skimboarding?
J-Gordon Skimboards: Show respect and just have fun skimming. Remember, you once were a beginner too. Also, I'm always on skimonline, a forum mainly for wave skimmers. They listen to me because I can talk waves or rails. I think they respect my opinion.
Inland Skimboarding: What inland skimboarding events have you been involved with? Tell us about your experiences at those events.
J-Gordon Skimboards: Throughout the years I have donated prizes (skimboards, T-shirts, hats, stickers and wax) for various skim contest. This year alone, J-Gordon has been a sponsored for over 6 contest.
Inland Skimboarding: Do you have any sponsored inland skimboarders? What does it take for an inland skimboarder to get sponsored by J-Gordon?
J-Gordon Skimboards: Yes, I have 2 in California, 1 in Canada, 2 in Michigan and 1 in Louisiana.
First, someone has to leave to make room for a new person to be sponsored. Unlike other companies, you don't need to win contests to be a team/test rider, just be good enough to give me feedback on new designs, your opinion on shapes, etc. Importantly, I don't like conceited jerks, and I must like you as a person.

Inland Skimboarding would like to thank J-Gordon Skimboards for taking the time to let us find out a little bit more about their company. Check them out at

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