Kochi-based skateboard brand Merkabah Boards ready for Indian streets
Indian streets are crowded. Many elements of western street culture like busking and skateboarding are struggling to establish themselves in the country for this reason. But, the trust of people like E Francis Kurian aka Franky, the founder of Merkabah Boards, saying that “we find our own ways even though there is no friendly space”, is the way things work here. .
“It all started by viewing paintings as a non-judgmental platform for art. A regular skateboarder will need boards (the board you skate on), but in India getting one is just as expensive as buying a new board, ”says Franky, who is primarily a visual artist who has worked behind the camera on blockbusters like
Mayanadhi. We catch up with this young entrepreneur whose skateboard project is in its final stages of development, ready to roll Kochi.
They see me ride ‘
In a city without dedicated parks, one may wonder what is the motivation of a startup like Merkabah. “Kaloor Stadium is the hub for skaters. Since I started skating almost half a decade ago, we now have around 45 people in the community. At least a dozen of them are under 16 and it’s encouraging to see a lot of them come together to buy a shared board, ”said the 22-year-old.
Realizing that there are hardly any exclusive manufacturers for this skating gear, this youngster visited production units in China to assimilate the processes and even identified local woods that could substitute for the maple wood used for terraces in the West.
“I looked at popular varieties like teak and finally decided to go with pine wood that doesn’t crack easily,” says the manufacturer, whose cruisers even take on bizarre shapes like that of a coffin, for example. These custom products bring together locally sourced materials like fasteners and larger diameter tires (imported from China) which are best for surfing Indian roads.
As the digital and hand-painted designs on their selected shortboards gain popularity on Instagram (@merkabahboards), the youngster is already venturing into custom longboard design.
“We are completing our registration procedures. In a few months, we will be launching an event at Café Papaya which will also feature boards designed by popular Canadian artist Chris Dyer and hope to hold workshops on street surfing, ”concludes Franky, expressing hope for a park that will trigger associated engagements like BMX and freestyle dance.