Being miles from the ocean, UCF surfing couple David Diaz and Ashley Loonam combined their love for the water and land by cruising around campus on their restored, hand-made, 70s-styled skateboards.
"We bring life to boards that are damaged and need to be reshaped. We are inspired by Jay Adams' influence in pure skateboarding before it got big," said Diaz, a junior marketing major.
Jay Adams was a part of the mid-70s California skateboarding group The Zephyr Competition Team — or Z-Boys — which was first a team of surfers to become a skateboarding group and create aerial skateboarding moves used in surfing.
Diaz and Loonam wanted to use their passions to make affordable retro boards in their business Seed Skates, which started a month ago.
"I've always been a surfer at heart. So, when there's no surf, this is great. I've only begun skating since August and it's helped me improve my surfing by helping me more with my balance," said Loonam, a junior graphic design major.
Loonam created the logo for Seed Skates, which is an acorn. Both Loonam and Diaz said the logo symbolizes two ideas— one being that a seed represents nature, and the boards are made from natural wood; the second being that Z-Boys' Jay Adams was called "The Original Seed."
The couple works side-by-side in running the business: Diaz makes the boards while Loonam does the finishing touches, such as designing and painting them.
"I get a solid piece of wood, 100 percent pine or oak, draw a template, cut it down with a bandsaw and angle grinder to clean up the shape and then sand it down with sandpaper. We also drill holes [for the trucks]," Diaz said about the process of building boards in his garage. He said it takes a total of four hours for him to shape it and for Loonam to design it.
Diaz said he didn't really start this business to make much money, and decided to build boards with materials he could find in his budget.
"I don't have enough money to buy boards, so I just started making my own boards. People at work would barter with me by giving me a surfboard if I did their skateboard," Diaz said.
A customer can either have a board reshaped or created.
He is open to negotiations when it comes to reshaping, but he has set prices for creating the decks. If a customer just wants a deck, it's $50 if it's 2 feet in length or shorter. Anything above 2 feet is $60.
Old skateboards and surfboards are recycled to create the decks. If he doesn't have any at hand, Diaz goes to Lowe's or Home Depot.
If a customer also wants new trucks and wheels it's $150 for a long board, a deck more than 24 inches, or $130 for a short board. Diaz uses Retro Abec 11 BertZ Wheels.
Christina Coffee, a junior radio-television major, rides around campus on boards by Seed Skates to spread the word about her friends' business.
"The style of their boards is more for cruising than it is for tricks," Coffee said. "I like it when it's a short board and the trucks are really loose. It's like you're surfing."
Currently, Seed Skates has five orders they are working on in Diaz's garage.
They can be found on their company's Facebook page, Instagram and Etsy account.
Veronica Brezina is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.