August 20, 2015
When I was an undergraduate I used to ride longboards a lot. Hell, all of us did and we still do. You can’t beat the smooth ride you get from the board, which was designed specifically to roll over cracks in the pavement as if it were smooth. But there was always a limit to just how big the crack could be.
One night my friend and I were skating down the beach boardwalk (tough undergrad experience, right?) when I heard a loud scream and a louder smack. My friend had gotten his front wheel stuck in a pothole and had fallen face first into the pavement. I’ll spare the grisly details, but it was hospital-worthy.
Now, honestly there was no longboard wheel in existence that could have survived the encounter. He wouldn’t have fallen off if it were daytime because he would have seen it. No, the only thing in that situation that would have helped was a light.
Little did I know that across town, over at San Diego State, Drew Page was busy building a product that would have been incredibly helpful. Shredlights, as he calls them, are high powered LEDs that clip onto your board so you can skate comfortably at night – simple as that. They also made this really awesome image that made me feel better about my friend totally farming it:
It’s an idea that came from Page’s 15 years of skating: he’s hit a billion cracks in his day, some worse than others. One might even say that cracks are the great equalizer of the skateboard world, throwing down pro and amateur alike.
Which leads nicely into my next point. In no way is Page the first person to think about putting lights on a skateboard, but according to him he is the first to put a functional light on a skateboard. A lot of other lights on the market are mostly for visual effect, like underglow, versus acting like a car headlight.
Further, he designed Shredlights to be taken on and off your skateboard easily. After all, having lights on your board is going to affect pretty much any trick you want to do on a board, and this way you can have the best of both worlds.
The current models are USB rechargeable and have an average life span of about 17 hours before they need to be plugged back in. It’s easy to say that now, but Page tells me the road to a market ready product wasn’t that easy. There was plenty of trial and error.
“On our first version we put Chinese flashlights into our enclosure and we were like, oh it works. But we found out the shock and the vibration of a board made the lights die quickly, flicker, and then we remembered the batteries weren’t replaceable,” says Page.
Suffice it to say, the new iterations are vastly improved and the team is working hard to get them into peoples’ hands. However, as they move forward Page tells me that he’s constantly aware of bottlenecking the brand: he doesn’t want to only make skateboard lights.
In fact, he’s got a wide range of ideas for future products, like a GoPro model and a light made specifically for skateboard filming. If he can clear that hurdle, the only thing left standing in Page’s way are the skaters themselves.
“The long term is to have the core skateboarding market accept the product. If we can get our Ambasshredders on board they’ll help sell it because it’s going to be tough. Skaters aren’t receptive to change,” says Page.
Sure, skaters might not be receptive to change, but nobody can ignore an idea if it’s good enough. Page and his team have the scope to not only make Shredlights successful now, but stand on its own as a big name skate brand further down the road. I’d also like to point out that this is yet another showcase of what students are capable of if exposed to an entrepreneurial career trajectory before they graduate. Respect.
Here are some epic pics from Shredlight’s Instagram showing the product in action:
@krewzsteezy410 does his best to stay in the lines in this kinder-garden. Back T around the curved C – when you rip this hard, the alphabets order is irrelevant // #berrics #skategram #nightsesh #ambasshredders #shredlights #crackskill #backtail #tailslide #skateSD #skateboardingisfun #skateboarding
Image Credit: Shredlights PR team
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