TREMONT—Surfboards are not a common sight in Maine. Stephen Linscott has been working on changing that, except his design is a bit smaller, goes on land and has wheels attached.
Building watercrafts was what Linscott did for two decades before moving on to home furnishings. This winter, while on a trip to Florida, he became inspired by a game that had a small wooden surfboard and thought it might look cool on a set of wheels.
“It’s funny because I don’t skateboard,” said Linscott who did some riding as a kid. “I like getting creative and these longboards are a good outlet.”
Longboards were first made in the 1950s by surfers who customized their skateboards to make them longer, similar to the boards they rode on the water. While the design has morphed over the years to look more like a long skateboard, Linscott is bringing back the surfboard shape. His boards have a pointed front and split tail with a slight swoop from front to back to help ride the waves of the pavement.
It took a few tries to find a design he was happy with, but once Linscott had drawn out a profile he liked, he built two boards and gifted them to some test riders.
“I have a couple of nephews who ride anything with wheels,” he said. “They loved them. They sent me a bunch of videos… They ride them pretty much every day now.”
After putting together a few more, Linscott Longboards was officially launched.
“There’s a lot of people making longboards,” said Linscott. “I’ve seen them really long and I’ve seen them much shorter than this.”
He began with a 36-inch template. “It’s almost four feet long now.”
Linscott’s longboards are built with several layers and a variety of woods, giving each one a unique look. One he recently listed on the Facebook page, Bar Harbor Barter & Swap, was 46 inches long, a foot wide and made with maple, walnut, panish cedar and purple heart.
“I have a lot of maple I cut off my own property and milled,” he explained. “I’m a woodworker, generally, and I love using different kinds of wood.”
Making one of the longboards takes Linscott about four hours of work from start to finish, but there are many hours to the process where glue is drying and the form is setting.
“I can’t just whip them out; it takes a number of days,” said Linscott who lives in Seal Cove. “I built boats for about 20 years. That’s something that’s inspired these boards.”
He uses three layers of veneer, but the middle layer is Baltic birch plywood, which has five layers of veneer, each layer at 90 degrees to each other for strength. So, technically, there are seven layers total, Linscott explained.
“The bottom layer is a veneer that I make out of mahogany, (the) same process as the top,” he wrote in an email. “After I glue up everything, I go back to the bandsaw to cut out the shape.
“I use a machine for most of the sanding until I work my way up through the grits, ending with a final hand sanding, with the grain, using 320 grit,” he explained further. “Then it is ready for varnish. Varnish takes four days and then I can install the trucks, wheels and stickers.”
There is a special touch to the Linscott Longboards.
“One of the tricks I learned with boat building is you can put nonskid in the varnish,” he said. “It gives it some grip.”
In a survey taken in 2017, skateboarding was found to be the third most popular sport among teenagers. Not only does there seem to be a local surge in the sport, but it has also established a footing on the international front. Had the Olympic games taken place in Tokyo this summer, it would have been the first one in which skateboarders could go for the gold.
“I like mine because it looks like a surfboard,” said Linscott, who includes a half inch of curve for added strength. “I didn’t really see anybody making these when I was researching. It’s a good way to use up (wood) scraps.”