The longboard evolved out of California's surfing culture of the 1950s as a land based alternative for surfers who adapted the skateboard to create something more akin to a surfboard. Their design allows for a fluid ride providing the ride the flexibility of big turns or quick short carves similar to a surfboard, making it ideal for cruising, downhill racing, slalom racing, or transportation through their greater weight and bulk makes them less suitable for many skateboarding tricks.
In Penticton Jim Venables had firmly inserted himself into the history and culture of skateboarding in the valley through his hand crafted longboards, infectious passion for the sport and the fact he is not your stereotypical skateboarder. At the time when most of his peers are looking to hit the gold course, Jimmy V is looking to hit the streets with abandon to find the next great cruise.
Jimmy V has never been much of an establishment man and has spent most of his life experimenting with alternative life styles. At the time skateboarding busted out in the 70s, Jimmy was busy raising a family out of a VW van. But by the 1990s when the dust had settled a bit and his life was slowing down, he decided to go skateboarding. He was 55 then and that was ten years ago. Jimmy V has been designing and building things to ride on for most of his life and skateboarding was a natural fit. As one of the older guys active in the sport, it didn't take long for him to realize that he was going to require some specialized equipment- longer boards, softer wheels, and padding on all major impact areas such as head, hands, elbows, knees and arse. It from here that Jimmy V started making boards specific to the riding he likes to do.
During the winter he works in his shop refining his designs based on the lessons learned from the previous summers' riding. Some boards get longer, some shorter, increased wheel base, bobbed tail, open nose all in effort to create the ultimate ride for the next season. It can take a couple of weeks to make a board or even a couple of months for something special to happen. It usually works out to several days to shape a couple of boards and several weeks to paint them. The creation of each new board is an adventure - a culmination of the lessons learnt and the knowledge gained and for Jimmy, it's a labour of love. He designs and paints all the artwork and graphics himself, placing them on the riding surface where he can enjoy it while he rides. The last step is to finish them off with a wet looking clear coat that is almost indestructible. The clear coat make it possible to use light colours for a real surfboard look because dirt and grease can be easily washed off. These boards transcend the fine line between art and function and his boards carry with them all the attitude and bravado associated with the outlaw nature of the sport. Commercial boards just say "buy me", Jimmy V's boards say, "bite me!"
For Jimmy V the beauty of a longboard is in the shape, the stance of the trucks, wheels and then the graphic on the deck. It should project power, speed, manoeuvrability and style. "I need to see myself doing something on a board; a 180 degree kick turn, hanging ten, walking the nose, a four wheel drift even a 180 drift. Whatever... skateboarders are dynamic and you see them in motion. I appreciate a board most when I am riding it or see it being ridden. The rider is the artist."
In addition to Jimmy V's amazing hand crafted boards, vintage boards and memorabilia from local collections will also be on display.