Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kickin it with Sprocket America!




On the drive to Collegiate Wake Series Tampa, I had the pleasure of stopping off in Tallahassee, Florida, where I expected to have some crazy nights with the FSU Wake Club. Instead, I was able to hang out at the Sprocket America compound, Location: Classified.

Jason Sapp, the owner, was nice enough to let the Empire Wake crew hang out for a couple days and get to see what the fuss was all about. It was refreshing getting to talk to this guy and see there are still independent companies out there who are just looking to make an amazing product the right way. With each comment and philosophy it was clear to me that I had found something rare.

Jason Sapp and Chris Mitchell started the company 2 years ago because of an injury that Jason acquired while skateboarding. He had be an avid skater for 15 years until a stair gap ended his career.

After learning to walk again, he needed some exercise. Jason tried to wakeboard but the impact was too much. While in the process he came across a video from a local wakeskater named Marcus Knox. It was a perfect match.

Jason went out and bought a Remote wakeskate and started riding. Chris had been building winches at the time and using the name Sprocket America. Both had realized what they had between them with Jason's extensive experience with wood and machine work, and Chris having both woodwork and graphics down, they might be able to produce a successful product.

At the time Devotid wakeskates was selling their entire company. Jason bought the original machinery and after a quick board burn, Devotid was out and Sprocket America was up and running.

They wanted to be different from all the other companies of the past. Step one was going "green." No more using the old epoxy and resin system. This was VOC free and no more bio toxins. Jason was able to use 1 paint brush for a year only by washing it out each night.

Sprocket was also interested in focusing on the 15% of wakeskaters who wanted to shred hard every day. These boards were going to be unique and built to take the day to day grind and abuse.

The Cyprus used in the boards are recovered off the bottom of a swamp. This wood is over 400 years old and has been cured over time where loggers and storms have sunk and preserved them. Thanks to a friend that has his own mill and recovery company, these huge trunks over 24" in diameter could now be pulled up from their watery graves.

This alone makes Sprocket boards a little more special and unique then basic pine and oak boards. After using the special wood, Jason puts more effort into each board as if it was his own pro model.

It is truly amazing what these guys can do with wakeskates. It is a company you find yourself believing in, not just wanting the product mass produced.

Where can you get a Sprocket America board you ask? Well you can't. They have pressed almost 200 boards and only sold 4. They refuse to let them go until they are perfect.

From spending their youth watching "Mathnet" (yes a show where detectives roll around solving math problems) to a skateboard injury, to woodworking; this all lead to what Sprocket America now is. I can't wait to get my first board!

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