India has only recently opened up to the whole idea of skateboarding. Though there are many who still do not consider this as a sport, the days where misfits were the only ones considered to be skating are long gone. Skateboarding has now become cool, popular among teenagers, and one step closer to being socially acceptable in India.
This has only been possible due to the efforts of early skating enthusiasts. In 2003, India saw its first skatepark, Sk8Goa built by Nick Smith. Many semi-pro skaters from around the world made Sk8Goa their home. The efforts of Abhishek, popularly known as Shakenbake, should not go unrecognized. He co-founded Holystoked in 2011, which was India’s first skateboard collective with a strong goal of promoting skateboarding in India. India has also seen the growth of numerous skateparks all over the country, including Goa which has contributed to the growth of many skateboarders. India’s first-ever skate competition, Third Eye Tour has also immensely motivated skateboarders and encouraged new ones to join this ever-growing community.
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Another contributor to India’s skate life growth is Piso skateboards from Goa. It is an Indian skateboard brand completely run by skateboarders, for skateboarders. Their aim is to create a happy skateboarding community and provide the best quality skateboard products that match the average skater’s budget in India. Inspired by the Konkani word for crazy. ‘Piso’, the brand has become a favorite among the skateboard community around India. Piso skateboard has given birth to a rich skateboard culture in Goa. Piso skateboards are best known for all-around skating, be it Indian streets, freestyle, skate parks, or cruising.
At Goan Insider, we had a quick chat with Vaibhav Rasam, to learn how he turned ‘crazy’ into ‘creativity’ with Piso Skateboards. The excerpts of our conversation are below.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am Vaibhav Rasam from Goa, India and I am a carpenter. I am totally in love with woodworking and skateboarding. That’s how it started, our bond with wood and skate.
How did the idea for your business come about? Tell us about the brand
Well, it’s not an idea as such, we want to create something and rest in peace when the time comes. Our brand is simple as it says ‘by skaters, for skaters.’ We have just one vision to make India skate.
How did you come up with the name for your brand ‘Piso Skateboards’?
Aah! Everyone used to call us ‘Piso’ when we used to skate and have fun around. So we decided let’s name the brand Piso which means ‘crazy’ in Konkani.
When did you start the business? How has the journey been?
Our journey starts back in 2013 with the Third Eye Tour. Organized by Varun Patra of Homegrown, Nick Smith, ALIS and Abhishek Khan, it was the first time skateboarders from all over India were coming together for a first of its kind skate tour in India. A bus full of skateboarders traveling from Bangalore to Goa, skating anything and everything that came in the way. There was so much stoke all around us, it was almost unreal. We had never experienced anything like this in our entire lives!
After coming back from the tour, life was never the same again. It was almost like someone had clicked on the refresh button. We knew skateboarding was what we were going to do all our lives. We started with skateboarding camps in Goa in 2014 to get a local skate scene started. Some days there were no kids and some days there were just one or two kids. But as months became years the number grew.
In 2015, we even started making our own skateboards DIY style. We pooled knowledge from the internet and fellow skateboarders and built our own concrete press and mold. We rolled out a few skate & cruiser decks and were really thrilled with what we had accomplished. We were all set to launch our own skateboard company. But the reality of the situation was different. Neither were our products of great quality nor was the entire operation economically or logistically viable. We failed several times and even came close to giving up on the idea entirely. Luckily few dots got connected and that is how we proudly brushed the dirt off our shoulders and launched our very own Indian skateboard brand, Piso Skateboards in 2018.
Tell us about your skateboard making facility
We have a small setup of making boards, but currently quality is not up to the mark. At the moment we are relying on imports. Maybe over the years, we will have our own manufacturing. Let’s see where our path takes.
Tell us about your involvement with The Third Eye Tour
That was the best tour ever organized for skaters in India by Alis, Redbull, and Mr. Nick smith. I participated from Goa in 2013. It was a super chilled trip with skaters from all over the country and one Volvo bus. We travelled through Bangalore, Hampi and Goa.
What was your mission at the outset?
Our mission is simple, grow skateboarding and support the community. We just want to be happy at the end of the day.
Tell us about your skateboarding camps and efforts to build a community in Goa?
Skateboarding Camps is an initiative by ‘Skate Life Goa’ where we conduct skate camps every month for kids and adults. Currently, due to Covid, the program is open for very limited people, hoping it’ll get smooth over time.
What were some of the challenges you faced at the start and how did you overcome them?
Piso is like growing a baby. Nurturing a child is a hell of a job, but a parent will never complain about the challenges faced. The same goes here! It’s our own creation and we want to take it forward.
How has the response been from skateboarders and other Goans towards your products?
The response has bee great. It’s small but a happy community.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
We provide everything that is needed for skateboarding. Right from small nuts, to a full fledged skateboard. Everything is there at the store.
How do you advertise your products?
We don’t advertise actually. We only focus on skaters. This is all we do since we start the brand to support the skater community. Piso is not business. Piso is beyond the term business which is tough to explain in words. However, you can visit our website, Piso Skateboards to check the products that we have available.
Where is Piso based out of?
Piso is based in Goa but has captured the hearts of skaters around the country.
What gets you excited about this company?
The company doesn’t excite us as such, but skateboarding does. It’s a pure, authentic, and happy lifestyle sport. That’s enough for the excitement.
How can our readers stay connected with you as well as your brand?
We are on Instagram as Piso Skateboards.
What’s coming up for the brand down the road?
We don’t have a plan as such and prefer going with the flow. What is important for us today, we concentrate on that first. We live a simple life with simple rules.
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