This June saw the opening of a concept store named Lokal House that sells longboards designed by Lokal Boards. The authors of the brand are three creative and like–minded people with an ambition to promote Latvian street culture and become renowned outside an already wide circle of their friends and followers.
Although it can seem that longboarding is just another trend that arrived in Latvia after conquering other countries, the tradition is much older, while the practice is more serious than just a fling. Professional sportsmen use these boards to ride down hilly terrains, while everyday users have found them to be a convenient and modern means of urban transport. Furthermore, a downhill riding contest has been taking place in Latvia for several years already. Boards’ surface and wide wheels not only make them more comfortable and stable but also leave a bigger space for experiments with visual design, making longboard also a design object.
The potential was recognised by the Lokal Boards team who started their initiative in an ordinary garage in Riga. A few years ago three guys — Alberts Viegliņš, Gatis Trikulis and Artūrs Tkačenko — began experimenting with making longboards. Their point of reference can be described as “from riders to riders”, since the trio themselves are not foreign to riding the boards. Creating their own brand was an obvious decision: “All we needed was the right moment where the idea met with friends’ enthusiasm, creating, in the end, a new brand of boards,” guys from Lokal Boards explain. Along the work on the brand, the trio also does other activities; for example, in April, they organised the world’s first mini–drome longboarding competition.
Since last summer, the team no longer needs to work in other people’s garages or workshops — their new home is Lokal House at Skolas iela 35 in Riga. The small wooden building has two parts: one is left for production, while the other, for selling boards, parts and accessories. Between all that — fun, an essential part of work.
Currently available for purchase are hand–made classic pintail boards that have been made from birch and processed on site in Lokal House workshop. The trio are proud that the boards provide for a special riding experience — they are made with an upward angle that makes the boards flexible, allowing for a surfing–like feel when riding. A reserved design in different colours with a retro touch is an authentic hand-made work of craft — the boards get their printing from silk–screen studio Darva.
The production work and store management is a joint affair, yet everyone on the team does have a special role. The project’s success depends on the team members’ previous experience in different fields. Alberts is a passionate and award–winning board sports enthusiast whose love of boarding was born when he was twelve years old. Within Lokal, he oversees the production process and is responsible for marketing. Meanwhile, Gatis is a graphic designer who, along with managing the creative process and design, also has his share in the brand’s management. Artūrs is responsible for the essential process of board production, and his experience in crafts and furniture renovation comes in useful when making a high–quality longboard from the timber of the Baltic birch. The team is supported by a wide group of friends who have helped in creating and maintaining Lokal House, managing events and sharing information with others thus widening the circle of people who know of the brand.
Along with the boards, at Lokal House they also sell Latvian–made life–style accessories, clothing, art publications and music records that could interest a store’s customer. Who is this customer, then? The guys say that Lokal Boards are for active people who are willing to try something new and can enjoy an adventure. The trio sum up: “A longboard is relatively easy to get used to, and already after a first kilometre everyone acquires basic skills. Our boards are often chosen by enthusiasts of different extreme sports. They are also a comfortable means of transport and a style accessory.”