Pocket Pistol Skates: Spidey Swindle 2
Guest Article by Spidey de Montrond
“My account in Sean Cliver’s The Disposable Skateboard Bible tells some of the back-story:
My first model came out around the fall of 1985, sometime after the last Capitola Street-style contest. This was during the time when Santa Cruz was issuing boards under the “Pro Series” moniker (printed on the tail of the decks), only my deck was the “Swindle Series,” influenced by The Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren. The idea I had was to never turn pro and have the proceeds from the board put into an account to be only used for traveling expenses. My wish was to travel and to promote skating and Santa Cruz, but for some reason, which seems vague and nebulous now, I turned pro.
I initially came up with the shape, which in retrospect was already dated, as it was based off decks of a bygone era when boards were progressively getting wider: a Sims Brad Bowman circa ’79, Powell Peralta Ray “Bones” Rodriguez, and Sims Mike Folmer Tornado deck. I conceptualized the graphics and drew a crude but effective approximation of how the layout would be. Tim Piumarta, who was head of production at the time, had a few comments here and there and then Jim Phillips did his rendition, which I gave a thumbs-up on. A prototype was then silk-screened and sent to yours truly. It’s the only one I know of in existence with these graphics and I skated it in two contests: the Arkansas Ramp Jam ’85 and the Oceanside Streetstyle ’85, the latter from which a photo was printed in the summer issue of Monster Magazine out of Germany.
As to why it was never released is hazy to me, but here goes: the shape, no; the graphic, no; my attitude and their egos — yes. I was a tough person to deal with, I came from a business background and demanded a lot — that said, I also lacked the wisdom how to use my knowledge in a way where I got what I wanted and they felt they did too. So I think it’s fair to say that I locked horns with Tim about something or another that would now seem unimportant, and at that point in the process I was off the team — thus, this board that never saw the light of capitalism. I think it was divine, in a way, because as I stated earlier the deck was already dated upon its inception, as boards were already headed for more fish-like curvilinear shapes more true to the moves being invented then.
“I was riding my prototypes as an amateur at contests up to fall of 1985 when I turned pro at The Capitola Street Style. This would be the first and last of its kind of street contest.
“At some point I checked out of skating. Santa Cruz and I had a parting of the ways in late ’85 or early ’86. It was then that I enrolled in Azusa City College for the winter session. I had checked out not knowing what to do with myself or life in general, so I went to school as it seemed the thing to do at the time. I had no idea of what was happening in skating except through my closest friends, Keenan, Castro, Grosso and Lance, who would keep me in the loop from time to time. I was restless in school and I was going to start a band at this time. Somewhere in the midst of all of this I received a call from Lance Mountain to come over and skate. It was unusual as Lance and I were friends, but it was rare that he’d call and the tone of his voice was very different than all the other times we had spoken on the phone. I came over and Lance had a full set up for me; a Powell set up. It was his model, a Future Primitive deck, silver rat bones, Powell Swiss bearings and rib cage rails; the works. I was floored. I started to put my set up together and began to skate with him at The Manor. During our session that day, and mind you I had not been riding for several weeks, he asked me what I was doing with my life and appealed to me to not quit skating, to stick with it, to hang in there. Basically Lance reached out to me to say, “hey, don’t throw all this away, you’re so close to doing something with this.” Well I skated that set up and loved it. I started to ride again and I was having fun again. Then I was given, through Keenan, a new Bullet flip-tail full Santa Cruz set up with the new OJ speed wheels. Word got back to Santa Cruz that I was skating again and I got a call from Tim Piuamarta about going to a Houston ramp contest and I was back. This, around 1986, was when the talk about the new model started to happen.
“When I was summoned to Novak’s office he said, “okay, we’d like to do a model with you.” So I drew up a contract and we landed upon an agreement and now it was time to get started on model #2 for Santa Cruz. I favored the flip-tail and loved my experience riding Lance’s board, so I phoned Lance up and asked him if could I copy his shape. He agreed as the shapes never come out exact and they vary and his original wasn’t the exact shape he started out with. So the initial prototypes were a Lance Mountain Future Primitive shape with a flip-tail. I made a template of Lance’s deck and sent it to Tim. The graphics were influenced by Lance’s caricature of me in his “Book of Spide.” I had also devised a marketing plan based on The Sex Pistols “Great Rock n Roll Swindle“ film with its ten lessons that had a story like quality to them that one could follow. Each of the ten lessons anticipated print ads, so it was with this aesthetic in mind — Malcolm McClaren-esque via Andrew Loog Oldahm PR techniques, the energy of The Sex Pistols, and pop art — that I would devise my graphics. I had laid out the graphic in detail to Lance after he’d agreed to draw it for me. Other than John Lucero, for me Lance was the only one who could do this as he was familiar with the pulse of that type of art, music and all the subtle nuances that go with what I was trying to do.
“Lance did the original rendition and I loved it, unfortunately I do not have it, nor can I find it. Santa Cruz at the time said they could not silk screen the graphic as it had too much detail and the stipple dot technique applied to the piece proved to be too much at that time. So I met with Jim Philips and imparted my art direction to him which I am sure drove him, as well as myself, nuts. Jim is a fine graphic artist of course, but he was not familiar with Jaime Reid’s pop art work and the late 1970’s English punk subculture iconography that I was drawing from, so we did our best. I went with Keenan to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and paid two dollars for a photo booth photograph to procure my head shot that would be needed to draw my face from. I chose the photo and delivered it to Phillips’ home. We went back and forth more than a few times and finally I settled on the graphic as we needed to get things into production. There was a snag though: my model was a flip-tail and it was difficult to screen the leopard spots down the full length of the tail, so in the first run of yellow flip-tails you will notice no spots are on the tail. As well, they didn’t put the correct top screen on the deck, which was my ransom note Santa Cruz logo that I did the art direction for on my first Swindle deck. That would come later towards the end of the production run and it would also be used on the Grosso dog ear concave. This would be the end of the run — and me — in January of 1989.
“I started to ride again in 2001 thanks to Lance and Grosso’s generosity and encouragement. It was different this time; it was fun and deep rooted in friendship. I had also started to really dig Pocket Pistols gear. Chicken would flow me gear and I dug everything about PPS. High quality, good riding decks and great silk screened graphics plus I get to skate with my sponsor. So it happens one day I get a text from Chicken: it’s time to do a board. I was a bit surprised. We met up at the skatepark and talked about my new deck which would be the Swindle 2, also my Skatebuck new skool old skool pool deck. The Swindle would take awhile so we did the Spidey Billion Dollar Maybies deck while working on the Swindle 2. Now, finally, Swindle 2 is ready.”
— Spidey de Montrond
Swindle 2: Design and Development (Artist: Matt French)
The design of the new Swindle 2 deck was undertaken by artist Matt French. Here are his sketches:
Swindle 2: Silk Screening
Swindle 2: The Final Product
Pocket Pistol Skates: Spidey Swindle 2