Since the fall of 2010 four out of eight or so of the skateboard decks I have ridden were Alien Workshop or Habitat decks. They are under the same company umbrella, have similar directions, and are operated out of Southern Ohio. I think they really are making quality decks, and I think I’ll keep purchasing them.
Before 2010 I had decks by this company, and I think I like the shapes. Concave is the curve dip on a deck that runs the length of the body of the board, and it makes the sides slightly raised while the center is lower. Concave varies greatly by company and rider preference. When I first started skating in the late 1980’s H-Street came out with ‘Hell concave,’ and since then it’s part of my decision making when I purchase decks. I like noticeable concave, and I like the feel from it on the Alien Workshop and Habitat decks I’ve ridden. I also for whatever reason lean toward steeper noses on my decks with a mellower tail. Most Workshop decks have steep noses and concave. As one skates these preferences are made, so I recommend people buy at a shop, it’s kind of like making sure the shoes are the right fit.
Besides the shapes, these decks last a long time for me. Granted I skate on weekends, and sometimes my sessions are only a few hours. So my experience is much different than a teenager skating everyday. But I like that they last longer, because it’s cheaper, and I feel I can get in a groove with a particular deck. I don’t want a new deck every week like I did when I was younger.
In fall of 2010 I got an Alien Workshop Mikey Taylor 8.25 inch (width) deck, with the hexagon stuff on the top of the deck. I wrote a blog entry for that deck Letter to Skateboard deck. For here I’ll just say it lasted a long time, I believe that entire fall. I think with a little wider set up, I was more consistent. After that deck I tried a few other companies. Trying a railslide on a low flat rail at the L.E.S. park I cracked a deck from a different company on my first day riding it. I might be on the heavy side for rail slides, but cracking it on the first day showed that quality does vary quite a bit.
In early spring of 2011 I bought a Habitat Austyn Gillette 8.0 inch deck. This board really gelled with me, and I skated well on it. In mid summer I got the hair-brained idea that I wanted a smaller setup. So I got a new complete with an Alien Workshop Anthony Van Engelen 7.75 inch deck. My friend wanted to start back skating after many years off, and as a good citizen I gave my friend my older complete. He put that Habitat Gillette board to good use for months after I stopped riding it. For my new set up, I enjoyed the 7.75 size. I think I progressed, and started to do relatively small drops, like three stairs or so, when for years I avoided that type of thing because of my knee. In summer and fall I skated most every weekend. This Alien Workshop deck lasted from July to December. That is a long shelf life for a skateboard, and it was not totally beat either. I just wanted a new deck.
In December I started riding a Habitat Danny Garcia 7.8 inch deck. It’s been great going into the third month of riding it, and this winter has been warm, so I did not have to stop. My only complaint is I feel less consistent, but I think that has to do that the deck is too skinny. My goal is to ride this deck until late May when I plan to visit my parents in Toledo Ohio. If this deck lasts until then, I’ll treat myself to a new wider complete at my friend’s shop Just Skateboards. They carry a lot of Habitat and Alien Workshop.
I’m mostly a fan of these companies because of the quality, but their graphics and image is cool too. First off they are not the bad boy company or promote negativity like some other companies. In the last year they had a series of graphics that featured Andy Warhol’s art. I’m not the biggest fan of Andy Warhol, but it’s a good idea to promote the larger art world to skate kids in my opinion. Skating will always create an interest in Art and music from graphics and videos. So if a kid picks up a art history book because of the Alien Workshop Andy Warhol graphic that’s cool. And the company did it the legit way, because the Andy Warhol museum got a lump check or part of the royalties. I think Alien Worshop’s image is kind of artistic, and Habitat is kind of granola or hippy. But they are not bent out on offending people. In my mid thirties I’m not trying to be badass by skating or punk rock, and I’m glad I can always pick up an Alien Workshop or Habitat board knowing there is nothing offensive about it.
Lastly, on my friend’s shop, Just Skateboards facebook page, they gave an update that Alien Workshop was bought by Rob Dyrdek. He might be considered mainstream or corporate, but his dedication to promoting skating and putting skating in a positive light is apparent to me. On Just’s facebook update people weighed in on if it was good or bad that Dyrdek bought the company. He started in the industry with this company around 1991, and even after all the reality tv shows and other successes, rode for them for over twenty years and now owns the company. I think his ownership is good, and my comment on Just’s post was I hope they keep the same shapes and wood!