From East to West - A Short History of Earthwing

Brian 1998 - 2020

Earthwing Skateboards started in the mid 90's while I worked at PSNY Skateshop in 6th and west 4th in NYC. Like most of you, I was a fan of skateboarding, defender of skateboarding, and devoted majority of my life, and identity to being a proud skater from day one. At the time this was just a hobby for a curious tinkerer that loved skateboarding. The idea started by shaping broken shop snowboards into little slalom, sprinting, and carving decks. Man, these things could haul, and had a totally unique feel. They had a way of dissipating vibration, and had a forgiving snappy torsional flex that made carving very smooth and predictable. When you find yourself having so much fun with something you made, it gets addictive, so you get curious enough to see how far you can go. You start chasing the thrill by trying new things, and exploring new ideas. When I ran out of snowboards to butcher, I started researching constructions, core and composite materials, processes, presses...the list goes on. What is the best possible way to make a skateboard? Just Look at a tennis racket, a kayak, a golf club, skis / snowboards. Wood has it's place in skateboarding for good. I grew up on wood, there is nothing wrong with a quality  7 ply, but there are so many possibilities with advanced composites too. I felt it then, and I feel it now - YOU DESERVE MORE.


So my war was on. My first Earthwing was made in April of 1998. It was a carver wrapped in s-glass, Baltic birch top and bottom veneers, v-lam balsa core, and even some thin woven stainless steel fabric of all things. It wasn't my best, and it took forever, but it was so worth it. It fed my addiction. I pushed around for weeks feeling invincible, showing this new sprinting deck to every skater in Manhattan. I competed with cars, and buses through the streets from light to light to see who could have a quicker pick up. Being able to sprint that fast on a skateboard was amazing. Sometimes I found myself silently wizzing through traffic, and pedestrians laughing at how much fun I was having, and how fast I was going. Bearings went from swiss, to ceramic swiss with spacers, wheels went from Kryptos to Powerpaw Alluminators, decks got thinner, lighter, and more responsive...Through the years, I researched, executed, refined, built, and collected more tools, designed tools and presses etc... I ended up turning my tiny Brooklyn apartment into a small working factory. I wish I had photos of all of that, but digital cameras were about $1000 at the time, and I didn’t have a computer anyway. I spent all my money on skateboard production. I had boards in vacuum presses, tools everywhere, a silk screening operation, carbon fiber stuck in my sheets, and epoxy all over the place. I made a steam box over my stove with 4 kettles billowing skin melting steam up to the waiting cores. It was bananas in there. D.I.Y If you want it bad enough, you will figure it out. Whatever works. I wasn't willing to sit back and complain waiting for the industry to get off it's wooden ass to make what I felt skateboarding deserved. They were busy doing what it seems like they were stuck doing for years, selling toys to kids.  I wanted to make machines for men, and women who had the grapes to go there.


In 2003, The first Kevlar / carbon/ birch Supercharger prototype propelled by Ian Nichols won the infamous "Broadway Bomb" race. That deck was unlike anything anyone had seen at the time. You did not see many production drop through decks, especially any with a detailed thought out construction like that. Since then, Kaspar Spurgeon Heinrici has won it about 15,000 times, and continues his threat as the one to beat in NYC. To this day, I don't think anyone has won that race who does not live in the boroughs. After that first win, Earthwing was in demand, but the boards were so time consuming, and expensive, it was hard to take the next step to mass production. I really didn’t care either, I just wanted to make them for myself. We now have our act together, and the boards are better than ever, and available to everyone at a reasonable price. Our products have value. What you get from Earthwing is greater than the price we set. We have expanded into wheels designed specifically for different disciplines - from slide, to speed, to smooth drifty goodness, we have you covered. Earthwing is tiny, and I like it that way. I have no investors to answer to, and I can do what I want. I run this company like you would want to see me run it. This is all just for fun. The day I stop having fun is the day we close the doors.

You deserve more.


Brian Petrie Founder of Earthwing Skateboards

David 2020 - Present

2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges. COVID-19, the BLM movement, and a controversial U.S. election are the defining events of 2020. A minor, but important event took place in the midst of all of this. Earthwing was handed over to a new owner. We here at Earthwing like to say an 'adoption' took place. Brian Petrie founded Earthwing as a hobby in 1998. He was a passionate skateboarder, fully embedded in skating and engrossed by the potential of it all. He began experimenting with composite decks in the late 90's. His popularity grew and he was able to incorporate in 2005. Running Earthwing to great success, Brian lead the charge in skateboard innovation. With shear passion being his motive, Brian pioneered construction techniques and future forward molds and wheel design. So much of Earthwing's designs landed years ahead of the competition. Nonetheless, Brian kept things affordable and approachable, never buying into the "scene" mentality or pricing out the everyman customer. He kept skateboarding fun. Earthwing was fun and energetic and that was the point. It was never a business in the stereotypical sense. But after 20 years at the helm, Brian's EW began to slow down.

In March 2020 a plan was introduced to pump new life into Earthwing. I began talking with Brian about a realistic transition. I had been skating for 10 years and had watched numerous brands go under or get acquired by profit oriented corporations. After discussing the situation with Brian it was clear that to avoid Earthwing becoming another brand to fade to black, someone would need to step up. Everything was there...Brian and I got along, we had a similar motive, we had the same 'business' values, the manufacturer was near my home, essentials were in place and all I had to do was pull the trigger. I spent the next few months securing capital and organizing a new base in San Diego. By August, I was in a position to purchase Earthwing and make the "Adoption" final. Brian agreed to help out as we transitioned and will always remain invested in EW. He spent so much time and energy forming EW into the incredibly influential and underrated skate company it is. I respect all of Brian's work and will do everything I can to not only preserve what he has established, but to build upon it. I owe it to him, but more, I owe it to the entire skateboard/longboard community. I love skateboarding and am humbled by this opportunity. That all being said, I am doing this for Brian, I am doing this for me and I am doing this for the community. I love this thing and want to see it succeed. I want Brian to know his creation will be taken care of and I want the community to know they will be taken care of. I want to foster the community in the ways I remember when I came into it. I want to give back every penny I feasibly can. I am not doing this for money, I am not doing this for popularity. I am doing this because I love this thing called skateboarding.

Moving forward, here's what you need to know about this next era of Earthwing. It's still about you, the community. As Brian always says, 'you deserve more'. This has never been more true. WE are EW, EW is WE. That's what we are about. Earthwing is not mine, it is ours. Every community member has a say when it comes to Earthwing. We will make what we all want, community input will always be accepted and considered, often invited. When we are in a position to, we will always put money towards events and positive exposure. Efforts will be made to get kids involved in a healthy manner. Support will be given to those who are less fortunate to get to events or buy the fancy new new from wherever. Obviously, this can't happen overnight, and we will need your support to achieve all of these things in time. Nonetheless, Now you Know, this is where our priorities lie. By buying and supporting Earthwing, you can help to make all this possible. You will help to promote skating into the future and help to make the community stronger. This is our journey, not just mine. WE are EW and WE Deserve more!


David Townsend