Behind the Brand: Landyachtz
For countless skaters, the simple act of seeing someone riding past them one day has been enough to spark their imagination and inspire them to get on a board themselves and begin a lifetimes of side stance action. In the case of Thomas Edstrand, this common occurrence follows a similar trajectory. Except when Edstrand came across Michael Perreten on the University of Victoria campus, the two would transform their ensuing conversation over Perreten’s food coloring-stained, maple and fiberglass-wrapped deck, into a pursuit to start Landyachtz in the basement of a ski cabin in Whistler, British Columbia.
Michael Perreten's Deck, 1996
With a backdrop of steep, hilly terrain, the pair began one of the biggest companies in longboarding history with an idealistic goal: creating boards that were strong and technically advanced, in hopes of making it to the bottoms of their local hills in one piece. To conquer the challenge, Perreten assumed the role of shape design and construction while Edstrand took over the art and graphic design end of the operation.
Maitane Rascon showing off the dancy side of Landys' boards.
Perhaps most central to the history of Landyachtz is the success they had in drop mounting construction before anyone else in the industry caught on. From the initial release of the Landyachtz DH Race board, the team crafted one of the first boards where the baseplate of the trucks sat mounted atop the deck while the truck’s hangar dropped through the deck, keeping the trucks as close to the ground. In time, the boys followed up with the Landyachtz Evo as the first production drop foot platform, providing unparalleled advantages in the downhill racing world and essentially changing the game. The Evo’s design came complete with an upturned nose for responsiveness in the front of the board while a detuned tail in back of the board provided stability and created the ability to tuck fast, handle corners and drift into speed checks.
In another sense, Landyachtz gained notoriety for their superior competence in using carbon fiber in their builds. Used to provide the durability and stiffness to fly down the sketchiest of mountain hills, the incorporation of carbon fiber also made for boards that were heavy enough to withstand the style of riding they became synonymous with. In the same sense, they were able to take the carbon fiber and infuse it in their trucks and boards designed for other disciplines.
Mackenzie Yoshida rocking through the perfect wheel/hat combo in the ditches.
Though Landyachtz has their roots in fast, speed-handling downhill boards, they have made significant contributions across other disciplines of skateboarding by taking their technical strengths and incorporating them into their diverse lineup of cruiser boards. In specific example, the Landyachtz Dinghy has benefitted from years of R&D in the way it has been refined over the years.
Unlike other similarly styled cruisers that have typically been produced with generic molds, these boards received their own specific molds over the years and have had the benefit of meticulous attention to detail throughout their design process. Combined with strength-engineered trucks, freeride-inspired, stoneground finish wheels and bearings with built in spacers, the Dinghy stands as a solid example of Landyachtz’s aptitude in downhill applied to other boards across the spectrum.
Of course, another key behind the success of Landyachtz is the exemplary riding showcased by their team members. From the all terrain ripping of guys like Billy “Bones” Meiners to the outspoken enthusiasm of scene supporters like Bricin “Striker” Lyons, the Landyachtz team provides the perfect examples of how to get down on their boards and have fun doing it. Often, team riders have started there relationship with the brand as local allies who grow their skills and interactions with the brand in tandem. While strong riding is an obvious pillar of the team, the Landyachtz squad is more accurately measured by their personality and contributions beyond skill level. Those who have meshed well with other team riders and aligned with the brand vision have been able to notch a spot on the coveted lineup and enjoy that perks that come with it.
This architecture deserves appreciation but Cassandre Lemoine's no complys are even more impressive.
However, Landyachtz supports more than just the team that keeps their boards in the streets. Over the years they have placed a special emphasis on supporting events and humanitarian causes, both locally and internationally. In their homeland of Canada, their continued efforts in keeping the well-attended, Attack of Danger Bay alive have helped it become one of the longest running downhill skate events in the world. Likewise, their involvement in events like the Toronto Board Meeting and various college tours helps maintain a presence in general industry events and beyond.
Alex Hannigan's mullet may be under his helmet but his riding is still all business in the front.
Away from home, Landyachtz has remained supportive of important environmental initiatives as well, most notably including their One Board, One Tree campaign. With this initiative, the company funds the planting of one Canadian maple tree for every board they sell as a way to directly give back to the hands that feed the business. Under the notion that planting one tree can in turn provide enough wood for up to 60 skateboards, they have worked with a handful of different organizations that have been responsible for planting over 120 thousand trees so far.
Adam Yates leathered up and leading the pack.
With one of the most storied pasts in longboarding, there’s no doubt that Landyachtz will continue to build on their established position in the industry with new product offerings and initiatives to help support the industry. As is typical, their new boards will go through a two year cycle that includes development and release of an original graphic, followed by a year of letting the boards out in the market and adding a graphic revision. Then, when the time is right, additions to the line will be made and the cycle will reset. With some of the most commercially successful boards of all time having been released under the Landyachtz umbrella, it’s anyone’s guess as to which of their upcoming releases will be the next to go down in the history books.