Another welcome addition to our Friends of Further. Jeff Vyain. (This interview was conducted whilst Jeff was out hiking with his boy on his back. Just so you know!).
Nat: Many will remember Jeff from back in the Adrenalina marathon days and his epic battles with Paul Kent. Family man, owner of Pantheon Longboards and all round good dude. We are stoked to have a catch up with Jeff and talk distance skating.
Nat: Hello buddy, how’s things? You seem pretty busy right now. Pantheon has taken off and it’s good to see you out in the scene skating hard again.
Jeff: Thanks! Things are good! We’re staying busy and active.
Nat: Your boards have been a huge hit for distance skaters despite the ‘niche’ market. Was it always a goal to make push decks as part of the lineup?
Jeff: Thanks, yea man, I take pride in that. Yea it really always was. You call it distance, I call it commuting or exercise. Low, easy to push boards are the most accessible decks for the layman and beginner, and they’re the most useful decks for commuters. I would imagine that could be, one day if it isn’t already, the largest segments of skateboarding.
Nat: We hope so!
Nat: Pantheon is a truly grassroots/family ‘brand’ that you have kept firmly under your wings. Do you have an end goal with what you are doing – an ethos I guess? What would Pantheon’s ethos be?
Jeff: Well, I created Pantheon in 2013 because I felt like I had more to offer than what I could through my medium at that time. I wanted to be a brand that stood for something more than just “skateboarding is cool.” I guess it’s several things, but shortly, we are 100% American made because we want our boards to serve local jobs. I want our skateboarding to shape our designs, not the other way around. I want to create meaningful graphics that speak to people–not just stuff that looks cool. Everything we make has to be inspired. And lastly, I just want to be able to speak to people on a personal, skater-to-skater level. So when we say “we designed this skateboard to…” What that really means is, I designed this skateboard, as a skateboarder, for other skateboarders. It’s created out of personal experience.
Nat: It’s crazy that what pantheon is doing is breaking moulds, when it seems so simple. Pantheon has a bunch of riders on the ‘race circuit’ riding your decks. Do you sponsor riders or do you let your products do the talking?
Jeff: Pantheon doesn’t have an official team. That doesn’t mean that we don’t flow decks here and there or that I don’t love helping out riders/friends. It just means that I don’t really like the concept of supporting riders so that they will speak highly of our boards. I want everyone that supports us to have the freedom to do or not do so. Nothing out of obligation. We use our flow boards more as a thank you and not as a tit for tat.
Nat: A good product will always rise to the top! We’ve also seen a few chops for brackets, is that something you are thinking about making or are you happy to let people do it themselves?
Jeff: It’s definitely something on the radar. I wanted to make one for myself to test first. We made a move recently to Colorado, and at the moment, I don’t have access to a CNC machine like I used to. I’m hoping that changes pretty soon! It’s sort of necessary for our prototyping process.
Nat: Colorado looks like pushing heaven; I know you want to promote the distance skating scene there, any big plans?
Jeff: We definitely want to hold a marathon race next year. I’ve got a lot of work to do to get that going, but I’m going to do it! Beyond that, I think there are enough trails here to hold a dozen events every year, but I’m aiming for two. I’d really like the other event to be a big push through the mountains. The marathon would be at the base of the foothills.
Nat: Mountain races sound amazing – downhill skills needed, happy to go a bit fast and then the power for the uphills. Its combines everything. A long race, kind of like Ladiga?
Jeff: If we can find the route for it, sure! Right now I’m eyeballing a route from near the Vail area to Breckenridge. Who knows, though! The hills wouldn’t be too crazy but the path that I’m seeing right now has like 1400 ft of climbing. I’m looking for a challenge! Or an adventure.
Nat: Holy! that sounds good. Any other big plans in the future?
Jeff: Yeah, we really have a lot on the plate. I’m in door opening mode right now. Nothing really feels exact, and everything feels possible. We are looking toward some level of partnership with a shop called BoardLife here in Denver. They are going into manufacturing, and we are going to help them make it happen. The details of the partnership aren’t really ironed out yet so it’s hard for me to speak specifically about, but I know that however it pans out, everyone will benefit.
Nat: Busy busy! Jeff we are super stoked here at SkateFurther will all that you do for distance skating – both on and off the board. Pantheon has been a game changer for us both in the quality of the products and the attitude to skating it promotes. We are happy to count you as a Friend of Further – welcome to the club!
Jeff: Thanks so much Nat! Mahalo from the top of a mountain. Got a sleeping kid on my back right now but we are pushing onward 🙂
Nat: Hahah! Love it! Thanks for your time fella, any last shout outs etc? Love to your family!
Jeff: Shout out to everybody out there who’s pushing their limits and finding the depth of their will, however they’re doing so. Lots of love to my family and friends! Y’all know who you are. And thanks to everybody who has helped us push forward in our dream!