Born out of the urethane boom of the 1970s, Kryptonics originally manufactured computer and mining products, until one night a young employee took it upon himself to sneak into the factory and make the first Kryptonics skate wheel. SOURCE caught up with Steve Douglas to see how the company has evolved and grown with the times.
Please give an overview on how and why the company began?
Kryptonics was founded in 1965 and originally manufactured urethane products for the mining and computer industry. In 1976 Jim Ford, a young Kryptonics employee snuck into the factory after hours to create the first Kryptonics Star*Trac wheels utilizing urethane formulas developed by brilliant chemist Chuck Demarest. These wheels drastically changed the functionality of skateboards. Kryptonics was the first company to offer wheels in colourcoded durometers, and to use millimetre sizing.
Kryptonics soon became the dominant wheel for all types of skateboarding, excelling on all types of terrain and winning more races than any other wheel brand. Top professional skateboarders such as Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Steve Alba, Micke Alba, David Hackett, Bobby Piercy, Tommy Ryan and many others were sponsored by Kryptonics. From the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, more professional and amateur riders raced and won on Kryptonics Reds than any other wheel.
Who is on the management team, and what are their backgrounds?
I started skating in 1976, became European Junior Champion in 1983 in Stockholm, moved to the US in 1985 turned pro in 1987. I started many brands from 1990 to 2001 including New Deal, Element, Destructo trucks, 411vm and On video. I’ve been working at Dwindle since 2003 with long time friend Bod Boyle also from London (Bod was the first ever non-American to win the World Championship at Munster in 1990). Jack Smith began skating in 1974, in 1976 he was the first person to skateboard across America. He was the 1978 Overall World Skatecar Champion. In 1985 he became the first Advertising Director of Transworld Skateboarding magazine. Between 1987 and 1994 Jack was the Advertising/Promotions/Team Manager for Kryptonics. In 2012, he opened the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum. During July of 2013 he skateboarded across America for the fourth time, to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Eric Sentianin (Product & R&D) started skating in 1985 – he has a bachelor's degree in bioengineering. He worked as Assistant Editor at TWS then became Managing Editor. Eric returned to College to get his masters degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation he took a job as a manufacturing engineer and a research and development engineer for Taylor Made (adidas golf). In late 2010 he was once again back in skateboarding. Eric handles all research and development for all brands under Dwindle.
Why should retailers sell your brand?
Kryptonics is one of the most iconic brands in skateboarding history. Both older and younger skaters will recognize the brand, some will want to purchase the wheels for nostalgic reasons. Younger skaters will be attracted to the speed and glide, and to finally being able to ride the genuine Kryptonics Star Trac wheels that still enjoy legendary status across all generations of skateboarders.
Following in the original spirit of innovation and technology we have reformulated the softer compounds to be tougher and faster. We are releasing three durometers of wheels in the original sizes and shapes…even the engraved graphics are same.
Resilience is the key to speed in any durometer and Kryptonics offers a complete line of highly resilient wheels in three compounds; Green (86A), Blue (82A) and Red (78A) – each available in four sizes – 60, 65, 70 and a new 75mm.
Why did you make changes from the original Kryptonics?
You remember in the 70’s the reds were 78a, the blues were 86a and the green were the hardest being a 91a. After speaking with retailers and distributors we found the best-selling sizes of wheels were 60mm up to 75mm and the key duromenters were 78a to 86a. So we kept the red as it is and made the blue 82 and green softer at 86 for today’s market. We then added in a 75mm trying to give the market what they want.
What is the connection between Dusters California and Kryptonics?
Dusters worked with the owners of Kryptonics, Bravo sports to bring back the original Star Trac Kryptonics. Dusters California is a board brand whose roots lay in the 70’s. In the late 70’s Kryptonics was hands down the wheel company, so it made total sense. Kryptonics Star Trac wheel will be available on its own and on select models of the Dusters brand. We feel with a Dusters board made from the legendary DSM woodshop with Slant trucks and our wheels will be an amazing set up.
What do you see for the future of the industry?
There are a lot of old / rough streets in Europe, I know I grew up in London in the 70’s and I know the impact that riding Red Kryptonics made to me. Before I would slam on my face after hitting a small stone, with Red Kryps a few pushes and I was on the other side of town, it was like learning to snowboard on ice and rocks and then riding deep powder! It was a game changer. I used to come home and dig out small rocks and pieces of glass out of my red Kryp’s, they were great memories and I am looking forward to a new breed of skateboarders enjoying the ride.
Where can we check out your products/videos/stuff?
http://www.kryptonicswheels.com/ and on facebook and instagram.
Company Name (if different): Dusters California
Interviewee name and job title: Steve Douglas, Business Development
Head Office Address: El Segundo California, USA
Email: [email protected]