While the rest of the country climbs through snow and sleet to hit a movie, we're having backyard barbecues in our bathing suits. Living in South Florida is a blessing, and here, it's always the right time for a community gathering. And what better way to celebrate the great urban outdoors than with a little longboarding?
While we're at it, let's throw some vendors in the mix along with live music, live art, a raffle, laser engravings, pinch pressings, delicious noms, and a full bar. Yeah, that sounds like a great way to get people together, and that's exactly the plan Inspiration Longboards cooked up for its grand opening Saturday, January 17.
"One of our goals has been to support our local community," says IL's Amy Steinberg. She and her friends at the shop have always had a passion for longboarding, but when they started modifying and designing their own boards for fun six years ago, they never could have imagined what they have today. That's what happens when you love what you do. You get really good at it.
"We're continually prototyping and pushing our boundaries," she says, "not out of necessity but out of pure habit."
IL's habit has transformed into full-on production. The wokers hone their craft out of a downtown warehouse that's become half hang spot, half workshop wonderland. It's outfitted with a CNC Machine, laser engraver, fully functional wood shop, spray booth, and, most recently, a full-sized stage. So the live acts have to have a proper place to perform.
"They've always been able to balance the partying with productivity, which is something I've always admired," says local rapper and lifelong skater Bleubird. He'll be performing on that stage alongside the Jeff D Band and the Medicine Box, as well as some late-night DJ sets from the Too Future crew.
"I thrive around creative, driven people, and that's what I love about that warehouse," Bleubird says. "Anytime I go over there, people are hanging out, drinking, and skating, sure, but they're also putting their heads together."
It's been a long, hard road to open the shop. It's no wonder they're going all out, and the people who have helped them along the way are happy to put their creative skills to good use. Thanks to a partnership with Abandoned Pet Rescue, a percentage of proceeds will go to an even better cause. It's almost like the perfect Saturday shindig, and hey, you can get a sweet longboard out of it. Florida winters are just the best.
Inspiration Longboards grand opening, 3 p.m. Saturday, January 17, at 1410 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit inspirationlongboards.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.