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the 2020 year end wood review

Well, it's March 2021, so it only makes sense I dawdle back in time to 2020 and relive the past since I'm having a rather difficult time focusing on the present. And don't even get me started on the future... hell, that frankly scares the plant-based shit out of me. Everyone's talking about this "new normal" that we're allegedly on the brink of, but I've always found myself betting on the "doomsayers" side of the coin. Why so consistently negatron? I don't know. Genetics, possibly, but call me a cynical simpleton of sorts, because if you've been keeping a sly eye on the global scene then you know there are still all kinds of shenanigans going on with production supply chains and the high cost of shipping finished goods. In short, not a lot of clarity and a lot of super unknowns—a one-two punch that I've never handled well in life—so I'm more than happy to default into an ostrich and bury my head deep down in this online sandbox of nonsense.

But smile! The year started off all rosy, pink, and full of promise—ha!—as we went full bore on a Valentine's Day assortment of wood to coincide with a certain Nike SB shoe release that you may or may not remember? Or possibly care not to, I suppose, as we too discovered the penny ante limitations of our Shopify site the hard way. Aside from all that, though, in my mind this was also when everything came together in a branded sense, as strange hearts and skulls abounded amid flashy foil accents and a sheerly coincidental holiday-colored dose of Chris Reed goodness (featuring Adidas no less!). Two other wildcards made their way into the early spring mix: the first being a special Clyde Singleton project [1] done in conjunction with a Deckaid exhibition in Tampa, FL, and ultimately benefitted Boards For Bros; the second an extremely limited board [2] that was essentially produced by Pearl Jam under our brand name (hence the non PS Stix wood), where a portion of our proceeds subsequently found their way back to bassist Jeff Ament's Montana Skatepark Association. What can I say, we love a good cause.

What happened in the months to come got all higgledy-pigglegy for very obvious COVID reasons, but here's the nitty-gritty on the willy-nilly nonetheless. Our 420 joint with Todd Bratrud became a skate shop exclusive, since many of these businesses were now facing dire times indeed while having to come up with inventive ways to stay afloat amid the nationwide shutdown. My subliminally-minded "Consume" screened slick bears a mysterious February "cover date," because it was supposed to be a participant in the great Valentine's release with all the other love-themed boards, but... well, you know, delays happened and it eventually slid out of the warehouse a tad later than intended in spring. We then received a very "boutique-sized" batch of blanks ordered long before our uptick in demand, all of which received screened slaps of '60's-styled graphics with a '90's-era vibe. Bonus trivia for anyone with a penchant for tripping on numerology: you, or at the very least Bobby Puleo, will be amused to know that only 30 of each "Holy Roller" and "Hell on Wheels" graphic were printed on the pointy-nosed 8.5 "cruiser" shape, so in cryptic hashtag lingo that pounds out to #90 #60 #30—whatever that means. Lastly and just in time for the summer migration to the outdoors was a humdinger of a pileated woodpecker in buffalo plaid check. This deck came with a free if not somewhat uncomfortable zine featuring an assortment of dumb tweets I'd posted to Twitter ages ago, including the very one responsible for inspiring the whole macrame shebang in the first place.

It's no secret we get off big time on holiday spirit, so our next storied release kinda sorta coincided with Halloween (give or take a November straggler or two). On the screenprinted tip, we celebrated some cherished zombies of old in matte neon palettes, as well as a second run of the previous year's "Brains" love letter to Trash—albeit it on an 8.5 in the full PS gamut of colored woodstains [3]—and a fresher price point refresher of our resident notorious gangster. As for the Manson parody of a New Deal Andy Howell model, circa 1992, I think this actually popped out of the pipeline earlier in the year, but I can't remember when exactly and I'm just too damn lazy to sift through any files right now. Anyway, in short, it was the mutually agreed upon afterbirth stemming from the New Deal 30th anniversary art soiree that took place in the fall of 2019, but if you want the long form story then you might as well click here to choke on another king-sized buffet of words. 

Once All Hallow's Eve was dead and buried in the grave, our production train hurtled on toward December and yet another holiday footwear foray with Nike SB and me. Springboarding off the loose idea and interpretation of "Misfit Toys," everything came up elves with an exciting vinyl toy extra. I say "exciting" mainly for our sake, because we'd never done a toy before, we'd always wanted to do a toy, and it's no minor miracle that we actually got a toy designed, sculpted, produced, and shipped in time for our exclusive release amid all the worldwide COVID chaos going down. So hooray for us! And because it just can't be a very merry Christmas without gifting something to yourself, I treated myself to buying the original painting of Chris Reed's that was used on his extra misfitty slick bottom. Oh, and since I needed to fill one more slot in the line up on the image above, I opted to throw in the midsummer's eve transfer of our popular "Feedback" model, which came in strategic stains of yellow, orange, and green for one last woeful hurrah (I only say woeful because it was yet another batch of wood ordered in cute, boutique-sized quantities much earlier in the trepidatious year).

So that's it. The late, great 2020 year end wood review has now come to a close. Thank you for taking the idle time to walk among us down production memory lane. Unfortunately, I now have to return to my regularly scheduled daily freak outs over the future and all the new hot shit graphics I'm supposed to be pulling out of my ass. But c'est la viea luta continua. —Sean Cliver 


1. We were seriously under the deadline gun on getting boards delivered in time for the Deckaid event. COVID was already ransacking China and knocked everything for a production loop—if you didn't know, PS Stix transfers are printed in China before being shipped overseas to the factory for final application—so Paul Schmitt went out of his way to print the transfers out in Mexico via InkJet with a radically simplified 2-color top logo print. Perfectionists that we are, a subsequent run of this board was produced with the tried-and-true spot color transfer process and corresponding full-color top logo.

2. Two distinct colorways exist. The first release being a signed 'n' numbered edition of 50 metallic gold variants sold exclusively on our site (which was still rocking and reeling from the first Attack of the Bots), while the second general yet still rather limited release took place over on the official Pearl Jam site a couple weeks later and came with a metallic silver rocket ship.

3. For anyone taking OCD notes, the first run of "Brains" was on an 8.75 and only came in red, green, and black stains. I only mention that now because we have since sadly lost the ability to order select colors of dyed wood ply due to—yep, you guessed it—COVID complications.

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  • Jesse Mopeace on

    Dig on all the goodies you’ll all put your hard work into doing it’s the 💣 Thank you

  • Adam on

    Dear Strangelove Skateboards, will you ever do backorders? I’ve missed out on so many great graphics because you sell out so fast. I want to buy from you, not the guy reselling for twice the price on ebay (sadly I’ve done this). Keep up the great work and stay safe.

  • Jon Heller on

    StrangeLove had one hell of a year! It was wild to see how much the brand blew up after the first dunk release. Super cool that people love the art as much as they do. The Christmas themed designs were my absolute favorite deck that came out in 2020. The “misfit elves” in the workshop is incredible. Last supper type of stuff. Keep killing it! Hoping I can actually get my hands on a board in 2021 & ride the snot outta it!!

  • Joseph Muñiz Ocasio on

    I need

  • Mick on

    Keep pushing forward and Ollie all the obstacles!

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