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August 31, 2011

What makes a skateboard kosher? [VIDEO]

http://www.jewishjournal.com/community/article/what_makes_a_skateboard_kosher_video_20110831

Avi Greenberg, right, and Clayton Graul, left, co-founded Kosher Skateboards, which produced its first run of decks earlier this year. Aryeh Kraus, center, is the company's pro rider. Photo by Jonah Lowenfeld

Avi Greenberg, right, and Clayton Graul, left, co-founded Kosher Skateboards, which produced its first run of decks earlier this year. Aryeh Kraus, center, is the company's pro rider. Photo by Jonah Lowenfeld

In high school, Avi Greenberg sometimes spent eight hours a day skateboarding. He kept a board in his school locker, and he wore through them quickly, sometimes as many as five in a month.

Now 33, married and with a 4-month-old daughter, Greenberg still lives in Pico-Robertson, where he grew up, and he still doesn’t leave home without his skateboard.

“I always knew I wasn’t going to be the next Tony Hawk,” he said. “I just love skating.”

Greenberg has a day job helping to design and build TV stations, but he and Hawk, the legendary vertical skateboarder, do have something in common: their own skateboard companies. Hawk co-founded Birdhouse Skateboards in 1992; Greenberg co-founded Kosher Skateboards.

What, exactly, makes a skateboard kosher?

“They’re just solid boards,” said Aryeh Kraus, the company’s sole pro rider. “You want a board that feels strong and that’s not gonna get soggy.”

The feel of the board was important to Greenberg and co-founder Clayton Graul, who have been working together on this project for the last six years.

Story continues after the jump.

Aryeh Kraus, seen in a 2008 video on youTube.

This year, using $5,000 in start-up capital, the two commissioned a manufacturer in Oceanside, Calif., to produce a small run of just 153 boards.

They’re not simple decks though: Like most high-quality boards, Kosher Skateboards are made from seven layers of maple, glued together.

Graul isn’t Jewish (Greenberg: “everybody’s got the honorary Jew in their crew”), but he lives around Melrose and Fairfax, and he channels the Hebrews’ symbols into the graphic designs of Kosher Skateboards’ products.

Of the company’s first three deck designs, the Rangillac Deck — a New York Rangers logo flanked by the silver laurels of a Cadillac hood ornament — looks like it might have the most crossover appeal to those who’ve only ridden trayf skateboards.

There’s an Israel Deck and a Kosherman Deck, and a Dreidel Deck is in the works. All are available online and at two brick-and-mortar shops in the Los Angeles area.

But Greenberg and Graul are spreading the word by posting hundreds of stickers around the city, and by giving out hundreds more.

“Every time I see a kid with a yarmulke and a skateboard, I just drop a bunch of stickers on him,” Greenberg said. “It seems to be working out.”

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