Decades ago, skateboarding was a sport of back alleys and abandoned pools. Today, in many ways, it’s one of Chelsea galleries and critic’s circles. Over the last several years, artists like Damien Hirst and Robert Longo have collaborated with brands like Supreme, tacking four-figure price tags on decks baring their signature marks, often clear reproductions of their most famous work.

Conversely, brands like Brooklyn-based Along have found something of a sweet spot. Since opening its doors in 2011, Along has focused on creating limited-edition surfboards and skateboards by hand, coupling sustainable materials with designs from artists who share their passion for the natural world—less commercial, but equally beautiful. “Along is a kind project trying to give back to nature what nature gives to us,” says founder David Lopez. “That’s why we produce boards with sustainable materials and old-school techniques, always referring to the roots in surf and skate.”

On March 1, Along will release Beastie Boards, an editioned set of decks featuring artwork from Barcelona-based artist Chidy Wayne. Wayne and Lopez found inspiration for the series while sitting in front of an alaia surfboard, listening to Sixties soul music and reflecting on the feeling of riding and surfing. The formidable result is a five-part series feature acrylic beasts on wood decks, each a vibrant and energetic distortion of an animal at its most primal. They’re aptly titled Wild, Beast, Beauty, King, and Lord.

“Wayne was talking about a human’s mind while on the board. You have to be wild and powerful enough to face those big waves or deep concrete pools,” Lopez says. “Your mind needs to be calm but sharp, aggressive but smooth—like all of those beasts.” In the spirit of Along, this particular series captures the mental anguish of the sport, focusing on the relationship between the skateboarder and his environment as that of predator and prey.

Whether or not the decks are truly to be ridden is in the eye of the owner, says Lopez, whose focus on the near-spiritual side of the sport lends itself to a refreshingly unpretentious mindset. “The owner is the one who can choose between hanging the board on the wall or riding it,” he continues. “It’s all about emotion. There are people who keep toys in boxes because of their value. Some others play with them.”

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