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Kodak and Girl Skateboards collaborate on new product line

Skateboard decks released as a collaboration between Girl Skateboards and Kodak.

Skateboard decks released as a collaboration between Girl Skateboards and Kodak.

A new release of products seeks to celebrate the histories of two iconic brands through skateboard decks, T-shirts, hats and wheels. Coinciding with their release of the new and improved “Super 8” 8mm camera, Kodak has teamed up with Torrance, California-based Girl Skateboards for the special release, adorning all products in the line with a combination of Kodak branding and Girl’s signature “OG” logo, akin to the marker for a women’s restroom.

Founded in 1993 by professional skateboarders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll, Girl has served as one of the most influential brands in the skateboarding industry, releasing such trailblazing videos as 1996’s “Mouse” and 2003’s “Yeah Right!,” both directed by filmmaker and part-owner Spike Jonze.

The collaboration is one that celebrates a long, storied relationship between skateboarding and Kodak, specifically the Super 8, originally released in 1965.

“The Kodak brand continues to resonate with people across the world,” Brian Cruz, vice president and general manager for Kodak Consumer Products, said in a statement. “The skateboarding community is no exception. In fact, skateboarders have embraced Kodak film over the years, and we are excited to help create a line of gear and clothing that captures their love of the brand.”

This sentiment was echoed by owner of Krudco Skateshop Aaron Costa. Founded in 1994, Krudco has served as a staple of the Rochester skateboarding community, releasing signature hardware, apparel and skate videos, some of which were shot in 8mm.

Aaron Costa, owner of Krudco Skateshop.

Aaron Costa, owner of Krudco Skateshop.

“The compactness of that camera made it really popular in the skateboarding world, and it just gave you this really vintage, artsy look,” Costa said. “Skateboarding videographers are artists.”

Since coming across the collaboration on Aug. 8, Costa, who “flipped out” at the mention of Girl and Kodak working together,  has been taking discounted pre-orders for the line, a rarity in the world of skate shops. Previously, Costa had only taken pre-orders for one other release: a Krudco-branded skateboard deck featuring a full body illustration of a garbage plate.

“We have 27 pre-ordered boards, 16 hats and 10 shirts,” Costa said. “It may not seem like a lot, but that’s a lot for me. Rochester loves things that are Rochester; it’s why the garbage plate board did so well, and why everything with a Flower City logo sells so well.”

Costa guessed that a good chunk of the boards purchased will never hit the streets, instead destined to be hung as art. In particular, the “Super 8” and “Color Negative” branded decks, featuring almost exclusively Kodak branding, were by far the most popular for pre-order.

In a statement, Sam Smyth of Girl said that the company’s long-standing history of recording with film made the collaboration particularly attractive.

“Girl videos have always been partially shot on film. The 20 plus years of our archived photos are all shot on film,” Smyth said. “The Kodak brand is so synonymous with skateboarding to me, this collaboration feels completely natural. To work with Kodak officially, and for it to come out so cool, is extremely rewarding.”

As for the future of filming skate videos, in the era of ubiquitous smartphones offering 4k video at the tap of a touch screen, Costa said film still has hopes to survive and flourish outside the annals of skateboarding history.

“I see 13- or 14-year-old kids coming in here wanting to shoot in 8mm,” Costa said. “They want that really vintage look, and there’s just no replacement for the real thing.”

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