If you skateboard in Chicago, then you know about Character Skateboards. Character has been a staple in the Chicago skate scene for over 10 years and we have a feeling they will be around for many, many more. We got a chance to chat with Al Butella, the man who started it all, and find out what the Character crew is up to.
Give us a little history lesson on Character Skateboards.
The Character brand was created for the love of skateboarding in 2002. Based in the Midwest, Character finds it’s home in the one and only “Windy City” of Chicago. Character’s mission is to produce quality products, promote skateboarding, have fun and hopefully raise a few eyebrows along the way!
Last year, you guys hit your 10 year anniversary! What’s been the key to your success?
It’s hard to believe Character has been a staple part of Chicago skateboarding for almost eleven years. I think a lot of it has to do to the fact that we stayed true to the key focus of our mission statement, which is to “have fun” Like most things in life, it’s important to love what you are doing and most of all have fun while you are doing it.
I think the biggest reason for 10 years is all of the midwest support from shops and our loyal supporters of the brand.
Give us a rundown of your skate team and what the guys have been up to lately.
The Character crew consists of: Corey Hendricks, Shawn Turner, Joey Adamczyk, Julian Izaguirre, Edgar Armenta, Jackson Hennessey, Joseph Linzemann, Dan Little, Brett Weinstein, Jorgy Rodriguez, Darnell Lash, Josh Ferro, Mike Chilla, Matt Frankland and Amos Soma Fuller (Team Manager) and Author Soma has been crazy busy releasing books that target the action athlete, health and wellness. His latest titles include “Tough Like You” and “Stretches in Bed”.
We have been busy these with last few months with demo’s and filming and now that old man winter is around the corner we are in the process of setting up some demos at a few of the indoor parks. We also put together a team for the “All City Showdown Chicago” filming event. Our team “Tongue Blasters” consisted of Shawn Turner, Julian Izaguirre, Corey Glick and filmer Lee Larkins. Other Character riders represented in this video competition are Edgar Armenta, Jorgy Rodriguez and Filmer Corey Henderson.
Also, Tampa Am is next month and Shawn Turner, Brett Weinstein and new Character Blue Collar Hardware rider Corey Glick are going out to represent Character and midwest skateboarding.
Any events coming up that you guys are excited about?
We had a crazy busy September and October with the “Open Streets’’ and ‘’Kids Matter” events and now we seems to be mostly consumed with our riders getting footy and filmers editing. A few riders are dropping parts within the next two months. Plus, we are releasing a short Character promo dvd early spring to try to just keep thing moving forward until we can finally drop the full video. We are also in the early phases of filming a commercial with the local film company “Odd Machine” which should be amazing. We also just did our first rough production mini ramp session with pretty much all of the Character riders, with the exception of a few, and its was insane. The best thing was that all the Character riders had a chance to shred together on one sick mini ramp. Corey Herdricks even came in from St. Louis to show off his blunt double kickflip out.
We know the skate industry is an ever-changing beast. What are your thoughts about where the industry is headed?
And what a beast it is! Let’s face it skateboarding is here to stay! Skateboarders are going to continue to creatively push the limits along with blowing minds along the way. The progression of skateboarding has far surpassed any other sport and the crazy thing is the industry has an endless amounts of talent to support it. Now, 11 year old kids are spinning 900’s on mega ramps! Skateboarding currently has a solid foundation because now more then ever we have every age group skating. As long as that is the case, skateboarding will continue to grow and prosper.