[image credit: Point Distribution]
I first learned about plywood and its properties not through the Eameses or design school, but as a teenaged skateboarder. We built ramps and surfaced them with two layers of 1/4" ply, and our boards themselves were made of seven layers laminated together, cross-hatched for strength. The way skateboards are constructed became obvious to me after I shredded the tail of my John Lucero deck, worn down after months of abuse; the tail "de-lammed" or delaminated unevenly, and as the glue failed you could see the different profiles of individual layers and their alternating directions of grain.
I wasn't the only one riding a raggedy-ass skateboard, as it wasn't something you were meant to keep nice; it was supposed to be abused, and you'd keep riding it until you wore it down to an unworkable nub.
Which makes me wonder if Mechanical Engineering and Design student Louis Bradier's carbon fiber skateboard will be a hit or not. It's a downhill longboard deck as opposed to a more thrashable street deck, but will skaters take to a material and technology more likely associated with skiing than skating?
Whether or not it takes off, it's impressive that that's no rendering, above--Bradier designed and built the thing himself. "It features a foam core construction with a torsion box," he writes, "an impact tough injected polyurethane edge and load distributors." You can see more of Bradier's projects here.