EVLN: Powell's custom 6' ride-in e-skateboards resemble classic cars

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EVLN: Powell's custom 6' ride-in e-skateboards resemble classic cars

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Oakland skateboard designer finds vehicles for creativity
Aug. 11, 2019  Carlos Avila Gonzalez

[images  / Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
Darren Powell, inspired by the Volkswagen vehicle, created the
Free•Double•You Bus at his Oakland-CA studio  1of8

Powell’s Freejac Nation company creates handcrafted skateboards, both
standard and electric-powered, that resemble existing vehicles

Darren Powell masks the body paint on a skateboard resembling a Hummer sport
utility vehicle

video  flash
Darren Powell creates custom motorized skateboards that resemble miniature
dream cars for his company Freejac Nation
Video: San Francisco Chronicle

Darren Powell steps out from his live/work space in the Fruitvale district
in Oakland, climbs into his VW Bus, and turns up his stereo before heading
down Foothill Boulevard on an errand. The attention he gets from those he
passes are a sign of appreciation for his classically styled vehicle.

But this is no ordinary Bus. It’s only 6 feet long, and Powell isn’t inside
it; rather, he is standing in a hole cut in the roof of the motorized
skateboard he custom-built to resemble a classic car he always wanted to

He calls his creation the Free•Double•You Bus, a play on his company’s name,
Freejac Nation, which specializes in handcrafted custom skateboards
resembling existing vehicles. Some are standard, foot-powered fancy
skateboards. Others, like the Bus, are electric-powered luxury boards that
sell for a premium, much like their life-size counterparts. He has boards
inspired by Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Hummer, as well as a board
based on a futuristic concept car. There’s even a makeshift jet wrapped to
look like the one from the 2004 movie “Soul Plane.”

“The one I like riding the most is probably the VW Bus,” he says. “I always
wanted a Bus, an old-school one. I wanted to get me one before they hit a
hundred grand!” He adds laughing.

For Powell, making a scale-model version that he could ride made more sense
than shelling out the tens of thousands of dollars it would take to get the
real thing, which might fetch as much as $150,000.

In Oakland’s hood, necessity might be the mother of invention, but its daddy
is repurposing. From sampling music and beats to reshaping a basic bike into
a Scraper Bike, Oakland has a way of reinventing everything from music to
art to transportation.

“I just ride all over the ‘O’,” Powell says. “Oakland has shown me a lot of
love. I get so much support from the people here.”

His company name, Freejac Nation, comes from the 1992 futuristic movie
“Freejack,” about a wealthy man (played by Anthony Hopkins) who wants to
repurpose the body of a race car driver (Emilio Estevez) and upload his
consciousness into it when the racer dies in a crash.

“Freejacking is taking an idea to the next level,” Powell says. “I just
wanted to create a designer style of skateboard where you could just look
cool riding it.”

That’s where his skills as a designer and his love of fabrication came into
play. He is a building designer by trade and can spend three months working
on his creations. Each board starts out as battery-powered kids’ toys, which
he strips down to their bare components and then rebuilds with custom
modifications including stronger frames, bigger batteries, motors and
amplified stereo systems.

Powell is working on a candy-apple-red Hummer sport utility vehicle board in
his workshop, which doubles as a video studio, and expects to be done in a
few weeks. Soon he hopes to get the attention of more artists and rappers to
have his boards featured in their videos. He would like to turn his creative
passion into a thriving business where he can create custom boards to suit
individual tastes.

“I really want to create custom boards for different people and challenge my
creativity,” he says. “All that time and detail is worth it, you know.”
[© sfchronicle.com]
FREEJACNATION SKATEBOARDS from Darren Powell on Vimeo ...

Audi e-tron Scooter unveiled as an electric scooter and skateboard hybrid
Aug. 5th 2019  Audi has a new electric micro-mobility offering known as the
e-tron Scooter. Half skateboard, half scooter ...

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