My memories of Think are hinged to a different generation. When I was 17, a lifetime ago, I had a Think Mike Santarossa deck and the team was the sickest. Then they got Dan Drehobl and Phil Shao (R.I.P.) and they went to the next level. That was 15 years ago. The brand has gone through many changes since then, at times floating in limbo but always persevering. This week Street Corner Distribution consolidated City Skateboards into Think and I think the result is going to be a rejuvenation in popularity for the brand. I caught up with Street Corner owner Tony Vitello and Think rider Brian Delatorre to discuss the change.
There were a multitude of reason for combining the teams. Primarily all the dudes on both squads are really good friends. Manny [Santiago] and Dave [Bachinsky] in particular. Those guys are pretty much inseparable when they're together. Best bros, known each other forever. It was just rad seeing all the guys jive together. About eight months ago we talked about doing another video and we discussed making it a Street Corner video and highlighting both City and Think. As we began to film I started thinking, 'If we're going to make a video with these two squads together we might as well send the guys on tour together." Let's be realistic, there's not a whole lot of skateboarding dough out there. Things are relatively tight for most companies and it's hard to have tours for two different teams. The more I saw the guys together the more I thought we should bring both teams together and take on one vision and one goal.
This is actually Think's 20th anniversary. It's seen a lot of different eras in skateboarding and it's been through a lot. It's had ups, downs and gone sideways. It has stood the test of time and maintained its strength. Over the last several years as things have slid in the skateboard world and the economy has taken a downturn, we've maintained Think sales and they've actually been growing and growing. There's a strong Think presence out there right now.
With City we built the foundation on doing these videos, tours and free podcasts. I felt like we were cutting edge when we released the Crime In The City video part by part each week. Things were rad but we really had to fight for every sale. I think part of it was that we started the brand at a good time but a year later it turned into a bad time for the economy and skateboarding, in general. We could have kept doing it but then we would have shut out the guys on Think and I don't want to take for granted the strength of Think and the quality of riders we had on the team just to try and keep City alive. Like I said, this is going to be the 20th anniversary, sales are really strong and with skateboarding brands once they get to a certain age they don't go away. It becomes a fixture. So there was never a choice between keeping City or keeping Think. And I didn't just want Think to be a fixture because it reached a certain age, I wanted to take it to the next level and that's what we're trying to do by combing the teams.
When Tony [Vitello] called and asked me what I thought about combining City with Think I was backing it. I was kind of bummed that Tony [Montgomery] got kicked off because he is the illest dude but other than that I'm hyped on the new team. We got great dudes. Everyone is very talented. Russ, Josh, Dave, Jeremy; I'm psyched. It's solid. Now we can focus all our energy on one team instead of two as far as travel budgets, incentives, per diem. Now we can throw all our eggs in one basket and focus on one thing. It's good for Think. Think has been killing it for two decades now, it's crazy. I'm hyped. Now we can get to work on this Think video. It got set back due to this change but it's a good change and it gives us a good grip of time to get our minds straight and really do this video right. I'm wrapping up this project with Josh Stewart for the M.I.A. video and now I'm totally focusing on this Think video.