A shallow savings account leads CSUN student to start his own skateboard company

Breanne Racano

Joe Silverstein, anthropology major, makes custom longboards for sale. Photo Credit: Breanne Racano / Staff Writer

In pursuit for an affordable and quality longboard, anthropology student Joe Silverstein turned to making his own. After discovering he really enjoyed making longboards, Silverstein started his own company, “Highland Longboards”.

“I wanted to buy a higher quality longboard, but I didn’t have the money,” Silverstein said.  “So I took some plywood I had lying around, bought longboard hardware and cut it out in my friend’s carpentry workshop. That’s how I got started.”

Silverstein stopped extreme downhill longboarding after he took a brutal fall while skating 40 miles per hour down Glendale Mountain Rd. That is when making longboards became his focus. Silverstein began modifying his friends longboards and making them their own. Now Silverstein has been making longboards for the past year.

“We take pride in the quality of the board so we only use high quality parts,” he said. “If someone doesn’t have a high budget we can use lower quality parts and bring the price down but we try to give the customers the highest quality we can.”

Not only are the boards high quality and affordable but they are personalized and unique. Silverstein works directly with artist Yosef Coopersmith to customize designs for each customer. Coopersmith studied at The Art Institute of California.

“Either the customer can pick out their own art and work directly with my artist to find something that would be fitting, doable and interesting,” Silverstein said.  “Or, if the customer doesn’t have an idea of what art to use, than they can leave it up to the artist’s discretion to put whatever he wants on the board.”

One of Silverstein's custom-designed longboards. Photo Credit: Breanne Racano / Staff Writer

Silverstein works on each board for two to four weeks with about 20 hours of work going into each board.

Silverstein’s interest in people and religion brought him to study anthropology at CSUN. Currently busy juggling school, work and an internship, he said he looks forward to having more time to work on longboards.