122. Ramp to Rail

November 3, 2023
November 3, 2023 Will Mackie

Welcome back to another Comacan questions interview, we’re here with another special guest to kick off November. This guest, like so many of our interviews, we found over Instagram. The internet has been a great way for us to connect with other makers, brands and artists over our (almost) 7 year run so far. That’s exactly how we came across, the guests we’ve asked to join us today. We’ve followed a variety of ramp/skatepark builders over the years as the whole process obviously allows us to continue to skate indoors when it’s not dry out and it allows skateboarders to have personal setups but beyond that builders/designers are such an important part of the skateboarding community. They’ve allowed for the creation of personal ramps but have also continued to push the envelope to allow skateboarding to continue to grow. Please enjoy this week’s interview with Ramp to Rail.

Take a look at the bottom of the article to see even more of their work!

What inspired you to Start Ramp to Rail?
During the early days of homeschooling my 3 children, I struggled with the task of creating a meaningful learning environment at home. With much frustration, we adapted by structuring Math, English and Science into building a skateboard shop. One thing led to another and being a builder by profession we evolved the Skateshop into a ramp building company. The entire process was so tangible for my kids, and at the same time provided me with a creative outlet from the usual homebuilding that has been my life for so many years. The second part of the effort was to create something my boys, could grow with and be fully engaged within the skateboard culture.

Why did you choose the name Ramp to Rail?
My 2 boys ultimately came up with the name as part of the homeschooling tasks. They had several versions along with written thoughts, pros/cons and researching other brands within the pages of Thrasher, and Transworld from mid 80’s to current. We finally settled on RIIR as it proved to be something that we believe could stand the test of time without change.

Where are you based out of?
We are based here in Toronto, Canada. Who knows where we could find ourselves in the future…. That will be for my boys to figure!

Where can people view available products?
RIIR at the very beginning was on the path of being a nationwide provider for at home driveway skate features by mail order blah blah blah… We quickly realized it was not going to be enjoyable pushing and cost averaging down our product. We want to create our clients’ visions, along with our own creative ideas. This may change in the future, but for the foreseeable future, we are building only custom private sales, events set ups, and our own inspired features. To answer the question…we do have a web site ramptorail.com and IG ramp2rail, but most find us and see our stuff in the community or by referral.

What does Skateboarding mean to you?
Skateboarding has been a part of my life since 1985 and all of my kids’ lives to date. There was a period in mid 90’s when the culture changed some and I took a break as I was spending majority of time surfing and windsurfing. During my Primary, Middle and Secondary school years Skateboarding kept me safe without question. Skateboarding also provided family when I was not at home, no matter where I was, if I need to beg borrow or have a place for a night, I had a very accessible option within the culture. I’m really not sure I can imagine my life without all the experiences I have enjoyed till now and going forward had I not had Skateboarding as my foundation.

How do you get involved in the community?
When we made decision to move forward with a proper company, we also wanted to make sure we did not jump into the ring and broadcast “here we are”. We looked to the community and we asked them to gradually introduce us and provide us with opportunities to test our initial prototypes on an unrestricted municipal use. We have been actively growing with community partners supplying parks and event set ups. It is entirely through our community partners that we have been able to participate, and we are always looking forward to what it is next that we can help with. We have learned to accept that we will always have varying levels of resistance, that said, we truly make and continue to make every effort to support and recognize all those who have and contribute to the culture.

What Services do you provide?
Having shelved the idea of volume mail order sales, we are instead fully focused on providing Private Custom builds, Event Activations, Temporary Seasonal Parks for Municipalities, Private and Public Community Events Pop-Ups.

Anyone you’d like to thank?
I have so many I could list to thank, my boys, my wife…. I trust they know exactly who they are. Specifically, however, I’d like to thank my old friend Kenge Ozawa who jumped on a proper pro deck the moment he saw mine. Career paths etc. had us go separate ways but hope one day we meet again.

R2R Video