Welcome to another week of Comacan questions! This interview has been in the works for a while, and we are just as stoked as ever to share it. As seen in many of our interviews skateboarding in itself is a community that knows no bounds. Skateboarding continues to push the boundaries of what is physically possible, it continues to evolve into a community of inspiration, support and passion and in this day and age it is also a universal language to skateboarders all over the world. No matter where skateboarding is taking place, skateboarders all over the world share can share their passion with fellow skateboarders online. Not only does our guest today interact with skateboarders worldwide but he has also established such a special connection between Canadian skateboard brands and Japan. We are very proud to share an interview this week with Freedom Distribution.
What inspired you to start a distribution company?
Well, where do I start. Many moons ago I worked at S&J sales distribution east. One day I mentioned to Jason (the J of S&J) that I would like to have my own skate shop someday. He replied “good idea if you want to eat craft dinner every day. You’re better off opening a distribution, you can make more money”. That has always stuck in my mind.
I moved to Vancouver in 2001 and started working at The Boardroom in North Vancouver. I was the skate buyer and team manager for both the N.V and 4th Ave. shops. Did that for a few years (great times) then moved over to the company’s distribution side, H.O. Sports as the warehouse manager. I moved to Japan in 2010. From S&J to The Boardroom and H.O. Sports I have about 15 years’ experience in the skateboard industry. Over the years I met a lot of people and made some good friends. There is still a hand full of them that still work in the skateboard industry.
Why did you choose the name freedom distribution?
The name Freedom originates from a pop-up skate shop that I run. In the beginning I sold product out of my car at Yoshinodani skatepark. It’s located in the mountain side, beautiful area and rad locals. The ZQ crew are killing it and doing some DIY concrete stuff over there. Lately I’ve been running my pop-up at my buddy’s indoor park, Akaken Park. I help him with skate lessons and set up my shop. Always good times.
Where are you based out of?
I’m based out of Kanazawa city, Ishikawa prefecture (prefecture is the same as a province) Japan. My wife’s hometown.
What brands do you carry?
I carry Pylon and Smartr Device skateboards for decks. Burly caps for knee pad re-caps. Vulcan hardware and that includes Vulcan tools, grip and bearings. Mike’s rizers and railz. Thudlife apparel and Wiener Dog skateboards wheels. There are more brands that have contacted me and want me to carry them, but I’m strapped for cash at the moment. As I grow, I’m going to add more brands to my distribution, Comacan skateboards included!
What inspired you to carry Canadian brands?
It started with a text to Pylon skateboards. I had been thinking about starting a distribution for a while. I noticed Pylon on Instagram and dropped them a line to ask if they wanted to be distributed in Japan. Paul Higgins at Pylon said it sounded rad but contact their sales rep, Ben Couves. I was floored when heard his name. I’ve known Ben for a long time. We first met when we were teenagers and skated Frozen Waves skatepark in Edmonton. Later in Vancouver we would run into each other at different skateboard events and what not. Felt like it was meant to be, fate kind of stuff. lol
From there I just wanted to have brands from Canada because it feels right and that’s where my hearts at. I may bring in brands from other countries at some point but for now its ALL Canadian!
What is your favorite part about what you do?
I really like being connected to the skateboard industry again after being out of it since I moved to Japan. But my favorite thing and this is more connected to my shop at the moment; I love the feeling I get when I help someone out and they’re stoked on what they just got! Giving the guys that I have on the Freedom shop team stuff for cost, stoking them out and they get fired up to skate, that’s the shit right there!
Do you have a website?
No, not right now but I definitely want to get one. I’ve been looking into it.
What does skateboarding mean to you?
Freedom, fun times with friends and the feeling when a good session goes down! Skateboarding means everything to me. Looking at the world from a skater’s perspective is the shit! You can’t just turn that off, can’t imagine it any other way!
Anyone you’d like to thank?
First of all, I’d like to thank all the people behind the brands that I carry. Ben Couves, Paul Higgins and Alex Chalmers at Pylon. Dave Brown at Smartr Device. Dennis Regan at Vulcan hardware. Ryan Hamilton, Matt Howell and Trevor Moncaster at Thudlife apparel. Greg Baller at Burly caps. Brain and Mike Cunningham at Mike’s Rizers and Railz. Mitch Peterson at Wiener Dog skateboards.
A huge thank you goes to all the shops that carry my product in Japan!! FABRIC, CAKE SKATE, SUNZUI, LINK UP, GOLDEN AGE, AMACMA and AKAKEN PARK. This is just the start and I have many more people to meet and get on board with Freedom distribution!!
Thank you Will at Comacan!
THANK YOU SKATEBOARDING!!!