The Art of Board

Primate Longboards brings skateboarding back to its primordial past.

By Max Roberts

The backyard shed of Jackson Jones’ Mankato home is the creative center of Primate Longboards, a new skateboard company, that makes handcrafted wooden boards with original decorative designs.

As a teenager, Jones wanted to buy a longboard, but after seeing their price tags, decided to build his own. “I grew up in a family of makers and with a mentality of if you want something, you can probably build it,” says Jones. Many failed attempts later, Jones finally got the hang of board-pressing and cutting. After joining the entrepreneurship club at Minnesota State University at Mankato, he decided to combine his board-building skills with his interest in business. Jones now designs and manufactures longboards from raw materials to finished product.

Each Primate Longboard is hand-pressed, cut and designed by Jones, and more recently, with his partner, Nick Bartell. Since Primate’s inception, Jones has graduated to engineering boards with computer-cut molds, ensuring both consistency and quality.

Longboard styles vary depending on their intended use. That can range from cruisers, which are ridden like a surf board, to down hills, which are designed for high-speed racing.

The finishing touch on a Primate Longboard is the deck art. Jones says each one is “completely handcrafted using a burning pen, paint brushes and stain rags. It’s the most primitive and organic thing you could do to a board.” Boarders are offered three options: 1) the original art designs created by Jones during Primate’s inception; 2) a design from Primate’s Artwig Series, which commissions local artists to create designs. “We do this to help local artists gain the recognition they deserve;” 3) boarders can work with Jones to create a custom design to show off their personal flair.

“We are living in a world in which everything is mass produced,” says Jones. “And I think now more than ever, people are hungry for a sense of creativity and originality.”

 Jones hopes to build a company that engages and gathers communities around art and skateboarding, making Primate a household name. More at