At their first encounter, New Yorkers give Sven, President of Jelly Skateboards, a careful lookover. He looks like he stepped directly off the sand at Long Beach, even though he’s come to meet with Digital Trends at a coffee shop in New York. The looks may be because of the board shorts, but it’s more likely that people are looking at his boards. Clear skateboards are pretty rare, and he’s carrying two.
While there are a few completely see-through boards around, they’re mostly just made of junk plastic, of the kind used to make milk jugs. Jelly Skateboards on the other hand, makes its clear decks from polycarbonate, the same material used for engineering-grade bulletproof glass and fighter-jet cockpits.
Technically it really is bullet-resistant, but don’t go using your board as a shield in a gun fight; the highest caliber Jelly boards are stopping at the moment is .22. But then they’re not designed to stop bullets; they’re designed to be kickass boards that offer far more flex than the average deck. As Jelly says: the flex of a snowboard meets the flow of a surfboard, all in one mean skateboard.
And unlike wooden boards, Jelly boards are 100 percent recyclable. Wooden boards require a layer of polyurethane that makes them, in fact, impossible to recycle, while Jelly boards don’t need that layer.
As far as the texture itself goes, it has a similar feel to sealed hardwood, like a gym floor. The boards thus combine flexibility, stability, wear, and heat resistance, all in a recyclable USA-made package.
Right now, you can grab the KingSlayer, a Jelly board with a 20 degree kicktail that’s good for the park, and the Jelly Man O’ War, a mean longboard on Bear Grizzly 852 trucks. Keep the versatility in mind; flipping the hanger on the Man O’ War turns the carving truck into a downhill truck. The boards ship with Jelly Rolls center-set, square hard lip urethane wheels.
The boards aren’t even Jelly’s only offer, though they are pretty damn badass. The firm also has a license for the unique BLOCK riser system that turns your riser into a mount for different attachments. GoBLOCK and StashBLOCK kick off the modular movement, the first two BLOCKS made for the base BettyBOX riser.
BettyBOX is essentially a riser with one open side; since it’s made of a hard plastic it’s easy to snap into different connectors. The GoBLOCK, for instance, is a mount for GoPro cameras that lets you get a shot from the lowest possible angle, right under the board. Depending on where you mount it, you can catch front or rear shots. Thanks to Jelly’s clear decks you can get some really cool shots with a rear-mounted forward-facing setup, which will offer a view of your feet and the scene beyond them through Jelly’s boards.
The StashBLOCK is simple genius; it’s a small tray that slides into the BettyBOX riser, making a 1.13 cubic inch storage spot, large enough for your keys and some cash when you, for instance, are wearing board shorts without pockets. The tray itself is good for a million yanks, so you don’t have to worry about it coming out when you’re riding.
While you can get the Betty BLOCK riser for any board, you can’t really appreciate it without a clear deck, and since most clear boards are crap, skaters that put real miles on their boards are better off getting a Jelly than something that’s going to need a new kingpin and wheels in a month or so.
Ari Hoffman and Kevin Seele, owner and founder of BLOCK, respectively, point out that they have some upcoming innovations for us to look forward to, including a built-in skateboard cable lock, and Jelly will no doubt have more boards coming your way.
For now, they have a campaign up on Indiegogo seeking $50,000 for build tooling and for a production run of the BLOCKS and boards. Backing them with at least $17 gets you a StashBLOCK, a GoBLOCK, and a BettyBOX riser, while $138 gets you the BLOCKS, the riser, and a Jelly KingSlayer board. Fifty percent of the profits will go to the Life Rolls On Foundation, dedicated to helping young people who’ve suffered traumatic spinal cord injuries. They’re at 67 percent of their goal, and skaters should help the momentum stay strong. Jelly expects to deliver to backers in August and to distributors in September of this year.