We had an awesome chat with Bodhi Keen the owner and operator of Slide Perfect, based in UK. Bodhi is a veteran skater in the UK scene and has put in a lot of work to help it thrive in this current economy. He put the sweat and blood in building Slide Perfect, so check out their new 2019 line up and support the boys.
How long have you been skating and what first peaked your interested, how would this eventually lead to you establishing Slide Perfect?
I started with a Powell cruiser by dad brought me back in the mid-’00s. I use to luge on it around my local village for several years before realised i could stand up and ride down the same hills. Probably around 2010 I got a Landyachtz Evo at the age of 14. It was the same height as me and I had no idea how to slow down on it. This was 4 years before I made the first set of wheels which came about as a stupid idea pitched to me by a friend of mine. We ended up splitting the cost and making it happen, it was funded from working in a pub and all the marketing, website, media and so on were all done by myself. Several years later I paid him back his share and have carried it on.
Why did you pick the name Slide Perfect?
Honestly, I can’t remember! It was such a long time ago and it was literally plucked out of the air.
What were some of the biggest challenges of starting Slide Perfect?
Going against the norm, with Cult wheel having a huge market share in the UK, it was a stupid idea to try and make something to compete with this.
After establishing Slide Perfect a staple of the UK longboarding scene, have you guys faced many challenges with current downward trend of downhill and freeride popularity?
There has been a huge downturn in skating and sales over the last few years. Back when I started it would be a lot easier to promote and get people riding them as there were less choice and more skaters. Although saying this freestyle seems to be doing the best which is why the latest line I’ve put more of a focus on this.
Who helps you run Slide Perfect?
The day to day backend stuff is just run by myself, I got a great team around me that has helped me out along the way. Back a few years I had it in a distro who helped ship and promote them but after a couple of years of this it wasn’t the right way to run things and I moved away from it.
With 2019 we saw a whole refresh of the lineup, what made you want to redo the entire lineup?
So, I started from scratch, there was nothing wrong with the old wheels but with the distro agreement fall apart they ditched the stock I had with them at a really cheap rate basically trying to ruin the brand. So I had no choice but to start over. This trying to make a race wheel and some other ideas I had it seemed a good time to re-create everything. One day I would love to bring back the old wheels but while they are on Amazon for stupidly cheap I can’t afford to make them and sell them anymore.
What is your favorite wheel in the line and why? What is your current setup?
I love the Supremacys and have them on a freeride setup all the time with me BUT that said I have a set of Momentums that I have probably skated on more roads than any other wheels have ever skated. They have last since 2015 Kozakov and are still going now. They have skated every major Euro event and been too most countries. They have survived 4+ weeks of Tenerife and the highest roads in Europe. Along with being the only set I raced on for all of the 2016 BDSL seasons.
Amongst your team riders which wheels are the most popular?
They all love the Supremacys too but honestly, they all skate different and like different wheels. There is no stand out favourite between them all.
Slide Perfect has been one of the biggest supporters of the scene in the UK, how do you think the community can continue to the grow the scene?
The last boom had a big chunk of younger skaters start all over the country. In the last few years, this hasn’t happened, we have a older scene overall and only people who have been around for a few years really left in it. We need to engage the younger kids and get some more groms skating again.
Obviously a brands team needs to keep the community hyped, which team riders for Slide Perfect should we keep our eyes on?
Always Finbarr, not just for his skating but just in general. We as a team may not win the event but we sure as hell will win the party. You, of course, can’t ever miss Big Ben out as a honorable mention.
We have a few up and coming skaters on our team such a Jamie Griffiths and some shredder flow team that have been really impressive lately.
You currently have a pretty large support in the UK and other parts of Europe, do you guys have any plans to push Slide Perfect more into the US or Asian scene?
With the current longboard climate, I’m not sure if this is possible. I’ve had a few stores stock in the US in the past but currently, the latest bunch of wheels I’ve had to do direct sales only due to how weak the pound is from Brexit. One day I’d like to think I’ll get back there in a big way.
Anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
Just like to say a huge thanks to anyone who has brought a set of SP wheels over the last 5 years and supported this, all stupid ideas start somewhere! *Shameless plug* If you got a chance to check out my latest project called Street Sledge. It’s looking to take street luging to a younger generation and bring them into gravity sports. If it goes to plan it could really give this scene the boast it needs.