Wigga Skateboards is a longboard manufacturer based out of La Gaude in the southeast of France. Situated at the base of the French Alps, the town is located near some of the greatest destinations for gravity sports in the world. The company was established in 2013 but its founders were born and raised skating the area. With origins like theirs, they’ve developed some truly epic skill as downhill longboarders but even more impressive is their craftsmanship.
At Wigga their skills harmonize to make epic, futuristic skate machines. We caught up with Florent from the Wiggateam to learn more about Wigga and the Mini Zoulette Pro.
The Mini Zoulette Pro is their most recent release but it’s been in the design and prototype phase for more than three years. It’s comprised of a fairly unique composite – Bamboo core with Cork inserts and a Carbon outer. While we’ve seen Cork used as top or bottom veneers before, Wigga’s implementation is unique in that it is designed to dampen the ride.
The shape is based loosely on one of their previous decks, the La Zoulette Virile, but features a more narrow profile. It encompasses some of the latest trends in race-oriented downhill decks: short and skinny. Wigga’s attention to detail is apparent in the finished product – an ideal speed machine and its hot af.
There are two size options: S or M. While they are pretty similar in both weight and length, the primary difference is their width.
|S||32.8″ (83cm)||8.6″ (22cm)||21 – 23.5″ (55 – 60cm)||~ 3.3Lbs (1.5Kg)|
|M||33″ (84.5cm)||9.2″ (23.5cm)||21 – 24.5″ (55 – 62cm)||~ 3.3Lbs (1.5Kg)|
- Asymmetrical shape
- WIGGAplugs compatibility (more below)
- 360°, 3-stage progressive concave (Remember the Shotgun?)
What’s a WIGGAplug? Adhesive-backed geometric blocks. Apply them to the standing platform and then grip over top to customize the concave for that locked in feeling. We’re pretty interested in these – look for a review in the future. See the video at the bottom for an example of their use.
We reached out to Wigga for more information on the company, the Mini Zoulette Pro and what’s in store for 2019. Read below for Florent’s answers:
For those who aren’t familiar, what’s Wigga’s origin story? What’re you guys all about?
First of all it’s not a real company, it’s a huge misunderstanding that became a sort of collective democratic dictature of skate friends from the south of the French alps (AKA the best place in the world for downhill) and we sell skateboards sometimes.
I didn’t want to make boards, these “friends” (especially @remy_amsalem) made me do it against my will and now I’m stuck with thousands of orders while the rest of the team is riding for free. Now that we’re here we just try to make futuristic downhill, dancing and urban boards when we’re not skating or smoking pizzas.
And about the name, we found it under a stone. That stone was in the mountains, next to a tree. The tree was riding a paddle board like a *****. That’s all I’m allowed to say, sorry.
What was the inspiration for the deck?
La Mini Zoulette Pro is the race oriented version of the freeride board we released 3 years ago: La Zoulette Virile. This deck has pretty much the same bullet shape with the two pockets in the concave and that aggressive pointy nose but, of course, much wider than the Zoulette Pro as it is more freeride oriented.
So the past two seasons were trial and error to make improvements to the construction and shape. Simultaneously, we became more and more involved in the race world.
Narrow boards started to be trendy, and since we had the same conclusions about short and skinny boards for sharper turns, we knew we had to do our part in the game.
Cork, Carbon and Bamboo are a unique combo – Is someone on the team an engineer or materials scientist?
To be honest we are most of all riders, including me – the owner and shaper, meaning that nobody in here is particularly smart or organized but everyone has their strengths. We know that we can make interesting things when we combine all our brains.
Since we are all really close and ride all year long in one of the best places in the world, we always come up with a lot of crazy ideas. With my product designer background and wood/composite knowledge, I’m able to find solutions and make the prototypes, sometimes with the help of our Wiggateam mate Germain Dageville (@gdagevile) who also has experience in composites, slalom and motorsports.
Testing is just as important though – it allows us to find out if our ideas were revolutionary or just dumb. It’s also an opportunity for input from the team for new ideas.
For this particular board, we talked about a narrow board concept and Germain came up with the first prototype, then another wiggateam mate, Elton Vejux (@elton_tmk) took the lead in testing for improvements as he is really involved in the racing process, while I was releasing the other prototypes. Three years later : “boom”, Mini Zoulette Pro.
So no, there’s no REAL engineer, but a mashup of ideas from motivated and not-so-stupid people thinking together, and sometimes it works.
Why this choice of materials?
Because we love to make expensive boards for rich skaters only (funny pun).
And also because every material in the BCC construction has a good reason to be there:
- Bamboo core: eco friendly (fast growth) and strong (absorbs a lot of energy during front impacts)
- Carbon fiber: increases rigidity with minimum weight for an ultra reactive board
- Cork: natural material, it dampens most of the vibrations caused by the rigidity of carbon and rough asphalts
This particular construction allows the deck to be stiff enough to be reactive without being affected by the vibrations of the carbon thanks to the cork which spreads ’em all around the deck like a giant riser pad.
We also added rainbow shiny sparkles in order to get extra speed.
Was it a difficult combination to work with?
No it wasn’t. It only took us three years, some wasted carbon fiber and prototypes (a lot of carbon… and a half) and 246 brain fractures (just by thinking how to do this). Yes, we’re persistent people.
What are the approximate weights for each size?
As there’s not a huge difference between the two sizes, the weight is about the same: around 3.3Lbs (1.5kg). “Not that much lighter compared to other boards” you’d say… and you’re right. But unlike most people would think the main reason we used carbon fiber wasn’t its lightweight properties but its weight/stiffness RATIO.
Indeed, our experience with lighter boards showed us that when you’re skating downhill, even racing, as long as your deck is not much heavier (or the rider much lighter), weight isn’t really an issue (but a light deck can be a big one when it comes to vibrations). We also noticed that the thicker a deck is, the worse it feels under the feet.
With that in mind, we didn’t really care about the weight. Our goal was to make the most rigid and thin board possible.
Since we cut the carbon flush on the inserts in order to fix the trucks directly onto the cork (for dampening), we knew that we could have a really thin board.
Initial tests confirmed our suspicions: being closer to your trucks reduced your center of gravity and improved board feel through turns as if the thickness of the board was non-existent.
In the end the carbon allowed us to make a thinner, more stiff board compared to a regular full maple or bamboo/fiberglass.
It came to life: 32.8×8.6″ (83x22cm) at widest, 21-23.5″ (55x60cm) wheelbase and less than 1cm thick on the trucks holes – the downhill skateboarding’s GT car.
Are these available internationally?
As long as there are post services, we can ship all over the world. If you live outside Europe shipping costs can be expensive since we don’t have distributors because of our size.
We are proud that every single board is made on demand, by hand in our workshop in France with love. Making boards is more a passion than our full-time job so we make small quantities as time and money permit.
In our opinion, this is the best way to ensure quality products, customized service and quick adaptation to new trends and crazy ideas.
Unfortunately, that also means that you can’t work with distributors because you can’t get them large quantities at an affordable price so they can make money on it. That’s why we have to sell direct.
So making orders with your friends could be a smart move… And don’t forget that for each board you buy, you get not 1, or 2 but at least 3 funny stickers! Great deal my friend!
What’s in store for 2019?
We’re pretty excited about this new season because La Mini Zoulette Pro was just the tip of the iceberg. First of all there will be new graphics for our T-shirts and hoodies to start the season fresh and clean and maybe some other apparel after, we don’t know yet.
But the real deal concerns the board line-up:
- La Mini Zoulette Wood: Same geometry as the Pro version but more affordable
- The Yürk: the most versatile double kick deck we’ve ever made which will please both of the flat and the steeps lovers
- Another narrow board with neat micro drops and wheel-wells but you will have to wait and follow us on social networks (@wiggaskateboards) to get more informations about it
And there’s more magical surprises to come so stay tuned to the internet fellas.Florent – Wigga Skateboards
Wiggagang rocks. Grab a new Mini Zoulette Pro at the link and get to the bottom in a hurry.