Legendary skateboard brand Santa Monica Airlines has reissued former pro skateboarder Jim Thiebaud's classic "Villain" deck through distributor NHS.
Today's skate rats know Thiebaud as the co-founder of Real Skateboards and the brains behind Deluxe Distribution, the ins-and-outs of which he shares with his nearly 13,000 followers on Twitter. But it's Thiebaud's illustrious history on his board that is being celebrated in the re-release of his first pro model for SMA.
Thiebaud left Powell/Peralta as an amateur to join pioneering street skater Natas Kaupas, in the upstart company Santa Monica Airlines.
"The first graphic is a huge thing in life, so without a doubt my first graphic is one of my favorite graphics of all times and especially because Natas drew it and showed it to me outside of the Powell premiere when I knew I was going to quit [Powell/Peralta]," Thiebaud remembers.
Thiebaud's exit from the Powell team in 1989 isn't the only historic skate controversy that surrounds the "Villain" graphic. A self professed comic book fiend, Thiebaud's first pro board was initially released as "The Joker," but a cease and desist forced SMA to revamp the graphic and reintroduce the deck as the "Villain."
Born out of Skip Engblom's surf shop in Santa Monica, Calif., Santa Monica Airlines is widely regarded as one of the brands that helped define modern skateboarding. Thiebaud acknowledged the impact of his time spent under their banner.
"I'm forever grateful to Natas and Skip for giving me the opportunity to ride for SMA." Thiebaud said. "SMA is a company with incredible roots in skateboarding and it was incredibly eventful to be a part of them and Natas threw me the lifeline and asked me to ride for them."
Part of what's kept Thiebaud so engaged in skateboarding is his determination to be proactive in providing assistance to skaters and causes that are close to his heart. In keeping with his DIY ethos, Thiebaud's royalties from the reissued of the "Villain" deck and T-shirts will be going to the Johnny Kicks Cancer foundation, launched by the Romano family after loosing their son Johnny to cancer in 2008.
Thiebaud, who's boisterous on Twitter but often holds his cards close to his chest in person, said, "I'm thankful that anyone wants anything with my name on it and if it can be a part of raising money for Johnny Kicks Cancer, then it's a good thing.
To cop a piece of skateboard history, collectors are going to have to wait until May. The SMA "Villain" graphic, on natural wood, is limited to an edition of 500 skateboards.