Kevin McCoubrey has been collecting skateboards for about 20 years. His interest started with names like Chocolate and GIRL, and in the early days when chatrooms and skate forums were the only place to geek out over skate culture, he adopted the fitting handle "girlcollector."
Early in my conversation with McCoubrey, he mentions Tony Larson's "Modern Furniture" collection for GIRL as one of his all-time favorites, and it's a set that he's still striving to fully complete. Kevin's collection also contains a healthy dose of Evan Hecox and Andy Jenkins-designed pieces.
Before long, his total accumulation of skate decks had grown to about 600 strong, and Kevin (naturally) concluded that space was becoming a bit of an issue. Cue the birth of Girl Collector in 2015, an online resource for skaters and collectors where McCoubrey is currently selling items from OG and new-era skate brands alike.
Whether you're a fan of contemporary skate imprints like Call Me 917 and Palace Skateboards, or more established marques like Alien Workshop and Santa Cruz, Kevin's collection spans years of skate history, even boasting Supreme's collaborations with Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.
Check out our full discussion below.
What type of forums and chatrooms did you used to frequent?
I lurked on Skull and Bones forum for years, as well as a few Facebook collector groups. Years ago before deck collecting blew up, there was a smaller community of collectors that helped each other find boards they were looking for, and trading was pretty common. There has been a huge influx of collectors and resellers in the last few years, and they’ve really affected the market.
At what point did you consciously start collecting skate decks? Do remember some of your first acquisitions?
I worked at a skate shop in my hometown from 1995-2005. That’s kind of where it started. It wasn’t a conscious decision to start collecting at first, but after a few brand reps hooked me up with a board here, a boards there, or an autographed deck, they just started to pile up. I've worked at Supra Distribution now for the last 11 years and I'm the Sales Director for GIRL, Palace Skateboards, Fucking Awesome, Hockey, Deluxe, HUF, Lakai and Thrasher.
Do you have an all-time favorite deck? What is your criteria for collecting?
GIRL and Chocolate decks have always been my passion. Any Andy Jenkins, Tony Larson, or Evan Hecox art really stokes me out. That being said, I'm a fan of so many brands and artists I could never pick one favorite. The only criteria for me is that I genuinely like the company, artist or rider.
Are there any decks that you want, but have not yet found?
I have been missing a couple boards from the GIRL "Modern Furniture" series for quite some time. Tony Larson did the artwork and each deck features a classic mid-century modern chair. I have also been an avid collector of MCM furniture for many years, which is why I'm so attracted to that series.
What is your most valuable skate deck? Whats the most you’ve ever sold a deck for?
I've sold certain decks for a pretty penny, but some of my most valuable decks aren't worth that much money. The value to me is the nostalgia factor, bringing back memories of skating a certain board back in the day, or because it was a gift from a friend or loved one. Different boards mean different things, and to me that’s beautiful. I'm stoked on the community, and the fact that I have the chance to help other people find the deck they’ve been hunting for.
Which publications or online resources do you think are most important for skate culture today?
Thrasher is the bible. There are also lots of other great regional and and smaller DIY zines out there.
Do you have any thoughts on the fetishisation of Thrasher and other skate brands in fashion at the moment?
Skate brands are cool, and it’s nice to see that bleed into fashion and popular culture. Thrasher is the most important skateboarding resource, the magazine speaks to all skaters, and whether a person is a fan of skating, or just likes the logo, it’s all good. As for kids lining up for Supreme and Palace for drops, that’s cool too, those brands contribute to skating on so many levels – they make boards, support hard-goods brands, hook up team riders, and do their thing to contribute.
Lastly, how do you think skate culture today is different from when you started collecting?
The culture today is very different. In the past, no one would ever consider collecting a board instead of skating it. I know personally, back in the day when I needed a board I would skate anything I could get. There was no way I had enough extra cash to keep boards around my place just to hang on the wall. I think that’s a huge reason why a lot of the decks from the '80s and '90s have become so sought-after. Now people have realized that these boards have value, so collectors are popping up all over the place. It’s crazy to see people flipping current re-issue graphic decks from brands for way over retail.
Now enjoy this sonic journey through 25 of the biggest skateboarding anthems.