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Brothers Dan and Matt Quinn, along with their older siblings and parents, grew up on a 44-acre farm inland on Australia's Gold Coast. All Dan wanted for his 15th birthday was a chainsaw motor that he planned to build his very own motorized skateboard with. “I had convinced everyone that’s what I wanted- the most powerful power-to-weight ratio of all the chainsaws, plus it also had a centrifugal clutch, which basically engages when you rev it up. What this allows you to do is roll along when the engine is not revving."
“I had bought an MBS mountainboard prior for about $800. Mountainboards were developed for snowboarding runs in the Summer months-basically an all-terrain skateboard. My plan was to mount the chainsaw engine on the back of a normal skateboard and bolt it onto the mountainboard so it acted like a swing arm. The weight of the motor would sit on the swing arm and keep the weight on the drive wheel to keep it on course and stop it from popping around. When we started assembling it we even took it a little further and put a spring on it to give it more downward force.”
While the boys were living on the farm, over in California in 1993, a man by the name of Louis Finkle invented the first electric skateboard. Finkle patented his design and drive system along with the concept of a wireless hand remote, despite the fact they did not exist at that stage. It would take another seven years before the boards would make their way into production. As far as Dan and Matt Quinn knew at the time, only a two-stroke motor could deliver the power you needed to drive a skateboard. It wasn't until around 2004/05 that they saw motors powered by batteries that had enough torque and efficiency. Danno got a few of Louis’ boards and was having all sorts of dramas with them…Dan adds, “I had skateboards everywhere I had pulled apart. At this stage Finkle was having so many dramas with them he couldn't sell them. He got out of it and sold the business along with the US patent to another guy in The States.
Finkle had only ever developed electric street boards. We went back to our original plans to make an off-road board to house the size of motor we wanted. We started selling the boards to family and friends and in around 2009/10 we got a little more serious. Matt returned to California recently with a close friend of Dan’s from school, Aaron. They met with Louis and he was so impressed with where the boys had taken his original design and the development work they had undertaken that he gave them the very first prototype he ever built.
There was over 10 years experimenting with motorized gas powered skateboards before another 10 years of experimentation with electric skateboards, but all through this time both Dan and Matt continually pursued improvement in their boards. As you can gather from what they have already done in their lives at such a young age, the Quinn boys never stop coming up with new ideas. As for what will be next? F.i.i.K. I guess we will learn in time. Like the acronym for their business: Future Is In Knowledge.
From Smorgasboarder 15 - the Surf Art Edition