Badminton and Puke – The Story of Seek Skateboards


This time on the Rad Rat Video, we
figure out what happened to Seek Skateboards. Let’s get started. Welcome to Rad Rat Video! Here on the channel, you can learn all kinds of stuff about
skateboarding three times a week. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we talk
about trick histories, game reviews; we talk about your favorite old pros, we
learn tricks on the shred school, and we also learn about some old companies on
this new series. I haven’t named it yet in real time, but there’s the name right
there that I came up with. This series is going to be about looking back at
companies that have died out, and talking about what happened to them and
remembering how cool or how uncool they were, and this is the inaugural episode
of that where we’re talking about Seek. So Seek Skateboards started in 2002, and
it was started by Rob Dyrdek and Josh Kalis. So what happened was, there was
the main team at Alien Workshop, and they had split off into Habitat already. Maybe
I’ll talk about them some other time, but then Heath Kirchart and Steve Berra had
joined at Workshop, it was starting to get really big. They were worried that there
were too many pros, and people were going to be overlooked, or that there wasn’t a
solid direction for the company with so many different kind of skaters on it, so
what they wanted to do was branch off and start Seek as a third company in
this whole family of skateboard brands. And the idea behind that has a lot of
benefits. So for example, if they – all three companies were one giant team, they
put out a 3-hour skate video every few years. But if it’s three separate teams,
they all have separate videos that come out at a more regular time period. They
also have the ability to market to different crowds, so maybe this brand is
more kid friendly with the graphics and the way that they do all their ads and
stuff, maybe this one is more artistic, maybe this one is more inspired by this
or that. They have just different opportunities to market to different
directions, and that would be one big benefit as well. But what was the point
of Seek? Where did that fit in? There’s actually a couple of different answers,
and it kind of foreshadows what eventually goes wrong.
So I’m going to read a couple of quotes for you. First this one from Rob Dyrdek,
and he says, “I consider it the dope section of the Alien Workshop sect. Me
and Kalis are a little more extended than everyone else on the sect, a little
more hip-hop influenced.” Not sure what he means by “extended,” but his point is Seek
is the hip-hop version of Alien Workshop, but no one else seems to agree with him
because Josh Kalis, the co-founder, he has a different story.
He says, “Seek happened because we wanted to do a world company, where it was like
writers on the team, but it wasn’t like, ‘He rides for the Euro team.'” So in other
words, it wasn’t the international team for Alien Workshop, it was a brand that
happened to be international from the ground up. So was it international? Was it
to be the hip-hop version of the brand? Actually there is a third quote I want to read
for you, and this is from Chris Carter, who is the owner of DNA distribution. He
says, “It’s hard to pigeonhole Seek into one thing. They don’t want it to look
like Alien Workshop or Habitat, but certainly their direction is being
influenced by Alien Workshop, which is a good thing.” So it’s very unclear what the
direction was from the start and that can be a real problem. So they didn’t
have a solid idea of what their branding was going to be, they didn’t have a
certain market that they were going for. Was this supposed to be, you know,
European and all this kind of stuff or was it American, hip-hop type of stuff?
They weren’t sure which direction they were going to go, and one of the big
problems with having three different brands, especially if they don’t have
obvious directions to them, is having to do all these different ads. Do all the
different graphics. Have them all have their own look and feel. But when you
don’t have a solid direction for that, that can be really tough. So Dyrdek was
talking about it being hip-hop influenced and everything, but I try to
figure out exactly in what way that was true. And one thing that their boards
were known for was having like a metallic silver rim around it. And it had a
lot of metallic types of graphics and things like that, which were cool. I don’t
know if that’s necessarily hip-hop inspired, but look at some of these
graphics. So they were really into badminton and
puke, which is really weird to me. I mean, they’re well done and they look kind of
cool, but how does that fit either international or hip-hop? I’m not really
sure. Also their graphic design in general was a little bit weak. So I have
an ad that they made right here, and I use this to try to figure out who was on
their team at the time. But you can barely even read this. So let’s look at
it. “The Seek Seven. Rob Dyrdek, Mike… Josh?” Wait. “Mike Josh.” No. “Mike Taylor.” Okay, “Josh,
Josh, Kalis, Colin McKay, Flo… Alex?” Like, it’s a mess. It’s really hard to
tell exactly what they’re trying to go for here. It doesn’t have a solid direction.
I like their logo, but aside from that they had a lot of issues with their
branding and things like that. But let’s talk about the name at least. So where
does Seek come from? There’s a really confusing Dyrdek quote about that as
well, but I think what the point was that it was more about seeking the
truth. So related to the Alien Workshop. So you’re trying to seek the truth about
aliens or you’re trying to seek out life on other planets. Something like that.
Just kind of a feel that would kind of go with it without being too similar, and
I think that’s pretty cool and I do like the name, but it is a little bit generic
too. But what about the team? You had Rob Dyrdek, Josh Kalis, Mike Taylor and Colin
McKay. Those are the big names that you would probably know, but there were a few
more that I want to introduce you to in case you haven’t heard of them.
First is Alex Carlino. So he is from Brazil, and he had this really clean
style. I’ll show you some footage of him right here.
There’s not that much footage of them out there that I’ve been able to see, but
he did have a few video parts. The second guy is Florentine Marfaing, who’s French, and he has some really sick footage out there.
He actually turned him pro, which you can see in this ad right here, that he did
have a pro model. Last upis Greg Myers, who was a kid at the time. He was
from California, he was on DC with Dyrdek Kalis and McKay, so they just kind of
brought him along, it seems like. They also picked up
Bjorn Johnston along the way as an am from New Zealand, but they picked him up
pretty soon before they closed, unfortunately for him. So they had a
really solid team put together, but they weren’t really taking off. They weren’t
really getting the market share that they were hoping for, there are a lot of
quotes about how they weren’t a household name yet, but they’re going to
get there. I have a quote from Rob Dyrdek right here, he said “Seek is headed
straight to the top. It’s taken a year to really define itself and become its own
entity. Now it’s just a matter of when we put out our video. It’ll really add the
true definition of being a top brand from DNA distribution.” So since they
were kind of failing to get a lot of market share at the beginning there, they
were about to put out a video, and at the time especially, that was a great way to
really build up your fan base and get things going in that kind of way. And if
you look back on their site on the wayback machine, you’ll see March 2004,
they were talking about the video called “As Is,” which is going to come out soon.
They just returned from a filming trip in Barcelona, but unfortunately, before
that ever came out, Seek closed down in early 2005. Talking about what happened
then Josh Kalis said, “They just deaded it overnight. They wouldn’t bring Flo and
Alex back on board with us, which was another thing that pissed me off, and
they just wouldn’t do anything. They were just like, ‘no we’re over it.’ We were like,
‘hey, well wait till the video comes out,’ and see what happens, and they just deaded
it.” So you think that the plus side of having this whole family of DNA
distribution with their three different brands is that everyone would have a
place, even if they had to close on one brand. That doesn’t mean that they have
to let go of all the skaters, and all that. But it doesn’t really seem like
that’s what happened. Josh Kalis, Rob Dyrdek and Mike Taylor
all made their way back to Alien Workshop,
like you might expect. Colin McKay actually hooked up with Danny Way
and they started Plan B around that time, a little bit after. So at the time, there
was a rumor that they had done that before Seek closed, and that’s what caused
Seek to close. That doesn’t seem to be the case, but there’s another rumor that
said that hearing about that rumor is what made them branch off in
the first place.” It’s kind of a murky story. Maybe I’ll be
able to dig into that a little bit more when I talk about Plan B in the future.
So Carolina got shuffled away on to Habitat international team, and Bjorn was
on the Alien international team, and Myers was on flow for Mystery or
something I guess. What about Flo Marfaing, the guy that they just turned pro?
What happened to him? It kind of seems like they wanted to just shuffle him off
under the Alien Workshop international team, and that kind of sucks because he
was pro for an international skateboard brand based in the US. And the next thing
you know, they just want to flow him boards and maybe go visit him on tour
every now and then. Huge step down, and it really sucks that he ended up in
that position. Luckily he ended up on Santa Cruz instead, but one thing that’s
interesting is that he talked about moving to the US for Santa Cruz, and they
said ‘no, why don’t you just stay there and you’ll be our connection to that
area?’ And so it makes me think that he would have been willing to move to the
US most likely, but he wasn’t given that opportunity. I don’t know exactly
how it went down, but it kind of seems like they screwed him over. But why did
Seek shut down? So you hear about brands shutting done all the time. Usually it’s bad
sales, sometimes the distributor goes out of business themselves, stuff like that.
And maybe bad sales were part of it, but the actual reason that I found was
actually really weird. Something I never heard of before. So let me just quote
Josh Kalis. “The story I got told was that there weren’t enough graphics
people, and they weren’t able to spend enough time on the company, so they just
deaded it.” Wow. So like I mentioned in the beginning, having three separate brands
can be a real problem, especially when you don’t have clear direction on what
they’re all supposed to do. But you could fix that. You could hire some more
designers, or you could shut down the whole company ,and it looks like they
went for the shutting down the company route, which is pretty crazy.
Especially because Kalis said that everyone was caught off guard, and they
had no idea, which is a little bit weird to me because I was going through the
Seek-Skateboards.com archives, and they hadn’t posted anything since
August 2004, then they went out of business, I think the official
announcement was in April 2005, so it was quite a bit of time there, with what seemed
like nothing was going on with the company. Maybe in retrospect it was
obvious there were problems, but in the moment it seemed like it just kind of
happened. So it really sucks that that’s how it worked out, and there are also
rumors that because Seek shut down, that put DNA distribution in general in a lot
of debt because they overextended themselves to make this international
brand and that eventually led to them being bought out by Burton in 2008. I’m
not sure how true any of that is. It’s not like this knowledge is public, and I
can look it up, but there are rumors that that was the case. And then later after
Burton had him for a couple years, Rob Dyrdek bought DNA back in 2012. Seems
like things kind of went bad. They were out of business for a little while, they
had a big farewell party and all this kind of stuff. But then they came back
for a little while and now Rob Dyrdek’s not involved at all anymore.
Maybe I’ll get into Alien Workshop proper a little bit more in the future,
but don’t expect to see Seek coming back anytime soon. So that is the story of
Seek. Let me know what other defunct brands you want to hear more about below.
but until next time, here are some more videos you may want to check out. Don’t
forget to subscribe so you can learn more about skateboarding 3 times a week,
every Monday Wednesday and Friday. And thank you for watching.

100 thoughts on “Badminton and Puke – The Story of Seek Skateboards

  1. I love how your upload time is perfectly aligned with when I get home from work. I watch your videos while I eat my dinner. keep em coming.

  2. Hey rad rat you should do one on Darkstar, I mean they have Darkstar boards at walmart for crying out loud, always wondered what was going on with them.

  3. I remember Greg Myers from the DC video, although his part was brief I always thought he was so cool. So I googled him and it seems like his life as gone downhill getting arrested etc. Do you know any other skaters like that Rad Rat? Love your videos

  4. Whenever I seen a SEEK deck at the local skate shop I thinly it was just another Alien Workshop board. Not an entirely different brand.

  5. Iv heard of alot of companies (I even remember Mike V's very very very short lived company By The Sword skateboards)
    but for some reason I never heard of Seek.

  6. Don't forget Reflex bearings was also under DNA Distributions. Pretty dope bearings and a pretty dope team too.https://goo.gl/images/WuG7dn

  7. I really enjoy this series. I find it very interesting to hear how a company came to be and how it eventually went out of business. Btw, the last amateur that you mentioned that joined Seek before they closed, Bjorn Johnston, is now pro for Element Australia. I thought I'd mention it since you said it was unfortunate that he was on the team for a short time.

  8. The trucks cover up the art of the roadside of a deck, so why don't companies print road side graphics keeping the trucks inmind and create blank spots?
    I hate my graphics getting covered, it's like putting a sticker over the Mona Lisa's smile (smh)

  9. Hey! I'm wondering if there's a way to accurately find skateboard ads that were featured in magazines. I feel like it's too bad that the apparent only way to see them is to collect all magazines that ever existed.

  10. I'm gonna start my own skateboard distribution company and relaunch Seek, then I'll launch my side company Hide.

  11. Hey radrat, I know it's a 2015/2016 brand, but do you know anything about Sometimes Skateboards? I only knew about them because they turned Jason Park pro, but I don't even think a year passed and I went to their site and it's basically nothing now…

  12. I was around when Seek first popped onto the scene, and saw it go from over-advertised to over-looked to non existent(quickly if my memory serves me right)
    I remember automatically seeing it as a massive effort to double Alien Workshop profit.
    I was pretty young but with the shinny eye catching foil graphics and no real identity to the brand, it just seemed like a very labored effort in all manners.

  13. I'd like a AWS video. They were def my favorite board company when I skated. I remember SEEK coming out and then being gone but from what I remember is it was almost exactly the same as AWS graphic wise so I can see why they shut it down and why their was so much confusion.

    Whatever happened to Black Label are they still around? nm just watched your black label vid

  14. Not gonna lie… this is probably my favorite skate channel. Love hearing the history, and you obviously put a ton of effort into research. It's great.

    Well, maybe it's tied with Crunchie. But downhill longboard edits are pretty dope. 😉

  15. This might be lame, but you should look at Termite boards. Do like a 'Where are they now'. I remember Austyn Gillett was on the team.

  16. really good idea for a series! would be interesting to see one about Think skateboards. They were pretty big here in Switzerland in the early 2000.

  17. Carolino was Also on Santa Cruz. Even before Flo. They released a pretty heavy video. Flo Marfaing is seriously one of the best dudes to ever step on a skateboard. He should be in everyones top 5. Check out his footage, it's all golden. As a European I have heard many insider stories on how European skaters are being screwed over left and right. Some European legends even say it's being done to not steal the spotlight from American pros. Make of that what you will.

  18. Rad Rat….id like to see Airwalk shoes…
    I remember before they blew up, Payless shoes used to sell them…
    Once they blew up you couldn't find them in stores anymore,

  19. You should talk about Bodega Skateboards. It’s a company from New York that has recently been making a come back in the Long Island area

  20. totally agree with what you said at 1:25. another great example of that would be sole tech. Owning Etnies, Es, and Emerica in the same house allowed them to market more specifically to their audiences. Es shoes with a more tech design, Emerica shoes with a more hesh/raw vibe, and etnies which was more open ended and with a lot of varying designs for different people.

  21. That ad you showed has the coolest font and logo! I also loved the badminton and puke thing and i actually owned the one on the left of that series. I've always had Foundation and Almost boards but im quite sure i had at least 2 boards from Seek… Im trying to remember which one ( i might still have them, half destroyed bc i just cant throw boards in the trash )

  22. Cool video series. I’d like to see you do 60/40 and American Dream Inc. 2 of my favorite brands from the 90s. Keep the videos coming.

  23. Seek did have some dope graphics. Well maybe just one series.. http://artofskateboarding.com/pg/Deck_Pics/seek_RobDyrdek_Horizen2002.jpg

  24. Just thought I'd chime in about the quotes about seek.

    Both Josh and Rob are saying the same thing.

    I'm a ledge skater and a graffiti writer (though I play grindcore primarily) I remember that back in the day dudes were calling alien videos euro trash style Mostly because of the music and the artistic vision portrayed in the tapes. Raver type of stuff.

    If you were a ledge gangster like me that was very bad to hear. In hindsight we look at alien as a hip hop cross over because we know the riders better now.
    Seek was supposed to be a nod to world industries in the hay days before flame boy wet wily etc

    Hope you can read this I'm prison educated

    Like your videos

    Keep skating

  25. I had one back in the day. I was obsessed with this brand. They had the coolest graphics. They had the coolest platinum graphics

  26. You should have mentioned Stevie Williams! He was supposed to quit Chocolate to ride for Seek but backed out at the last minute to start DGK. I think Colin McKay talked about it in an interview once, and Stevie definitely talked about it in a Transworld interview. That would have been crazy!

  27. Around 08:30, you say that they started Plab B around this time. Not sure if you just misspoke, but Plan B was founded in 1991. I used to ride Plan B boards in the 90's.

  28. Hey Rad Rat,

    If I remember correctly, Seek was also doing something a little different and had fiber-glass boards available. I had a Seek deck in like 03 or 04 or something and remember trying to get one of their fiber glass decks, but they were sold out. I opted to get a normal wood one.

  29. Very good show and presanter! You should make a episode dedicated to Lenny Kirk, one of the most interesting and crazy stories in skateboarding .

  30. Please do something on Alienworkshop I grew up rite by the DNA distribution building here in Dayton Ohio. It was just a big warehouse they had a mini ramp inside. The public didn't really get to go in. But one year they released all these flyers into our Platt it was a big warehouse clothing and merch sale. I'm guessing slight blemished stuff they had accumulated . I got so geared up t shirts, jackets, hats ,coats, flannel pants.all super cheap. My mom couldn't afford all this stuff new for me so I talked her into taking me think she spent 100 bucks and I got a few trash bags full of goodies. And all my stuff appeared perfect. Also Dna had Reflex bearings for awhile.

  31. Hey Rad Rat, I was wondering if you can do a breakdown of Black Label. They were one of my favorite board companies in the early 2000's. My friends and I had the Label Kills VHS on repeat back in the day. I got back into skating a few years ago and they dont seem to be around anymore. Thanks for the great content man.

  32. "there's not much footage out there that I can see" followed up with "but he did have a few video parts"

    😂

  33. All these companies shut down because you get pro skaters who now think they are businessmen and end up getting somewhat popular on their name alone. But seeing as how they are skaters not business people, the companies go belly up quickly.

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