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Meet the Entrepreneur Teaching Skaters How to Build Their Own Boards

Picture of Tara Jessop
Updated: 1 December 2017

It’s no secret that Barcelona is something of a skateboarding mecca thanks to its cool urban landscape, good weather and generally tolerant attitude towards skaters. So it’s no surprise that this is where skate-mad entrepreneur Graham Hawrysh decided to set up shop and open Barnaboards – a hands-on workshop that enables you to make your own custom-designed skateboard. 

No better board than your own

They say only a bad carpenter blames his tools but any skateboarder will to tell you: finding the right board for you is crucial. Too firm or too soft, the wrong angle or the wrong shape and your whole experience changes. So what if you could actually design your own board and make it just the way you wanted?

Well that’s precisely what Graham Hawrysh enables the participants at his Barnaboards workshop in Barcelona to do. Whether you’re an expert skater or just getting started, the workshop allows you to design and create your own board from scratch, using long-lasting materials and giving it a customised finish.

Trucks, grip and wheels

The great thing is that Barnaboards workshop is accessible to people who have no previous experience with tools or with making their own board. Graham guides participants from beginning to finish and can advise on the best design for your needs and taste. There are no more than 8 people in each workshop so everyone has the opportunity to get tailor-made advice and tips on creating their perfect skateboard or longboard.

Participants learn how to cut the skateboard plank, assemble the trucks and wheels – which will come in handy when you want to swap them out – and paints and customises the board. Plus, by having a better understanding of how the board is made, you’ll have more of an insight into how to care for it and make necessary improvements and adjustments in future.

From Cabo Verde to Barcelona

The journey began nearly five years ago when Graham was out kitesurfing in Cabo Verde. He bumped into an old friend who told him about someone in Holland who was running workshops where people could make their own skateboards. Graham immediately decided to check it out and hopped on a plane to the Netherlands to see for himself.

Convinced that this was a great project, Graham decided to set up his own workshops in Barcelona. The first of these were pretty much run out of his back yard but as the word spread and the workshops grew in popularity, so too did Barnaboards. Today the workshops take place in the Associación Cultural Old School Barcelona based in Barcelona’s multicultural El Raval neighbourhood.

This part of town is renowned for its skating community, with iconic skate spots such as the MACBA contemporary art museum located in the heart of El Raval. The Catalan capital has in fact been a skateboarding destination for some years now and some of the world’s most famous skaters have spent time on the streets of Barcelona. And Barnaboards’ popularity is testament to how the skateboarding spirit lives on in the Catalan capital.