What/who is Slappy Trucks
When the Covid pandemic started, Mike Sinclair found himself at a crossroads. Was he going to occupy his time during lockdown by learning Japanese or by starting a truck company? As we all know, he opted for the latter and began research and development for Slappy Trucks! Slappy began with the goal of creating a skateboard truck that had an uncompromised turning ability alongside unrivalled grind clearance. Over the course of the past 2 years, Mike is confident he has achieved what he set out to do.
Mike didn’t mess around when it came down to working on the designs, stating, “I went through so many different versions of hangers and baseplates, experimenting with different bushings, bushing heights, hardnesses, turning radius, kingpins, polishes, and the list goes on for over two years”. I’m not sure there is anything else he could have experimented with when it comes down to truck components, but it does prove that he really has put the time and effort into this.
Not only has Slappy released a range of truck widths starting from 8” going all the way up to 9”, but there are also three different constructions too! There is of course the ST1 Standard, consisting of a solid axle, kingpin and hanger. As strong as you can get, but with that comes a slightly heavier truck. However, if you do want a lighter alternative, there is the ST1 Hollow, which is constructed with the exact same dimensions as the Standard, just with a hollowed-out kingpin and hanger. Last but definitely not least, there is the ST1 Hollow Inverted. Same dimensions and weight as the Hollow, but with even more grind clearance due to the hollow kingpin being inverted. The premium choice with all the whistles and bells! Regardless of your preference, you will find a truck in the Slappy range that will suit you.
Lockdown sucked, but many of us found solace in investing our time into creative projects. A lot of people got really into painting, others wrote poetry and a few made rad fingerboard edits. There was at least a freedom in how some of us filled our time, and luckily for the skateboarding world, Mike Sinclair took it upon himself to try and create the perfect truck. We love nerding out over skate hardware here at Supereight, so when we heard about Slappy Trucks, we knew we had to pick the brains of the mastermind behind it. So here it is! Supereight’s interview with Team Manager extraordinaire and Slappy Trucks founder, Mike Sinclair, where we talk about himself, Slappy Trucks, being TM and much much more. Definitely worth checking this one out.
Why do you love Pugs so much?
Ah man, Pugs are the best. If you have to work all day, they are right there just chilling by your side. If you are ready to go out on a mission they are always down. They like to eat the same stuff I do. Best homies. I will always have a pug till the day I die.
Who do you work for nowadays?
Tum Yeto, Nike SB, Slappy trucks.
Ever get bored of food-based questions?
I hope not as there are a couple in this.
Skatepark of Tampa has your sponsors down as Snickers, Skatepark of Tampa Gambling Team, Chili’s, Cookout (flow). Are you Am for Cookout yet?
Haha, oh, I need to update my headshot and sponsor lists but nah, still flow for Cook Out.
Have you spent much time in the UK?
I have, it was amazing! One of the best trips I ever took. I think it was in 1999. I flew over and they asked me if I wanted to buy insurance on my money. I had 20 bucks on me so I handed them my $20 and they gave me back some coins. You learn quick when you do dumb stuff. I stayed a few weeks in Que Gardens.
Are there any snacks you crave from the UK/Europe that you can’t get in the US?
Smarties. They are like bootleg M&M’s but I love the so much more. Send as many as you can.
Recycled Rubbish part – If you could get any trick back from those days, what would you go for?
I’ll take any of em at this point.
Worst music to play in the van?
I never play the music I listen too, I just let the kids do their thing.
You mentioned in an interview a few years ago that you saw Mike V drop in to do a contest run and the DJ played Love Shack by the B-52s. He refused to skate and went again to another song. What would be your contest run song?
I couldn’t do a minute run anymore, I would pass out, so the song is my least worry.
You go way back with Kenny Hughes. What is your favourite Kenny Hughes story?
Kenny is family. We have so many good memories. I called him out in a dice game once. He was so mad he asked me to ‘step outside” I said who me? I never did and then when I went outside he wasn’t there but I waited about 4 hours… Thank god he was gone but he was my ride to the place we were at.
The next time I saw him he asked me to cover over to his car. I thought he was gonna kill me… He opened up the door and showed me his steering wheel.
I was like, “why is your shit all bent up”?
He just said, “oh really, you gonna ask me why?”
I was confused.
He said, “sketchy ass roll”, I was so mad when you said that to me I drove home and bent my shit up. Don’t ever do that again.
Since then I never said it again, but I give him the look if he rolls sketchy and all he can do is laugh. I love Kenny so much and wished he lived closer together.
Ever thought about writing a book? You seem to have so many stories of so many interesting people.
I really would want to do a book of funny skate stories. I wouldn’t even charge for it, I would just want to write down my funniest memories of skateboarding and hope it makes people laugh. I would need an animator, I can’t draw but I really want to bring these memories back to life that way.
I know it wasn’t a money-making scheme creating Slappy Trucks, but was it more of a passion project whilst you were stuck at home during Covid, or have you always been chasing the perfect truck?
Slappy has just been a passion project and now that it’s real it’s crazy to see the love and support. I am stoked that people are liking them and giving feedback on them. I just wanted to make a truck that I liked, I will keep messing with the truck and hope people continue to dig em.
What are your requirements for a perfect set of trucks?
They have to turn good and grind good. They need to hold up and have much grind clearance as possible.
“They have to turn good and grind good.”
How much did you have to learn about truck geometry etc when you were developing the trucks?
No matter what you learn to me it’s all about feel. If it feels right that’s the biggest hurdle.
Before you started this, you chose trucks as you knew it would be the most difficult hardware avenue to go down. Now you have started, has it been harder than expected or easier? Do you now wish you learnt Japanese?
I guess it’s still too early to tell how difficult things will become from what I thought I am learning every day. I really want to learn Japanese no matter what happens. I don’t remember one word so I have a lot of work to do there.
How are you curating the team? I guess you could probably get a lot of big names on the roster if you pushed for it.
I want things to happen organically, it’s just the beginning and I don’t want to piss off any established companies. I know all of them and they have all helped me out in one way or another so I want to stay in my lane.
What was the biggest hurdle to get over during the creation of Slappy Trucks?
The hurdle to me is just dealing with the unfun paperwork and legal stuff.
If Slappy Trucks blows up, would you ever give up the TM role to someone else? Or is that where you feel most suited within a company, regardless of whether or not it is yours?
I would love to give someone a chance. That would be a dream, I would still be the TM I would just hire an assistant if it ever made sense to at Slappy. I would love to have someone that I worked with talk about skating all of the time.
I just stumbled across a video of Bucky Lasek testing out some carbon fibre baseplates. They seem delicate. Do you think there is any further room for progression with trucks?
I saw those but I haven’t talked to Bucky about them yet. I will give him a call soon. There is a lot of stuff you can do for sure. Hyped that Bucky is making something different, he is one of the best skateboarders ever.
Professor Schmitt has taken a pair of your Slappy’s and delved into how the wheelbase of your board is affected compared to other trucks on the market. Slappy seems to be pretty much in the middle, was that intentional?
Yes, I had every truck that I liked set up on the same board with the same wheelbase I got Slappy to where it just felt right to me before I went to final production.
There is a pretty well-known weight-loss deal between yourself and Jamie Thomas during your Blackbox days. The deal was if you lost a certain amount of weight, Jamie would get you a holiday. In the end, you opted for the cash and put a down payment on a Honda Civic. You then said in a recent interview that you sold a used Civic to pay for the Slappy Truck moulds. This made me wonder, was that the same Civic you bought from the deal between yourself and Jamie?
That is true but that Civic is dead now. I don’t fly so I drive everywhere, cars don’t last me that long, unfortunately.
You said you had been rolling on Venture Hi 5.0 trucks since ’96… Was there anything you took from those and applied to Slappy?
I mainly rode Venture High’s because of their grind clearance. I wanted to make more grind clearance on Slappy to be happy with the final production. I also loved how Venture Low’s had that hole in their baseplate so I made a different one for Slappy.
If Slappy trucks were a snack, what would they be?
I just had a Hersey Kiss so I’ll say that for now.
Team manager stuff
People always ask who you are most bummed about not getting on any of your teams. Who are you most hyped on getting on one of your teams?
I love them all so much. I’ll say Tania Cruz on Foundation. I love her style and her energy, she rips!
Do you find yourself playing the father role a lot with your teams?
I feel like Leo is the Dad and I’m the Grandpa.. Ed is now the Great Grandfather.
I’m sure they have their separate issues, but which manager role holds the most amount of pressure?
Slappy. It is all me so that is the most pressure by far.
Do you have to act more professionally on Nike trips than on Tum Yeto trips?
I feel like all trips are the same, I always try to have fun but get the job done. Never blow the budget and come back with the good shit.
“Never blow the budget and come back with the good shit.”
Has Forrest Edwards got a bad rep from One in a Million? What was he like on KOTR?
I really like Forrest. He actually seems shy so maybe that’s why he has been misunderstood. He’s funny, I like people that make me laugh. He is a good guy and an amazing skateboarder.
Before smartphones, you had to go on tour, download photos and upload them to the brands’ websites every night. Adding another 2 hours onto a 15-hour day. Have smartphones made being a TM noticeably easier?
Oh man, I forgot about that until you said it, yeah I used to do that every night on tour. Now it’s mainly the filmer’s duty. Thank you Don Luong, you’re the best!
In 2017 you said you’ve never sponsored someone from a DM, has that changed yet? If not, do you ever expect to?
I’m sure I have now. I can’t recall who. I have DM’d people to sponsor them that’s for sure.
If I recall correctly, wasn’t there meant to be a Vice show of yourself and Billy Marks? How come that never came to fruition?
Yeah, I have the contract at the house from Vice.
The show was never named but we discussed a few names, mainly ones that Michael Burnett wrote down for us. It was green-lit and ready to go.
I think Vice was about to do 20 news shows and last minute it was cut to 8 so Me and Bill never got to film an episode. We did shoot a day in the field with no direction or plot, it was just Vice following me and Bill for a day doing what we do. I jumped a fence and got stuck on the fence that’s all I remember. Filming with Bill is the best, he is like a little brother to me.
One of the most important unspoken rules whilst on tour is that you never leave the crew. What other rules are there?
Don’t sleep in shotgun, and don’t shut the day down because you are off of it. Think of the crew not you.
Do you regret not keeping Leticia Bufoni on Foundation?
Well, not giving her a part in WTF? She quit at the premiere, not in a disrespectful way. I was crushed. I love her skating.
Are you still in contact with Nick Merlino?
I have talked to him a little, not nearly as much as when we worked together.
How did Merlino end up leaving Foundation?
Nick wanted to move on and do his own brand. I wish him the best.
He has so much energy and he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to. I have one of his paintings up in my house. Thank you Nick.
You got kicked off of Blockhead the first time due to you coming dead last in a comp. Would you ever kick anyone off the team for the same thing?
I would only do that to Billy!
When you watched Plan B’s Questionable for the first time, you saw skating that you had never witnessed before. Is that just a regular occurrence for you nowadays?
Yeah, it’s awesome to see so much creativity is skating right now. It’s refreshing.
Before you worked for Nike, did you hate on corporate brands much more than now? I only ask as you were saying it was a shame that Bobby Worrest was scooped up by them whilst he was filming for Dekline – True Blue.
I don’t recall that, if it would of been any shoe company taking Bobby or anyone from a project that I was working on I would have been bummed so it wasn’t a diss to Nike. Nike called to get Blake too and I told Blake you have to leave Dekline this could be a life-changing opportunity but let’s just finish the video first and he did. I still get to travel with both of them, I love Bobby. We did a cross-country BBQ tour once just me and Bobby. I’m down for seconds Bobby.
Cotie Robinson and John Clemmons are both on Darkroom, both were on Foundation, and both are absolute rippers. You gotta take them as a pair?
They are best friends for life, they definitely come as a pair and man they rip!
Most sensible skater on any of your teams?
On vibes alone, who are you taking in the van?
Matt Bennett for life.
Plans for the future?
A Time Machine.