Welcome Skateboards launched in 2010 with no ties to the skateboarding industry and a team of virtually unknown skaters. Founder Jason Celaya was not a career skater; he was working fulltime in the subsea cable business when he invested $2,000 in a brand based on graphics straight out of a goth’s high school notebook and decks in a range of random non-popsicle shapes.
Celaya built Welcome Skateboards into a major independent brand without investors or loans. The brand is known for producing deck shapes that are outside mainstream skateboarding. Today the skateboard company makes 38 proprietary shapes and takes pride in the leverage designed into each board. “The mold we use, and where we drill on each mold, is the magic,” says the founder.
Magic is a word Celaya often uses when talking about Welcome Skateboards. “Welcome believes that skateboarding should excite you and make you feel magical,” he says when declaring that every Welcome skateboard comes “with a fair amount of pixie dust mixed in.”
Celaya draws the art for Welcome Skateboard decks by hand, and the imagery is steeped in the occult and supernatural. “As far as the occult stuff, I just think it is entertaining and intriguing,” he explained.
Welcome Skateboards Design Functional Non-Popsicles
Welcome started off with Celaya working to design a functional non-popsicle board that was neither old-school nor cruiser. A lot of trial and error experimentation went into finding shapes that work as well as the popsicle. He cares about how a skateboard rides, and Celaya takes pride in pointing out that his brand puts in the time to make sure each of their shapes is just right.
Welcome Skateboards has seen its fair share of growing pain related to its skating team as the business expanded. Most of the Welcome skaters, including Nolan Johnson, Mango and Jesse Alba, quit the team within a month of each other in late 2015. Few of the former team members explained what motivated the exodus, but social media users posted a lot of theories.
Celaya said he thinks the addition of skaters such as Ryan Lay, Jordan Sanchez, Aaron Goure, Will Blaty and Ryan Townley put pressure on other team members to keep up. “I didn’t kick any one off, but a bunch bowed out over the last year,” he said. The current team also includes Daniel Vargas, Nora Vasconcellos, Jason Salillas, and Rick Fabro.
Welcome skateboard decks and skateboard wheels are sold through CCS and Zumiez as well as independent shops.