Skateboard Story of a Japanese Legend | Growing a thriving scene
It’s the guys behind the scenes that really build up skateboarding. Masanori Uruma is one of the guys doing it in Japan for their skate scene. He’s an og skater who is now behind Kukunochi skate distribution that does brands like Coda, 5boro, Polar, Quasi, Magenta, GX1000, Alltimers, Quartersnacks, ICS, Becky factory and Chrystie. Masanori is as dedicated as they come. Here is his story.
As the owner of a skateboard distributor, what are your duties? What does your job entail daily?
I just do the right things for brands and skateboarding. My job is like dealing with brands and shops. Taking orders, tallying them up. Setting up overseas shipments, press, shooting skate videos, and taking care of the riders I support. There is too much to do in skate business. But I am happy just being a part of skating. Most of the people I do business with are skaters. It’s not like you have to explain a lot. One of the executives at Map Cargo’s Japan branch is also a skater. Funny, right?
How do you go about selecting the brands you distribute?
I liked small brands since when I was young. It’s like brands that have an independent vibe. Like Blockhead, G&S, SMA, Schmitt Stix. I respect big brands, but I always looked for something smaller, something different. That’s why I looked for brands like that from the start, and I still do today. Brands that a rad skater started, or brands run by people that give back to the skate scene in some form or another; that is a huge element.
Was it hard to start the distribution? How did you have the money to start it? What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome at the beginning?
It was not that difficult to actually start. Because, there were only 50 Coda boards at first. I did run out of money part way through though, so I had to borrow some just once. Around 10 grand. That was a pretty heavy loan for me. Life is kind of about obstacles, one after another. I might have been able to overcome them because I know the hardships of skating. It’s easier than slamming on a 10 stair handrail. I was very lucky, Pat Smith, Steve Rodriguez, Fos, helped me out in the beginning.