Hi Erik !
Love the website and love absentmindedly scrolling through your vast online catalogue of re-issue old school decks while I am supposed to be working. Here's a picture of me holding my first 'pro' board. I started skating in 1986 and , like you, I worked my way through several department store boards before buying a legit board: the Jeff Grosso toy box. I bought it off my sister's boyfriend who had recently stopped skating. He casually popped a knee high ollie on it the day he sold it to me and I was floored. I had to get this board. The grip tape was a collage of neon green and bright blue grip assembled together in a cammo-type pattern. It had white trackers, a big cell block under the back truck and rat bones wheels (or were they slime balls?). I rode that board until I broke the tail off of it. I still have a piece of the tail and put it on the wall next to the recent reissue of that same deck. 30 years later and I still have the bug. Knock on wood that the knees and ankles are still reasonably well lubricated because the mind is still willing. I am just now coming off a 5-year stint of fundraising for a skatepark in my hometown. The last pour of concrete was just 2 weeks ago and our park is now open to the public. Through the ice and snow crust I found a line or two on my way home the other day. I can't tell you how good that felt. Time to pay it forward to the next generation of wide-eyed kids discovering the wonders of this useless wooden toy for the first time. Skate on. Skate on.
Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada