Hop Podcast #20 - Daniel Iseli the Rocket man

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This might be my new favourite episode. I re-listened to this interview after I published the Kicked Out episode, and was immediately inspired. Danny is an amazing guy, his positive attitude is contagious, I forgot how much fun it was talking to him. It might be a crime against longboarding that I have not released this episode! I recorded this at the end of 2018. The 2019 range had not been released, we talk about a secret new pro model, which ended up being the Phoenix, Tristan Cardillo Pro model. Forgive the delay of this episode, it is still relevant, at the end I mention that we have not talked about any of the models and we will have to do part two to discuss the Rocket Longbaord decks.

This episode is all about how Daniel got into board building, how he built Rocket, his business philosophy, his board building techniques and values.

If you have ever had the urge to build something, you will enjoy the story that unfolds in this episode.

Hand made longboards in Switzerland by Daniel Iseli

Show Notes

Daniel's first real skateboard was an Indian slalom board by Indiana Skateboards

Hop's Indiana S type slalom board.

The Swiss board builders we discuss are:
And the brand I forgot was Pumpkin!!

Daniel's first board longboard was Seaward (small Swiss brand that does not exist anymore). Set up with Randal downhill trucks and wheels: Kryptonics, Early ABEC11 and a Swiss unique wheel called Slicks by a Swiss company called Summit. When the rubber was done, you could remove the core and replace the rubber. 

First built board was in 2009, and inspired by a German longboard forum called longboardz.de it was a foamcore carbon fibre deck (it is the deck on the left in the photo below).

Other manufacturers on the longboardz forum: Wefunk and 313 Skateboards

Freeride events we talk about:

Alpenrauschen Freeride 2019

Rocket Team hill bomb at Alpenrauschen

KnK Longboard Camp

Rocket Longboards: Dancers Wanted video

How to get sponsored by Rocket Longboards?

I get asked a lot of questions about sponsorship, so I am writing a lot of what we talk about here. If this is a topic that interests you, listen to this part of the podcast, Daniel makes some good points.
Daniel and I discuss sponsorship at around 53 minutes. It was in response to the video above Dancers wanted, he is looking for a Dance Freestyle skater to sponsor. My question was what would get his attention? The answer is a good video. The follow up is a good social media account. He says he gets approached for sponsorship a lot on Instagram, he then looks at the person's Instagram account and it is empty.
Daniel makes some good points on the type of person he looks for, and it really comes down to good skating not how many followers.

Board graphics are designed by Killer Artworks in Germany (I don't have a link to their website, I will update it if I find it)

2019 will have a new pro model, the Phoenix, Tristan Cardillo Pro model. It has a new manufacturing technique, it uses flax as a layer. The flax adds a dampening effect that reduces vibration and creates a smoother and grippier ride.

Models that were dropped from the 2019 range were the drop through decks. They were built for freeriding, and they are no longer popular.

Key to Daniel's success: Focus on quality and staying small.

Daniel built his own equipment, he builds boards completely different to other manufacturers. He uses a bladder press. The press only uses a female mould, the wood and fibre goes into the mould, then a bladder is filled with compressed air and creates the male mould.

Rocket Longboards female mould
The bladder filled with compressed air creates the male mould
The CNC machine that Daniel built!

The podcast episode I talk about is on the James Altucher Show, episode 412 an interview with Kai-Fu Lee.

Thank you for listening the this episode. Download the Anchor app or go to my Anchor page at anchor.fm/hopkin and leave me a message! I might add it to the next episode.