Bill and Bob Bahne grew up in San Diego, California during the era of hot rod cars and surf music. Bill, a jack-of-all-trades, has been an instrumental part of the three most significant side-stance sports that have developed over the last 50 years. He started shaping surfboards in the ’50s, before foam and fiberglass entered the equation, and helped Bahne Surfboards grow into a prominent brand. In 1964, he created the removable fin system that is still standard today. In the early ’70s, he teamed up with his friend Mike Doyle to create an early version of the snowboard called the “monoski.” Around the same time, Bill drove past a skater at a local shopping center and experienced a sudden epiphany about what to do with the thousands of feet of pultruded fiberglass that weren’t suitable for fins. That idea led Bill and his brother Bob to launch Bahne Skateboards.
Between Bill’s engineering genius and Bob’s financial acumen, they did a lot to reanimate skateboarding in the 1970s. Synergized by their almost cosmic meeting with Frank Nasworthy of Cadillac Wheels, they became the Ford family of skateboarding, manufacturing more than a million skateboards in their Encinitas factory in roughly four years. The Bahne brothers supported skateboarding’s growth by producing events, including the Del Mar Nationals that launched numerous skateboarding legends. They also helped Skateboarder magazine with major momentum on its re-launch, including a free copy of the mag with every board they sold for months. It’s perhaps one of the earliest stories of sales success combined with the love of skateboarding, and it’s the story of Bahne Skateboards.