Mike Maslowski – Owner/Designer
So, your company came out with the first wakeskate shoe without being involved in wakeboarding first. How did you get started?
We saw a need for it. Basically everything is derived from skateboarding. Within the last 10 years, skateboarding has taken over the whole market as far as how everybody does everything, even down to surfing. People didn’t used to surf that way or get that aggressive … it all came from skating. Snowboarding, wakeskating, it all basically came from the invention of the ollie, and everybody that is wakeskating is doing the same maneuvers; it all came from a skateboarding background.
Who was the first wakeskater you saw?
Probably riders like Thomas Horrell and Drew McGuckin.
How did you meet Drew?
Trade shows. He started talking about it and I told him I was coming out with a wakeskate shoe. He seemed stoked on it so we kept in contact. I sent him prototypes to try, and we finally got it right.
**What ideas did you implement to make Epik wakeskate shoes different from Epik skateboard shoes?
There are certain needs and requirements for wakeskating that differ from those of skating. One of the biggest determining factors was how to keep water out of the shoe. I used closed-cell foam so it wouldn’t suck up any water, and that made it lighter. I decided to use a skate shoe look, and I had to allow the excess water inside the shoe to self-bail out the side, so I used mesh. Also, anybody with a boat is worried about scuff marks on their interior, so that’s why I used gum rubber on the shoes, which is also good for grip on the board.
What’s the deal with the neoprene liner?
The neoprene acts just like a wetsuit. If you’ve ever wakeskated with your old skate shoes you know that the terry cloth lining can sometimes chafe your foot when it’s wet. So I wanted something comfortable that would also serve a purpose, and that was the neoprene. It has a nice feel to it so you don’t even mind wearing the shoe around wet until it dries.
**What’s the first thing someone will notice when they ride with your shoes instead of old skate shoes?
**How much lighter it is and how they don’t have to bang their foot on the board to get rid of the excess water.
So for technical moves, would you say it’s easier to maneuver your feet?
You don’t have that weight on your foot, so you feel much freer. If you go to do a pop-shuvit or hit a ramp, you feel the board much better because you don’t have that layer of water between your foot and the board.
How much are they selling for?
I know you’re still establishing dealer networks, but for now what would be an easy way for people to get your shoes?
A few water-sports shops are carrying them already, but you can also go to my Web site (www.epikfootwear.com) and there are a few links that sell them online.
How about the sizing?
No, since you’re not wearing a sock when you ride you might want to go down a half-size from normal.
Do you offer any type of warranty?
Sure, if there is any kind of manufacturer’s defect I’ll definitely cover it.
**So are you gonna stop here at making just shoes?
**I actually have a prototype wakeskate out now. It’s seven-ply but with concave, and once again it’s derived from skating. It’s more of a skate shape with the concave so your feet feel it better and you can pull it up nice for your tech tricks.
And what are you gonna call them?
Surface Wakeskates. They’ll be available in March. And that’s gonna be a sponsored team, too. So there’s gonna be an Epik wakeskate team and a Surface wakeskate team, and hopefully we’ll be able to get out there and tour to support wakeskating and help it grow.
Is there anything else you want to talk about?
I just want to let people know that Epik isn’t only wakeskate shoes. I also have a line of skate shoes that are available at shops that carry skate products or wake products.
How long have you been making skate shoes?
For over a year and a half now. There’s some cross promotion, people riding for me like Wee-Man, the dwarf from Jackass. So we’re gonna get him out on a wakeskate this year and see what we can do. He’s down with that. He’s got a great center of gravity so I think it’s gonna be great.
What size board is he gonna ride?
We’ll probably put him on a skateboard or something.