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Being a small company (just me) means I can explore why I am doing this…and I can change.

No one has pure motives. As much as we want to or try to, we can’t. We all know it’s true.

To get to my point: my motive for starting Red Panda Boards, at the outset, was simple: to find a way to earn money through illustrations.

Simple. I just needed something to illustrate.

“I have it,” I thought. “No one is drawing endangered animals and putting them on boards.”

Sweet. Boards. Skateboards. Cool.

So I did it, just like that.

But now, a few months after releasing six board designs and a few t-shirts, as I try to figure out the story as to why I am doing this, I have come to realize deeper motives.

I posted my first pass at Why Red Panda Boards a few weeks ago here.

Solid. But as I thought more about it, I’ve also come to additional reasons. One’s easier to communicate.

This analogy will explain my thoughts:

When I first started riding boards, I don’t remember struggling much. I’ve always had a good sense of balance—dodging slide tacklers in soccer can help that— so getting on a board and pushing it down the road well enough to not fall flat on my face didn’t take long. Initially, the balance was good.

Nice. But then two things happened: 1) my wheels met the skateboard’s greatest enemy, and 2) I decided to learn how to do tricks.

What is a skateboard’s greatest enemy, you ask?


But not big rocks.

Not even gravel rocks. Those are obvious.

I’m talking about rock fragments. Or small pebbles might be a better way of describing them.

These demons are unseen as you rocket down the road. They are so small your eye can’t pick them up, but they are big enough to jam your wheels, stop your forward rocketing (or momentum), and throw you to the ground. Hands and palms and face first.

And it all happens in seconds.

Dang. That sucks. Doesn’t sound like there’s much joy in that, your saying. I’ll get to the joy part next week. But for now, let’s stick to balance.

Small things can jam up not just skate wheels but any part of life. Relationships. Jobs. Churches. Anything. Unseen, fragment demons floating in our path end forward progress and through us off course.

What’s the answer? Bring a broom.

We learned early on if you wanted to have a killer day skating bring a broom and sweep the area thoroughly, or you’d be hitting the asphalt, spilling blood, shouting obscenities, and limping home.

So, what needs to be swept in your life? Anger? Pride? Pride? Nope, that’s not an error. I wrote it twice.

Sitting here and waiting for sales to happen, I’ve realized that pride is always present, always on the road, always waiting to jam me up. So I pray, read the Bible, and confess it to my wife and others—my broom.

What’s yours?

Okay, now on to why learning new tricks disturbed my balance.

This one is easier to see and ties into the joy of skating. Once you’ve got down the ability to balance and ride, it’s time to learn how to ollie. If you want to know, here’s a great video on Transworld. 

To Ollie, you have to do a bunch of stuff at once. Keeping your balance is vital. You get off to one side or the other, and you biff. You bail. And you want to quit.

But nothing good comes without hardship. So you keep trying. You balance, squat, slide, kick, and pop the tail. Boom. You’re in the air—or not. It doesn’t matter. You keep trying.

Creating a new company in a very competitive field takes work. It requires balance, kneeling, sliding things forward, kicking things up, and trying to get air born.

I’m learning the tricks, but I still need to nail it. But I’m not going to quit because once an ollie is a part of the arsenal, well, here’s what you can do:

Christopher F. Dalton

Christopher F. Dalton is a writer, author, illustrator, small business owner, but more than that he is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three stellar sons, and friend in need. He and his wife run Huck&Dorothy, an entertainment company.