A new skateboard lock designed by UCSB alum Trevor Vita could provide a solution for students tired of carrying their longboards around campus.
Vita, who graduated from UCSB with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in exercise and health science in 2011, started a business called NoJack Locks to market the product. The lock features a simple laptop lock along with a steel constructed wire, making it easy to bind the board to a nearby pole, gate or bike rack.
Vita said while he first came up with the idea behind NoJack Locks about a year ago, he officially launched the business just three weeks ago.
“NoJack is a new business, although the idea has been around for a year or so. I had already graduated but a longtime friend and longboarder Matthew Most, who was attending UCLA, was interested in collaborating on the idea of a quick and easy lock for skateboards,” Vita said. “We took the idea and looked at a simple, low-cost, low-impact way to lock a skateboard and that is exactly what NoJack became. The site went live three weeks ago and orders have been steadily coming in as people find out about them.”
Vita said the inspiration for the product came about when Vita noticed the inconvenience students faced trying to store longboards indoors.
“The need for a lock came from Matthew and his frustration with leaving his longboard at the gym unprotected. He knew that having to constantly watch over it was a nagging annoyance for most boarders,” Vita said.
Though longboards are a quick form of transportation for many, their portability is compromised by their oftentimes large size, according to Steve Lee, a second-year biochemistry major who commutes to school primarily by longboard.
“Carrying a longboard is a double-edged sword. Though it is convenient to not get it stolen, I still have the issue of having to carry it up and down lecture aisles, causing distractions and inconveniences to others,” Lee said.
Lee said the NoJack lock is an effective solution to a problem that seems to be growing as college communities become more crowded. According to Lee, the longboard lock could prove useful in formal settings like going to restaurants or for more casual outings as well.
“Sometimes when I want to go to the beach, I don’t want to carry my longboard with me wherever I want to go,” Lee said. “I wish I could lock it somewhere. But I still have to take my longboard because I would still rather longboard to the beach than walk.”
On the other hand, some students believe that having a lock would defeat the whole purpose of a longboard. Second-year economics and accounting major Rahul Chhajed said the lock would compromise the longboard’s entire appeal — mobility.
“I don’t think you need a lock for your longboard,” Chhajed said. “The whole point of having a longboard is to have it be mobile and to be with you wherever you go.”
Ben Mahon, who works at Movement Boardshop in Isla Vista, said though the NoJack lock is not a completely necessary addition to a longboard, it still serves as protection from the widespread crime in Isla Vista.
“People do use [longboards] for transport, but the benefit lies more on the fact that you can take them anywhere with you and not have to lock it. I would say that that is the main purpose of a longboard,” Mahon said. “Theft is prevalent here, and the lock could definitely help. But I also know that thieves can break any lock. Just because you have a lock doesn’t mean that it’s 100 percent fixed, but it can definitely just help.”
Vita’s NoJack locks are now available online and are priced at $35 for a top-mount or drop-through complete lock kit, which are compatible with most standard longboard trucks. The installation kits without locks are also available for sale and run for $5.99.
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of January 30th, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.