Overland Boards Brings Innovation to Skateboards


Senior Albert Strietmann rides one of the boards he made for Overland Boards, the company he started with alumnus Spencer Peterson.

By Joe Russell

StrietmannWhen senior Albert Streitmann was in second grade, he received his first skateboard. It wasn’t until his junior year, when he joined his good friend Spencer “Spence” Peterson in running a longboard company, that skateboarding became a crucial part of his life.

“I started longboarding to work during the summer,” Strietmann said. “I figured out you could literally mob twice as hard and could control your speed by throwing huge speed checks [slowing yourself down by sliding]. I guess that’s how I got hooked on [it].” Today, Strietmann and Peterson, who graduated from Tam in 2013, run Overland Boards, a company that sells longboards made from aircraft grade aluminum.

“Overland” is a reference to Strietmann and Peterson’s interest in overland vehicles, which are made for rough, off-road environments. Overland vehicles are durable and strong, which is one of Overland’s main selling points for their aluminum longboards.

Peterson and Strietmann met when Strietmann was in eighth grade and Peterson was a freshman at Tam. They both had a love for mountain biking and the outdoors, and they quickly became good friends.

Peterson started Overland Boards by himself in September of 2013. He accumulated contacts who supply the aluminum and help him cut it and anodize it by adding a protective layer, usually colored. Peterson began cutting the boards at a shop in Sausalito called Marin Metal Works. “Alex Shaw [at Marin Metal Works] has been super helpful this whole time,” Peterson said. “He’s always helping me come up with new ideas.” Peterson currently runs the manufacturing side of Overland Boards, while Strietmann, who was brought in a few months after the company started, runs the prototyping and marketing side.

Spence Peterson checks out a newly produced board

Spence Peterson checks out a newly produced board

“I do everything from riding freshly cut boards to taking photos of my friends shredding around campus on our Overland Boards,” Strietmann said.

“Albert has been really crucial for developing the longboards,” Peterson said. “He knows skateboarding and longboarding better than I do, so I can get more advice from him…anything I make, I run through Albert first.”
Though Strietmann and Peterson run the company together, they receive support from skateboarders in the community. Sophomore Forest Seaman and senior Abel Pacific are among friends that ride the boards. “I like the boards because the aluminum gives a different, smoother ride than regular skateboards,” Seaman said. “It’s like surfing the street.”

Pacific agrees. “Overland Boards has created the ultimate shred sled…these decks will tackle any slope and are virtually indestructible.”

Members of the skateboarding community work closely with Overland to help develop products.“They’ll provide us with feedback [on the boards],” Strietmann said. “They’ll tell us things like ‘I like this, the tail could be wider, it could be shorter.’ So we just make slight adjustments.”

Peterson agrees. “The [skateboarding] community has been super important, especially with feedback. You might think your product is cool…and you think you’ve got it dialed, but then you bring it to other people and they’ll suddenly be like ‘So what?’ or won’t like certain aspects of it.”

The boys’ group of friends often ride their boards on the long hills of the Marin Headlands. “There’s a great hill called Hawk Hill,” Strietmann said. “It’s probably my favorite place to skate.”

One of the models from Overland Boards named the Bo-Fax was named after the Bolinas-Fairfax road, which Strietmann and Peterson both like to skate. During the development of that model, Strietman and Peterson would skate Bolinas after surfing.
“Me and Spence actually do a lot of our business meetings in the water,” Strietmann said. “We’ll be at the beach talking about ideas…and then get out and skate around Bolinas and figure out what needs to be done.”
Going surfing to discuss business is just one of many ways that Strietmann and Peterson enjoy themselves while working to expand their business.

“We’ll be with our friends…hiking, rock-climbing, or whatever. I’ll get an idea and I’ll pitch it to Spence, and we’ll kind of just go off on this tangent. Our friends will be looking at us like ‘what the hell are they doing?’ We’ll be working while we’re hanging out,” he said. “It’s pretty convenient being friends and being able to work all the time.”
“We always have ideas flowing and always have positive energy, so it’s a really good relationship,” Strietmann said.

 Senior Albert Strietmann rides one of the boards he made for Overland Boards, the company he started with alumnus Spencer Peterson.

Senior Albert Strietmann rides one of the boards he made for Overland Boards, the company he started with alumnus Spencer Peterson.