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Established by professional skateboarders and business partners Rodney Mullen and Daewon Song in the United States, Almost Skateboards is a well-known brand in the industry. Skateboard decks made by the company feature either a 7-ply, 8-ply, or carbon fibre construction and are bound with resin epoxy glue. Distribution of the brand has been handled by Dwindle Distribution since November of 2014.
2003–2006: Formation, Round Three, Cheese & Crackers
After quitting their respective former firms (enjoi and Artafact), Mullen and Song launched Nearly Skateboards in 2003. In a July 2014 blog post, Mullen revealed that he had known in his "heart" that enjoi co-founder Marc Johnson wanted to quit the firm. Mullen, who had been considering a collaboration with Song previous to Johnson's departure because the two had been skateboarding with for a lengthy period of time, called Song after hearing the news from a friend of Johnson's:
Daewon [Song] was my first phone contact because I desperately wanted to work with him. "Aw man, I have horrible news... but I got some other news. I have a thought; are you interested in doing something with me? Why don't you try something new? Daewon's enthusiasm radiated through his voice. In other words, the impetus was my own need to undertake the thing in question. Nevertheless, until that time, nothing of genuine significance had presented itself.
Cooper Wilt, Chris Haslam, Ryan Sheckler, and Greg Lutzka were other early members of the squad. In 2004, the company created a video called Almost: Round Three, which included the initial team riders for the company.
In 2006, the firm debuted Lewis Marnell, an amateur skateboarder, with a bonus section in Cheese & Crackers, the second Nearly video release, which involves Song and Haslam on a mini-ramp structure set to the tune of "Move On Up" by Curtis Mayfield.
2007-2013: Bringing in new members; the introduction of the 5-Incher; Marnell's passing
In January of 2007, Sheckler moved on from Almost to become part of the revitalised Plan B Skateboards crew. In 2007, the firm announced that Torey Pudwill will replace Marnell as its amateur athlete. By 2008, both Pudwill and Marnell had graduated to the professional ranks. Musician and filmmaker Socrates Leal made a parody video segment to welcome Marnell to the workforce for his professional inauguration. The video, titled "Almost Filmer Asshole," was published on the Almost website and YouTube from the perspective of a "poacher" (a person who attempts to film footage of another skateboarder, usually a professional skateboarder, without that person's permission). When caught by Song and Leal, the poacher threw Marnell's first professional Almost skateboard deck into the view of the camera. Originally, Marnell's board graphics included a lion holding a Rastafarian flag.
Just like Sheckler, Pudwill departed Nearly for Plan B in March of 2010, and after a trial period to assess if he was a good fit, Pudwill's friend Justin Schulte was introduced as the company's new amateur rider. Once sponsored by Element Skateboards, Schulte was recently contacted by Song, who requested for an update on his career. In February of 2010, a film was made available online as a means of officially welcoming Schulte to the team. After leaving Nearly in April 2010, Lutzka joined Darkstar as a sponsored player in May of that year.
In November of 2010, it was revealed that German amateur skateboarder Willow would be joining the Almost team. A welcome video was also posted online. Flip Skateboards was Willow's previous sponsor.
Haslam gives Willow his first professional skateboard deck model as a surprise at a signing in Germany, and the event was captured on film and distributed by the brand in October 2012. In honour of the team rider's transition to pro status, Transworld Skateboarding uploaded Mike Manzoori's (Sole Technology) expertly edited full-length video part "Willow's World" on November 26, 2012. On April of 2011, the firm announced that Youness Amrani would be its next amateur rider.
Company newcomer Mitchie Brusco, along with "flow" team members Matty "Schmatty" Chaffin, CJ Tambornino, Michael Sommer, and Issey Yumiba, were all featured in the debut of 5-Incher, the company's third video production, in June of 2012. ("Flow" refers to a team member's standing before they are officially identified as an amateur who does not get financial compensation.) The international premiere of the film took place in Long Beach, California, US, and it featured contributions from everyone of the Almost crew (except for Mullen, who was nursing an injury). By the time of the premiere, Schulte was no longer listed as an employee of the corporation, and there was no official statement regarding his employment. Due to complications from his diabetes, Marnell passed away in January 2013, making this video his last appearance in an Almost production.
Amrani, an amateur skateboarder, was featured in a 2013 article by Nearly, Nike SB, and TransWorld Skating. The initiative, named "Marrakesh Express," premiered on the TransWorld website on August 9, 2013, and included both a print story and a video component. Amrani skated and explored the Moroccan cities of "Casablanca and Marrakesh by way of Rabat, Kenitra, and Agadir," all while being filmed by Chris Thiesson. Amrani spent much of his childhood in Belgium, despite being born in Morocco.
Ten-year celebration of "Almost Famous," 2013-present
In December of 2013, the company began airing a series on YouTube's Tony Hawk's RIDE channel. Skateboarder/artist Brian Lotti has been included in the "Almost Famous" series, as has a "craziest trick" competition.
Amrani received his first professional skateboard deck at the company's 10th anniversary party in early March 2014, held at the Berrics indoor skate park. Leal, Dwindle Distribution's in-house videographer for many years, put together a documentary called "10 Years of Nearly" to celebrate the company's 10-year anniversary. In celebration of their 10th year in business, DC Comics and the skateboard company unveiled a line of decks designed in tandem.
At the Berrics in 2014, Song took first place in two separate contests: "2 UP" in March and "In Transition" in October. The former included elite skateboarders like Brandon Biebel and Chris Cole in a manual event (skateboarding on a full rig, but with only two wheels).  The skateboarders who participated in the In Transition contest were chosen at random and asked to film a transition (also called "vert skateboarding," in which the skateboarder rides a skate ramp, or other incline, and transitions from the horizontal plane to the vertical plane to perform tricks) video part in a location of their choosing.
The End of Lewis Marnell's Life
On January 20, 2013, it was announced publicly that Marnell had passed away within the previous two days; however, no other information was supplied. A short time before his untimely demise, Marnell had dropped a new Nearly video segment, a 5-Incher.
On Instagram, Song said, "@lewismarnell you are a true inspiration brotha and will be missed thank you for showing the world your incredible abilities, and thank you for being such a great, kind, and giving friend to all!" RIP". On January 21, 2013, Song shared another shot with the caption, "Shot this a long back!! I couldn't help but be reminded of #lewismarnell !! Freedom is a blessing, and a better society can be created through mutual respect and love. #sorryboutpreaching".
Wilt and Haslam, two of Marnell's teammates, have also paid tribute to him on Instagram:
It was a hard day today... Found out of Lewis Marnell's death upon waking up. In the last six and a half years, you've been an excellent friend and member of the team. I'm delighted to know that he lived his life to the fullest, but the world will never be the same without him. Nonstop travel, a wonderful wife, and a career as a professional skateboarder all contributed to his perpetually beaming disposition. We must never forget Lewis Marnell, a great legend.
Haslam uploaded a photo of Marnell on a custom-built bicycle with speakers to the 20th of January, 2013. Brand manager Luis Cruz paid tribute to Lewis Marnell on Almost's Instagram: "We are grateful to have had Lewis Marnell part of the Almost family. The world will miss him and always remember him fondly. Rest in peace, bro. You'll be sorely missed.
Midway through March of 2013 saw the debut of the brand's spring 2013 product catalogue, which contained the whole team lineup up to that date, including Marnell and corresponding signature boards. An image of Marnell and the words "LEWIS MARNELL NEVER FORGOTTEN 1982 - 2013" appeared on the catalog's final page. The first season of Almost Famous ended with a trick from Marnell and the written statement: "NEVER FORGOTTEN," while the third season's whole episode, titled "Lewis Marnell Forever," was devoted to Marnell.
While a Marnell signature skateboard deck was featured in the company's "Christmas 2014" catalogue, which was launched on September 15, 2014, Marnell still appears on the team page of the Almost website as of November 2014. All earnings from Lewis Marnell's boards go straight to his family, as stated in the Holiday 2014 catalogue blurb.
Carbon-based composite decking
The core of the 7-ply Resin deck that makes up the Über Light's foam is made of carbon fibre. Its innovation in design produces a board that is more robust, lighter, and more rigid than traditional wood decking.
After an initial run of only 500 boards (dubbed "Über Experimental"), production of the Über Lite variant resumed in May 2012 and continues to this day. Mullen designed the structure, and the latest iteration, the Super Uber Lite V3, can be seen in the "Spring 12" catalogue for Almost Skateboards.
Die-cut carbon fibre discs are put into the eighth ply of the Impact Support deck around the truck mounting points to prevent "pressure cracks" in the areas of a skateboard deck that are most prone to breaking. The model has a 30-day warranty and is lighter and stronger than the Nearly Resin-7 and 8 decks.
The first installment of the Double Impact series hit shelves that same year. Carbon fibre discs (like Impact Support) are used in the model, which is built with Resin-6 and has a carbon fibre skin. The Double Impact design has the same great qualities as the Impact Support version but is more portable and durable. With the Double Impact variant, Nearly offers a 45-day guarantee.
The Liberty Boardshop and Almost Skateboards have been hosting the Almost "Double Impact Contest Series since 2011. The first competition was in November 2011 at a public spot known as the "Brea 12 set," and the winning feat was a switch-stance 360-flip.
The second competition, hosted by Tactics skate shop, went down in August 2012 at the Springfield Skatepark "10-stair" in Oregon, United States. The winner would receive a brand new skateboard every month for a whole year. Scott Grady, who performed a nollie backside heelflip and a switch varial heelflip, won the Oregon competition.
Haslam, Amrani, and Wildgrube began their 2013 Europe Impact Tour in January with demonstration performances. The first leg of the tour was at the Skatehalle-Berlin skate park on January 16, 2013 and featured a Double Impact contest. At each competition round, the winner receives a year's supply of Almost skateboard decks; at the first visit in Berlin, the winner received a "Willow" (Wildgrube) model, Almost's hallmark model.
Team (as of January 2023)
Ryan Sheckler (Sandlot Times Skateboards)
Greg Lutzka (Darkstar Skateboards)
Torey Pudwill (Thank You Skateboards)
Lewis Marnell (deceased)
Chris Haslam (Brainchild Skateboards)
Daewon Song (Thank You Skateboards)
Almost: Round Three (2004)
Almost Cheese & Crackers (2006)
Almost 5-Incher (2012)