Albert Emma collects rare skate decks. A Northeast Florida surfer-skater and former owner of the beloved but not-long-for-this world Square One Skate Shop, Emma’s been scavenging for and accumulating vintage sticks for more than two decades. Inspired by the artwork and culture of his youth, Emma has amassed an incredible collection that would make any skate collector green with envy.
He was kind enough to come by Void HQ, share some of his favorite pieces from his collection, and answer a few questions about his sacred objects.
What inspired you to start collecting skateboards?
Initially it was nostalgia, searching for the decks I skated as a kid. That led me to an appreciation of the art actually featured on the decks. The artistic subculture has always gone hand in hand with skating.
At what point did you realize you’ve come too far to stop?
I opened my first shop in ‘95 and my second in ’99 in Jax Beach with my lifelong friend Edwin Consunji, who has an incredible collection as well. So we were always immersed in it, which made it an easy thing to do.
If you could only choose three boards out of your collection, which would you choose?
Man, it’s hard to choose when you’re 20-plus years into it. But all-time favorites are the early Neil Blender decks. He was doing his own graphics, which was unheard of at the time—true rebel. His art was just absurdly different from anything you saw in that era. Aside for that maybe my rookie decks from Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Tommy Guerrero, which are very hard to come by nowadays, Blender’s are my favorite.
Any advice for anyone interested in collecting skate decks?
It’s a huge rabbit hole; don’t go down it. [Laughs]. Man, just collect what you’re into and have fun!
This feature originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Void Magazine, The Photo Annual under the headline “Skater Curator: Albert Emma’s collection of rare decks intersects his mutual appreciation for art and skate culture.”