Cincinnati Cruiser Makes Customized Longboards for Queen City Skaters

Cincinnati Cruiser has taken long-boarding from a childhood fascination to a full-fledged business.
Jeff Risinger

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Jeff Risinger got his first skateboard at age 5. Today, he runs a skateboard company with his wife. For a year, Risinger and Val Woodham have been building and selling custom-made longboards, but these weren’t the first boards Risinger has fabricated. “My dad was in the Navy, so we moved around,” he says. “In the Philippines, we lived on top of a hill, so I wanted a skateboard to get down.” The Navy base provided facilities for the children to use, one of which was a woodworking shop.

Jeff Risinger and Val Woodham
Jeff Risinger and Val Woodham

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Risinger, his brother, and a friend dreamt up a longboard and built it themselves. After carving a piece of mahogany and attaching trucks and wheels, Risinger and his brother logged the first descent of that hill.

Fast forward 30 years, and Risinger decided to craft two longboards as Christmas presents for his daughters. “Neighbors started seeing them riding up and down our street and began asking for their own,” says Woodham. “One thing just kind of led to another.” The couple officially launched Cincinnati Cruiser in September 2015, after Woodham lost her job, and have since made more than 60 skateboards.

Risinger, who also works as a commercial pilot, hand-makes each board in his small workshop; he typically starts with maple, then accents it with exotic cuts like zebra wood and purple heart. He uses only raw materials—it takes four to five days of planing, sanding, and gluing to produce one board—and tries to accentuate blemishes in the wood to create one-­of­-a­-kind skateboards, like using zebra to wood make the top of a board resemble an arrow.

“It’s all about the beauty of the board,” Risinger says. “We had one older guy buy one from us because he used to skateboard and wanted to hang it in his man ­cave as a reminder of his skateboarding days.” The boards range from 27 to 41 inches and can be flat, have a kick­tail, or have camber (a bow in the wood that adds flexibility and bounce). He’s made them for customers in California, Seattle, Utah, and even New Zealand, where Woodham is originally from. After all, Risinger says, they’ve evolved from “almost barbaric” to works of art. The couple hopes for a brick and mortar store in the future. “We are going to keep growing,” says Risinger. “I’d love to be the king of the Midwestern longboard.”

The real board room? Risinger and Woodham’s Hyde Park garage, where these masterpieces are crafted:


Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Red dogtown wheels match the red-hued bloodwood in the checkerboard of this 27-inch board. $135


Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Made for their daughter, this 27-inch bloodwood and wenge–accented board is complete with multi-color, light up wheels. $125


Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

The Hailey Comet—aptly named for the blemish streaking through the wood—is a 35-inch aniegre wood longboard with orange pig wheels. $155


Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

This 35-inch afrormosia and wedge wood board is a hybrid—meaning vacuum-pressed—to make it more flexible, and finished off with purple pig wheels. $180, (513) 394-0949


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