Maybe the Reason Alien Workshop Went Under, Maybe

alien workshop out of business

The skateboard gossip machine isn’t the most logical thing in the world. Skaters are privy to shortsighted conclusions e.g. “Reider is totally tight with Dill so he went to F.A., Grant is totally hesh so he went to Anti-Hero, and everything started to fall apart from there,” but there is one and only one reason for why companies of any sort cease to exist: money (baby!) When your employees the best skaters on earth start to leave, there is obviously something wrong at the top, no matter how romantic those employees’ reasons for leaving may have been in their exit interviews.

So yeah, money.

Friend of the website and frequent recipient of hate mail from l*ngb**rders, Willy Staley, put resources outside of the Slap message boards to work, and dug into the real financial nuts and bolts of the situation. Using earnings statements, current stock quotes, etc., he pieces together a plausible map of how Alien fell apart: “[Dyrdek] held onto it for just about 18 months, before selling DNA for $1.5 million and some stock options to a Carlsbad-based firm called Pacific Vector Holdings, which is described in the press release as ‘a premier action sports retail and consumer brands company.’ This is, if you can’t already tell, where things start to go wrong…”

Read the full post over on his site before ensuing the “Jake to Polar?!” speculation. (2014’s free agency period might be even more insane than last year’s. Our interns are grinding on them pie charts b.)

And just because, here’s another one from the vault for all the Photosynthesis fans:

Never really been sure of that video’s origin, but [*blasphemy alert*] is it okay to like it as much as (if not slightly more than) these two guys’ actual parts in Photosynthesis?


  1. Does anyone know if Dyrdek owns a stake in Pacific Vector Holdings? They also bought Street League and look well dodgy.

  2. Fuck. Is it reasonable to contemplate suicide over this? Fuck.

    So Habitat too huh? Shit the death of my teens and twenties.

  3. Dude don’t give two fucks bout skateboarding. He’s rich and famous. but honestly AWS has been on a decline for sometime now, It’s just gonna be weird not seeing their shit on the walls anymore.

  4. Just saw a clip of Bob Puleo walking around Brooklyn, picking up garbage. Glad to see Im not the only person with mental illness.

  5. Economics 101 – not surprised by this at all. If a huge company buys you out and invests tons of money into softgood product, it had better sell. Otherwise they’ll just liquidate all product to get their money back and close the door on the brand, which is exactly what is happening. Sentiments have no place in big business unfortunately.

  6. people will blame dyrdek and shit but at the end of the day, the original owners are the ones who decided to sell a controlling share of the company to burton or whoever. they were the ones who said yes to corporate money.

    i feel like that gets lost on skaters a lot. it’s not like some corporate entity drugs you and forces you to sign a contract and take their money. all the original dudes said yes, and this is the road they ended up on. i’re sure they wished better for everything but its just part of the game.

    reminds me of the whole fallout from popplardo’s interview where he said converse screwed him when he himself admits he wasnt skating / doing his job. companies care about the bottom line but you’re the one who sign about. nobody is putting a gun to your head.

  7. Just to be clear, Dyrdek never OWNED it per se. He was/is a percentage shareholder in La Jolla group, a licensing firm that owns Metal Mulisha, and a host of other ‘cool’ brands. That was the first company that owned it after Burton, and then the other licensing company bought it afterwards.

    Honestly, say what you will about Burton, but they are still a family owned business that has had the opportunity for a corporate buy out MANY times over the years and has still retained family ownership.

    The first thing La Jolla group did was move most of the company out to California, and a lot of the employees lost their jobs.

    It’s true that shit happens, but man, as far as I’m concerned, the Alien ship sailed a long time ago.

  8. Am I the only one at peace with this?

    It’s better that they ended now instead of going through some weird re-branding where they tarnish our memories. As it is, we will always associate Alien with a certain time and place.

    It’s like when a TV show ends on a high note instead of being dragged on and on.

  9. the facts are that rob bought aws in 2012 then sold it to la jolla group then they sold it to pacific vector and it was la jolla group who put them in debt

  10. maybe they died because the big hand of nike is trying to make corey kennedy win skater of the year. HIs rat poison part is like Ishod’s fourstar part, then corey is gonna come out with a B roll/some fuego part similar to Ishods thrasher part. Then coreys chronicles 3 part will come out. Hopefully the people buy it and he win skater of they year.

  11. Not gonna lie, even though Alien/Habitat has been in decline for years, it still bums me out that this is happening.

    I agree with Kevin, though. At least we won’t have to go through another Blueprint-esque debacle with a pathetic new team and re-branding attempt.

    Still rockin the OG Mosaic poster in my bedroom, and a 40 will be poured out accordingly. Peace.

  12. Also, as a side note.

    @Snack, your use of the winky face is telling me that you do, in fact, have interns.

    I have some witty puns and t-shirt ideas you may be interested in…

  13. To whoever said they don’t care, I don’t care either. I was never a fan. I was not skating much when Photo cam out (I was too urban for skating in that era when skating got real urban.) and when I got back on the board heavy, and people told me Alien was cool, it blew my mind. It was corny AF in the early nineties, and I never dug the aesthetic of the brand, they just had a string of really great riders.

    I think they brand will continue to be around, but not as a core skating brand. It’ll probably end up something like Blind is now.

    Also, PVH does not own Street League, they have a license to create Street League Merchandise.

  14. alien’s design and branding had been off-base for years already… how many of us actually skated an alien deck in the last 5 years?

    i’m psyched, can someone re-issue all the cool graphics from golden age alien now?

  15. @roc: aren’t you the same person who said he loves party girl, crappy 90s romance films and shitty 90s pop music? your opinion on the 90s means nothing.

  16. Ive been skateboarding for 15 years and have bought alot of alien decks over the years. But the past 4 years its all I’ve skated. This is devastating to me. I got alot of love for alien workshop. This last weekend’s purchased $220 worth of alien decks, plan to skate some of them but saving most. Once i cant find anymore workshop decks without paying a ridiculous amount I have no idea what I will ride. Man this seriously blows.

  17. I lost interest in alien a decade ago. Any company that’s turning skateboarders into celebrities to cash in off it is dead in my book and I’m not supporting it. Ie: alien, DC, element, etc. I loved habitat but I lost interest in them after mosaic too. And I loved the aesthetics team and I was happy that when it folded they all picked up shop and moved to zoo. This isn’t so bad, I honestly believe if the cavs trade dyrdek and their 1st overall pick they can get lebron back.

  18. Me and the workshop got a long history. The first time I held an alien deck in my hands was in the early 90s while visiting a friend in the US. I wanted to bring a few boards back home to europe cause they were cheaper in the US. I didn’t get the workship I was too young. I bought differnt boards. It all changed when in the mid 90s the team visited europe for the release of TIMECODE. I got hooked when I saw their demo and even more after purchasing the VHS. I am a fan since that time had countless decks and I regret skating them all to shreds. To a degree I became a collector in the last 10-15 years. Stickers, shirts etc.. Like someone else wrote here – I also haven’t skated one of their boards in probably 5 years. The esthetic of the whole thing went down in my opinion. I kinda saw the end coming but still since I had such a long relation with the brand this is painful. I’m torn between just letting it go or do the same like someone else and grab some of their last boards.

  19. Shocked by Alien Workshop closing down too. I had original reservations when they were bought by Burton a few years ago. But Burton and the MTV backing, really helped them thrive while others went under. And they did some cool things during the Burton years, like keeping the OG logo shirts and OG styles alive.

    For me, they were the first really cool indie company because they were the first cool ones who did it outside of California. The first cool ones who got away from all that skull and bones Thrasher bitter junk.

    Welcome to modern day skateboarding. New formed indie skate companies now sadly have less than 3 year life expectancy if they do not acquire pro-jock-sport mainstream Wall Street backing. Even very cool companies/ideas…..any one remember Bummer High?

    Little hype bleeps in the pages of Thrasher can only save you for so long in this very corporate age of skating.

    At least Habitat will be picked up by Tum Yeto.

    Everybody start sending your “sponsor me” tapes now to Nike, JcPenney’s, Mountain Dew, or better yet any Wall Street firm. Just make sure you still look tough/core in the video while you still maintaining your pearly whites.

  20. AWS I loved them. the concave was like so perfectly medium but not flat. Ive skated these since day one. Found a good new company called fresh skate co. shits got pop. similar to aws but a bit deeper concave

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