Halloween-stamped discs more treat than trick for disc golfers

Disc Nation has a Halloween-themed disc for the fifth straight year. (photo courtesy of Disc Nation)

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Ah, Halloween – the one day of the year where tradition and inhibition take a holiday and let exhibition and fright run amok.

In disc golf, which is already an industry that veers away from convention more often than not on a daily basis, it is an opportunity for both manufacturers and retailers to step outside of their usual routine and add a little flourish with unique holiday stamps encompassing both the aforementioned tradition and exhibition.

Take, for example, Innova Champion Discs and its annual pumpkin discs. Each year, the company releases jack-o-lantern-stamped DX Aviars, DX Rocs, and other assorted molds that give golfers a fun way to ring in the season.

The idea was born out of simple fun and spontaneity, according to the discs’ creator.

“I believe it was 1997, and I was a hot stamper at the time,” said Russell Schwarz, director of special projects for Innova’s east coast office. “I was stamping some orange Aviars, and off the top of my head I went, ‘Hey, I could put a pumpkin face on these things and it would look like a jack-o-lantern.”

Schwarz took the idea to his boss, received the green light for the project and designed the inaugural pumpkin stamp. But it wasn’t something that was a big deal at the time.

“I drew it about 25 times to make it look like a little kid drew it and I made a stamp,” Schwarz recalled. “We stamped, oh, I don’t know, 100, 150 of them? It wasn’t anything formal, we just did it and we sold them. That was all there was to it.”

Jump ahead a decade and a half, and pumpkin-stamped Aviars are a yearly staple for Innova that customers look forward to.

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Company Closeup: Skulboy Designs

A Skulboy design.

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Thinking back to the days of middle school and high school, most people can probably recall that one artistic kid who would doodle on people’s binders and scrawl intricate scenes for the most mundane of assignments.

Duncan Crawford was that kid.

“I’m the guy that people remember as the one drawing on everybody’s notebooks,” said Crawford, the mind behind Skulboy Designs. “I’ve gone barbarians and superheroes pretty much since I was a kid.”

Duncan Crawford at work on a design.

As an adult, Crawford has taken his art from the notebooks to the disc golf course, as he pens unique, skull-filled custom stamps under the moniker Skulboy Designs. Known for aggressive, hand-drawn renditions of skeletons, skulls, and images both mythical and historical, Crawford has gained a following among disc golfers looking for more than the traditional stamp on their plastic.

And while his designs have developed a following, their gestation was born out of simply wanting something interesting for himself.

“Once I started collecting discs and getting discs, I found that there were not enough skulls on discs,” he said. “I’ve always been a skull guy. I love skulls, and there just weren’t enough, you know?”

Based in Monrovia, California, Crawford is surrounded by a bevy of courses and an established disc golf scene, which is where he found his path to stamp design. Playing many rounds at Sylmar Veterans Park – home of Steve and Bamba Rico of Legacy Discs – helped Crawford jump into the process by designing a custom stamp for the course’s 2010 Summertime Open.

The disc design that helped get it all going.

Crawford’s relationship with Bamba Rico was what really got the business off the ground.

“I did a stamp for him, then I started doing t-shirt designs for him,” Crawford said. “And that’s what got it all started.”

But when Crawford began to explore the idea of putting more of his designs on discs to sell on his own, he found the bulk orders that Innova and other manufacturers required to be cost prohibitive.

But a chance opportunity soon came his way — in the form of missing out on a tournament — as he was able to meet Dan Mangone, the owner of Discovering the World, a disc golf shop that happens to be the main West Coast distributor for Latitude 64 golf discs.

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