Collective Feature: Introducing Norwaii
Posted on January 07 2020
This cool collective of boards and buses have been around since 2010. As any great brand does, the team at Norwaii actually live the lifestyle that their brand represents. From the roads to the waves to the slopes - Norwaii's slick style is instantly recognisable, and transfers easily into the design of their longboards. In this Cool Flo Collective, we'll take a look at Norwaii's brand, and put a magnifying glass over their awesome custom built VW Junior Split Delivery van.
The Norwegian friends Kjetil, Vegard and Marius - longboarders come entrepreneurs - wanted to create a brand that represented the retro vibe they had come to love. One that specialises in designing unique longboards with their retro ethos at its core. Their name, Norwaii, reflects the roots of the friends and their company. It's adapted from the phrase: 'Hawaii of the North', the proud title the team have for their home country of Norway. Hawaii does more for the brand than just lend itself to their name. For Norwaii, the scene in Hawaii had a resounding effect, one which showcases throughout their products. Designs inspired by classic Hawaiian surf boards have been combined with retro stripes on Norwegian timber to complete the ultra-cool blend in their products.
It doesn't just end with Hawaii, as a plethora of influences from across the outdoor scene are represented in their brand, from skateboarding to windsurfing to skiing. And the vehicle to home this family of lifestyles, the final brick in the foundation of their influence - the VW.
The famous Volkswagen Split Van seemed the natural icon to take the helm of Norwaii's branding drive. As a symbol of counter-culture, and with a 'free-living' mantra, the VW bus encompasses the lifestyles that the longboard company represents. To emphasise their passion for VW, Norwaii did what any great VW fan would do - they got their hands dirty on some cool customisation!
Wanting to do something different, the team got creative. While online they came across a fibre glass VW bus which was scaled down 1:2,4 and this quirky convert is what inspired them to build that awesome Go-Kart VW Bus! Now, we all know that there's no result without a process - being VW heads and all. So now down to the good bit - the nitty gritty.
The scaled down bus has previously been used as a side car on the scooter. With nothing but the fibre glass body functioning properly, team Norwaii knew they had their work cut out if they wanted to repurpose it into a fully-functional go kart. Yet, with the help of their friend Anders, another VW enthusiast and skilled mechanic, the boys at Norwaii had their plans in place.
The team started with the body, adding wooden ribs and applying a thicket coat in order to strengthen it's structure in preparation for the custom work. Next, and with extreme attention to detail, they applied masking to the body and windows of their bus, ready for painting. A fantastic custom VW paint style was designed and applied, which artfully incorporated Norwaii's logo and hallmark stripes to outstanding effect.
With the body work done, it was time to work on the gut of the project - building a functional go-kart. The chassis proved quite the challenge, because they had to find a suitable equivalent to meet their specific needs. They decided to use a Yamaha KT 100 as a working frame, which provided steering and braking. But a lot more customisation work would be needed to make it compatible. The wheels and tyres were custom fit, and the 120cm wide frame needed to be re-worked down to 65cm, almost halving it. Their friend Anders worked hard cutting and shaping the frame to fit the body. For the engine, a 1000W electric engine from a scooter was matched with a lithium 48V battery from an electric bicycle, creating more than enough power for the job.
The battery was welded to the rear of the frame and low to the ground to allow proper distribution of weight. In that way they could also maintain the retro look which was so important with the VW Go-Kart. The engine has a chain that pulls directly into the rear axle, while the main throttle is secured behind the seat and is connected to the main pedal through a cable running along the framework. The original brake pads and pedals have been modified to fit the custom work. A seat from Kirkey Drag was specifically chosen to match the VW scale down, and finally a custom roof rack was fitted, featuring mahogany bars to add that extra shine to the finished product. Norwaii are proud to tell of how crucial Anders was to this project - a real dedication to his passion! All in all, this small bus packs a big punch.
All the hard work paid off, and the VW Go-Kart is a great success. Their secret is simple - the Norwaii team invested as much attention to detail and quality control to building the kart as they do building their longboards. So what better way to showcase talents! While the kart's full power hasn't been tested yet, it's estimated to be able to run flat out at its top speed of 21mph (35kph) for a full hour! There's a small catch, because not just anyone can take it out for a spin. It has a maximum height of 5.2" (158cm), so its mostly for kids - but that makes it unique, and encourages kids and therefore the family and the community to get involved - which is symbolic of VW culture. Norwaii achieved in making a VW Go-Kart true to the iconic VW bus, scaled down and designed with the utmost attention to detail. In doing so, Norwaii have proved that they embody the spirit of VW and longboarding culture.
The guys at Norwaii do not only design rad longboards and share their VW voyages, but they also hand-draw VW illustrations which pop right off the page! So do give them a follow on both Instagram and Facebook.
You can check out Norwaii's super cool longboards and other products on their site at norwaiilongboards.com