I wanted to do long sweeping turns like riding a longboard down the face of a wave
Here is Michaels story:
My story starts out of desperation in the late summer of 2012 ?
I will explain....
After many, many years of experience in stand up paddle boarding here in Kent (England) I’ve managed to get to know lots of cool people who love the "surfy kind of life style" as much as I do, wether that's in riding them in waves or just pleasure cruising around on one of our regular meets/BBQ's , I found that on days when it wasn't quite right to go out on the water, I was looking for something else I could do ?
This came to a head as the seasons got shorter and the nights started drawing in. Especially on the nights the girls of our group regularly got together for what they was calling there "keep fit nights".... Power walking/jogging along our local promenade ? I think it was more of an excuse for them to get together an chat about us blokes ?
Sadly I felt we was missing out on all the fun (and gossip) but I didn't fancy the jogging part, as a general rule I don't do running ? (unless being chased by a dog).
So I started researching something I could do whilst they were doing their thing. I came across some pictures of people land paddling in America on the Internet and thought "that looked cool" and something I felt that came close to stand up paddling/surfing on land, Sorted ! Now all I have to do is try it out......
Anyway after lots of Internet searching and asking questions I managed to get hold of some gear and proceeded in trying all the current range of equipment available at that time out.
But !! I just wasn't happy with how they performed, It wasn't like surfing the Tarmac at all! They all felt like I'd just borrowed a regular "kids toy" skate board ? Too stiff in the trucks that only went in a straight line, a spongy deck that sagged and warped all over the place.... These toys weren't really designed for adults to surf the streets on ?
As an engineer my mind soon got to work on how I could make a specifically designed product that performed to the requirements I wanted, a product that actually felt you was "surfing/carving on dry land". Where you could feel the board grip the Tarmac, not cock it's back legs up ? And lose grip in long swooping turns, or throw you head over heels because of wheel bit. I wanted to feel the energy of every push of your stick transfer into the movement of your board, not be absorbed by it, I wanted to do long sweeping turns like riding a longboard down the face of a wave. Or jump on a shorter board a rip up and down twisting and turning expressing my every movement !
So.....after a years research in design and prototyping, plus I might add spending quite a bit of money on machinery/tools/materials and lots failed ideas ! ...You have to make mistakes or you won't evolve an learn. I came up with a few ideas in boards and sticks that did perform to my high standards.
My boards range in designs from solid wood right through to the very latest in light weight carbon fibre and epoxy resigns, With my sticks to suit. My light weight carbon sticks come out at around 180grams I think, which I've been told is one of the lightest out there.
I've decided to peruse the higher end of the market in design, ie a passion/obsession in light weight designs, a stiff feel to my boards, as well as an nice artistic look to my top decks (you want to look at something beautiful under your feet as well as it feel good) ect...as that's where my more "engineering type" mind and experience leads me too.
As far as what I'm doing now......I'm still designing and learning today, wether that's in new material development or me wanting to push the boundaries of what I can make with these simple hands. I'm not a professional by any means, I'm just a simple man with a shed that likes to find answers to a problem. If people like what I do then I'm blessed. It's all fun and that's what it's all about folks.... Having fun, life's to short.
To end I'd just like to say throughout this journey my enthusiasm and passion must of rubbed off on a few people ? as we are all out as often as we can having fun when we're not on the water and I'm really happy I've found land sup, and helped in its introduction to the local sup community, as there's nothing like cruising the smooth paths/promenade with friends in shorts an flip flops on a late summers evening, chatting an having a laugh while keeping fit at the same time, and not even realising it ?
Plus, I'd like to add its so good to see other people now getting involved in making their own boards, and trying new things. We British are renowned for being "eccentric inventors". Let's keep pushing those boundaries and get out there.....
Contact and info:
Elite Land SUP