Not everyone has the luxury of living by an ocean. And when you think about it, most of us live somewhere landlocked.
So if you’re living far from the coast and thinking you simply can’t have the beach perfect surfer body, then think again.
Street-surfing comes with a host of fitness benefits that are similar to sea surfing. In fact, as a sea surfer, I go and hit the turf with a longboard to get myself ready for the swells.
Yes, longboarding is super fun and almost anyone can do it regardless of age or experience level. But, that doesn't mean it's a walk in the park without tremendous health and fitness benefits.
Many longboarders consider this recreational activity as a part of their workout routine because it has so many positive effects on the body. And the best part is, longboarding is an outdoor workout that you will love, which means you will want to stick with it even if you do get tight muscles afterwards.
Cardio is every exercise that makes your heart beat faster, and longboarding does just that. By moving your body, you are elevating your heart rate and making your cardiovascular system stronger. Ultimately, cardio exercise helps your body deliver more oxygen to your muscles and burn more fat during the workout.
Aside from strengthening your heart, longboarding also improves your lung capacity and builds your stamina.
If you want a solid cardio workout on your longboard, try making it a part of your work day. For example, you can try longboarding on your commute. Shorter models are ideal for this because they are light and easily portable; just like the Biscuit that fits inside a backpack.
You can boost your cardio intensity and get the blood pumping with a SUP Skate Paddle.
By kicking your feet and paddling at the same time, you are making your whole body work harder than usual, resulting in intense cardio core workout while having a bag of fun.
Longboarding is possibly the most enjoyable way to lose those unwanted bits. Slam on your longboard and after only an hour of skating, you’ll burn 300 calories in a 125-pound person and 444 calories in an 185-pound person.
Skate every day and you’ll be burning between 2000 – 3000 calories a week. See why our Hamboards community looks so fit?
At this point, it’s important to remember that a healthy balanced diet will help you lose fat quicker and stay toned.
Related Article – The Complete Guide To A Surfer’s Diet
Longboarding also helps you strengthen the muscles of the whole body.
First of all, there's the legs which play the biggest role. You need to balance on the board with one leg, push yourself with the other, brake, pump and do the turns. You need your leg strength for all of these. And as soon as you start longboarding, you'll notice your gluteuses and quads tightening.
Once you slam on that board with your paddles, you start to fire your muscle fibers. This allows you to generate serious muscle power.
Longboarding is a complete physical sport/activity. When you paddle down the turf, several muscles kick into action –
latissimus dorsi and
Longboarding will also help you strengthen your core and maybe even wake up those sleepy abs.
Yes, your legs will be doing most of the work, but your core will help you keep the balance on the board and do all those maneuvers. Don't be surprised if you feel like you've been doing crunches after a longboarding session.
If you're not particularly active, you can also expect to feel a little stiffness in your arms. As you're balancing on the board and doing the stunts and turns, your arms are going to be spread out or moving along with your body. So, there may be some unexpected tightness in your biceps and triceps too.
Longboarding burns some 4 to 7 calories per minute, making it quite a solid aerobic activity. But aside from being a great cardio and strength exercise, longboarding also helps you increase your entire body's flexibility.
And, even though we mostly have weight-loss and muscle strength in mind as the goals when we start working out, flexibility should not be overlooked. A flexible body is more dynamic and it stays young longer.
This will also prevent injuries both on and off the longboard.
Improved balance is one of the best exercise benefits that longboarding brings.
If you're one of those people who have trouble standing on one leg, longboarding might help you with that.
This hobby is also great if you want to improve your coordination and overall body balance. And you'll notice that as soon as you step on the board and realize that switching your weight from one leg to two and vice versa isn't as easy as it seems.
There are several other benefits of Longboarding like increased stamina, stress-relief, self-gratification and confidence, mental health, better sleep, stronger bones. The list goes on.
Whether you do longboarding as a casual pastime in the park, or you use it to travel to work every day, you are doing something positive for your body. And you don't have to break your back to become fitter and improve your shape.
That's the magic of longboarding. Just get out there, have fun and feel the good vibes take over your body. Soon, you'll notice that you're healthier and that you feel great in your skin.
To be honest even seven months ago, I was completely oblivious to the existence of Turkish Towels. I was happily dabbing myself dry with the standard terry-cotton ones.
Like most of us, I never related my towels to luxury. It was just something to dry myself with. Pretty sad.
And then a friend of mine introduced to me these cool SandCloud Turkish Towels.
And what happened next?
I completely went all out for these fab, absorbent and super soft Turkish Towels.
And when I heard that the company actually uses part of their profit to protect our oceans and conserve marine life, I decided to include their towels as our new product line.
These awesome SandCloud Towels have the same personality as Hamboards, so it was a no brainer.
You can tuck these in your backpack’s front chamber and ride to the beach. On top, they are versatile, you can throw them on the beach or by the poolside, wear them as a sarong or scarf and can even use them as a summer throw.
Let me explain a bit more before you scroll down straight away and get one for yourself.
Turkey is known for some of the highest quality cotton in the world. And that’s what these babies are made of – the finest quality Turkish cotton.
This cotton is woven with longer staple fibers than average terry-cloth which makes the fabric softer, stronger and more absorbent. Seriously, it is better in every way.
These towels, also known as Peshtemal or Hammam towels are the ultimate thing of luxury. They are traditionally hand-woven on looms in Turkey and have been part of the rich traditional Turkish Bath (Hammam) for centuries.
The soft cotton is lightweight and super absorbent and they dry up way faster than their heavyweight terry-cotton counterparts.
Plus, the SandCloud Turkish towels come in bright colors and cool quirky patterns.
And what more? Throw it on the beach, pick it up and the sand won’t stick to it.
And the colors are so cool that some people are using them to decorate their rooms as tapestries. Imagine hanging your ordinary towel as an embellishment for your living or bedroom.
On top of that, these Turkish cotton towels are so durable that they’ll keep you company on the beach or the poolside for years to come.
Here’s a typical review of of SandCloud Towels. And there are thousands of them.
LOVE THE FEEL AND COLORS
Great little towel! Love the feel and that sand doesn't stick! Vibrant colors look great regardless of weather. Bought 2, the 2nd one as a gift but the colors may not be equal as they are hand-dyed. Dries quickly and doesn't take much space. Perfect for the beach!
BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY WAY!
I absolutely love my sand cloud towel! Before I even unrolled it and used it, I received 2 compliments! The pattern and color are gorgeous!
Every other review pretty much carries the same tone. And that says a lot about these hand-loomed exotic towels.
The SandCloud Turkish Towels are 100% Turkish cotton, soft, sturdy, absorbent and smooth. And there’s a soft or funky design to match your style or if your décor (if you’re an interior designer).
I’m going to let you decide this one. That fact is there wasn’t even a fair fight. These exotic towels out-do our old fashioned traditional towels in every way.
So, think luxury and comfort for patting yourself dry or just going to the beach. Your body will love the touch.
And oh! I forgot to mention. You’ll become a part of the growing Eco-Friendly family when you buy these babies from SandCloud Towels.
Before you dip your feet in the water or get tight with the exciting world of landsurfing, there's one question that you need to answer: Is it a longboard or a shortboard?
This is the ultimate dilemma every surfing beginner has had on their mind.
Whether you're surfing the waves or paves with Hamboards, you need to pick the board that you'll be most comfortable with.
So, let's settle this question once and for all - what is the difference between a longboard and a shortboard? And, which one is right for you?
When talking about classic surfboards, longboards are considered to be the surfboards above 9 feet. Obviously, these boards are the longest ones and have the biggest surface. And, it's their volume that makes them more stable and easy to navigate in the water.
This is exactly why the beginners usually opt for longboards as they're learning the ropes of this thrilling sport. A longboard will give you more space to plant your feet and safely carve the swells and curves when you’re on land.
But, don't be fooled thinking that a longboard equals boring surf. Yes, longboards are meant for smaller, mellower waves, but they provide an amazing feel of gliding through the water that a shortboard cannot give you. And, they are the first choice for the fans of nose-riding.
The same goes for your new Hamboard. Its volume will give you the security and balance as you're navigating the paves. But you won't lose that feeling of freedom and wind in your hair as you're gliding smoothly and effortlessly.
However, if you're surfing the pavement, you should ideally get used to a shorter logger before riding the big guy.
But hey, then again, there’s no rule saying you can’t have the big logger for your first board.
There is one important difference between traditional surfboards and Hamboards. On land, only the experienced riders choose the longboards since they are larger and heavier, thus more difficult to navigate.
Our signature longboard is the Classic. Dubbed "our most noseridable board," you can already tell this board promises a lot of fun.
We named the model "Classic" due to its classic style and performance. This board captures the essence of surfing and brings insane maneuverability that advanced riders will love.
Once you get the hang of surfing the barrel with a longboard, it's time to switch to the shortboard. These boards are shorter and smaller in volume, which makes them more challenging to navigate. But, their aerodynamic shape and design also make them incredibly fun to ride.
There's nothing quite similar to the sharp cuts and pivots you can do with a shortboard, provided you have enough skill and confidence. Precisely because of that, shortboards are usually a better choice for the experienced surfers.
Shortboards provide the best feeling in strong, powerful waves and there's a great deal of timing necessary to get the surf just right as you come face to face with these monstrous waves.
You won't have to worry about the waves on your Hamboard, but you'll still enjoy the same shortboard feeling on land. In fact, our shortboards are designed to fit the beginners.
With one of the shorter models, you can enjoy the thrill of the sharp turns, instant changes of direction and other maneuvers even as you're just starting out.
One of the shortboard models we're most proud of is our adorable Biscuit. It's so simple to ride that even kids can do it. And they actually do - this is our youngest fans' favorite board.
A Biscuit is great for practicing until you're ready to hit a larger board, and it's super convenient and easily portable. It fits inside a backpack!
We've settled the dilemma!
While traditional longboards provide stability in the water, land riders should probably steer clear of them as they're starting out. Longboards' volume and weight could cause problems to the beginners so they're a better choice for the advanced riders.
When it comes to the shortboards, in tradition surfing, they are usually the go-to boards for the experienced and the professionals. But, in land surfing, shortboard is the ideal board for those who are just starting out and learning the ropes.
So, what's your next ride going to be - a longboard or a shortboard? Let us know in the comments!
Here at Hamboards, we usually talk about boards, wheels, springs, woodcraft, freedom of motion, fitness etcetera etcetera.
Today I wanted to talk about something else, something that is as well very close to my heart - our oceans.
If you’re a surfer or simply grew up by the seaside, chances are that you’ve already felt the deep connection that is between you and the ocean swells, the rhythm of the waves, the vibrancy and life inside.
But let's leave all that blissful connection aside for a minute and see what the oceans actually do for us.
Oceans make our air breathable. They absorb 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere and produce 70-80% of all the air we breathe.
Without the oceans and the life in it, we would simply suffocate.
No matter how close or far you live from the shores, oceans and the life in them affect your life and the lives of your families and friends.
Life on land is intimately dependent on the oceans.
Historically, we used to think that we can never take too much out or put too much waste in our waters. WE WERE WRONG!
According to a recent report, approximately 2,270 marine species are listed as endangered or threatened.
Time to act before it’s too late.
Whether you’re living close to the coastline, or hundreds of miles away, we can all take part in preserving these beautiful oceans and life in them.
And we can do this just by being a little more thoughtful and carrying out little acts of kindness.
Education - The best way to help marine life is by spreading awareness. Give yourself a little bit of time and learn more about life in the oceans. Most of us are oblivious to the existence of creatures like Vaquita or other porpoises.
The more you learn, the more you will understand and connect with the oceans and the lives within. Take that knowledge and start spreading the awareness.
Donate – There are a plethora of organizations in need of funds to help aid conservation.
Save the Vaquita is one of many trying to prevent their extinction with less than 30 remaining in 2016.
We are doing our best to support life in our seas and raise awareness.
You too can help
Eat sustainable food: Global fishing industry is facing a meltdown. According to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75% the world’s fisheries are now overexploited or fully exploited and significantly depleted.
Irresponsible fishing habits with Gill-nets and poaching has led to the near extinction of Vaquitas today.
Eat Eco-Friendly Fishes and try eating local as much as possible. When shopping, look for fishes that are harvested in a sustainable way.
Adopt (Symbolic) – No, you do not need to house one in your swimming pool. You can adopt a sea animal at the National Marine Life Center for as little as $85.
You’ll receive a certificate, a picture of the animal and some other cool goodies to remind you of your generous contribution.
Clean your local beach – Did you know a jaw dropping 8 million tons of plastic go to the ocean each year? You can grab a few friends and have a fun day out while cleaning the beach.
This will not only keep your beaches clean but will also prevent marine life from getting ill from toxic litters.
Ditch Plastic – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a boundless soup of microscopic litter debris.
The image above might convince you to break up with plastic altogether. This non-biodegradable hazard sits quietly in our household and ends up in our oceans.
Plastic bags decompose in 20 years and plastic bottles take up to 450 years.
You can use paper bags or take your own bag when going shopping.
Stop buying bottled water. Carry your own cool Save The Fishies Glass Water Bottle.
“A 2008 investigation by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found some bottled water is sullied with untested industrial chemicals” (National Geographic).
This way, you save money, fossil fuel (used for transporting bottled water and keeping them chilled) and conserve our oceans.
Our little blue planet is turning into litter-sphere because of our unsustainable lifestyle.
The earth’s getting hotter, the ice caps are melting, air is getting more and more toxic, life on earth is disappearing.
Small acts of understanding and kindness from us can go a long way to change this. When we all set ourselves small goals, it’ll help the bigger picture.
We deserve a better life, our future generation deserves a greener planet. And we can do this together.
“I love my towel ... I always have it in my bag now :) it's sooo pretty and convenient... hoping to purchase the save the fishies water bottle next”.
Whether you're just starting out and buying your first board, or you're switching to a longboard from a shorter board, you should know that size matters.
In fact, we've compiled a list of 10 things all longboarders must know before stepping on their boards and riding the pave.
While regular longboards range from 8 to 14 feet in length, Hamboards' sizes are a little different. In our collection, longboards are all boards between 5' and 6'6'' in length. You can check them out in the Comparison Board to see which board size suits you best.
Hamboards don't really have a weight limit, and riders of all sizes can use them. But, there are some guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your board and get the best performance. So, while Biscuit is often recommended to kids, our longboards are perfect for adult riders over 100 lbs.
This is another crucial difference between our land boards and regular surfboards. In surfing, longboards are recommended to the beginners because of their larger volume and ease of navigation.
However, at Hamboard we have one for everyone.
Whereas the baked, seasoned skate-heads might find the ultimate joy of thrashing on our Logger, I might not recommend it for beginners unless you're like me and want to learn it the hard way. Since they are heavier, they do require a certain amount of skill for the best performance and experience on the board.
There's an easier way to get the best out of longboards for the beginners and intermediate riders.
I suggest the Classic. Only minimal effort releases the Classic’s natural flowing urge to roll, allowing it to sustain momentum better than any other longboard. It's great if you're just starting and a complete dream plank for the intermediate riders.
Still not sure whether you need a shortboard or a longboard? Check out our blog on the dilemma here.
Whether you're a pro surfer, a surfing enthusiast, or you've never stepped on the surfboard before, it doesn't matter. A longboard like our Classic will make you feel like you're riding the actual swell in the ocean. Hamboard longboards capture the essence of surfing and cater to those who wish to control every portion of the wave - even on dry land.
All three of our longboards provide that ultimate combination of classic style and impeccable performance. A Classic will blow your mind with an incredible momentum that no other board can match. Whereas a Logger is perfect for cruising, noseriding and just enjoying that familiar surfing sensation.
Quality is incredibly important to us. That's why all our boards (longboards and shortboards) are extremely durable and built to stand the test of time.
Classics are carefully constructed with the finest materials including hand-painted, laminated birch deck or super-hard bamboo. The same top-notch quality bamboo is what we use for Pingers, while Loggers are made from American Black Walnut blended with White Aspen stringers.
All three models are protected with durable solvent-free UV resistant grip coating.
Once you learn the ropes of land boarding and learn a few tricks, longboards will blow your socks off. Classics and Pingers are dubbed the world's most surfable longboards, so you already know you're in for a memorable ride. They combine stability with insane maneuverability for incredible stunts and turns.
Great thing about longboards is that they adjust to your riding style so easily. Just pick out your ideal longboard and match it to your style.
Classics, as their name suggests, are perfect for that classic surf-style riding and landpaddling that will almost make you feel like you're in the water. Their slightly shorter cousin Pinger is the ideal blend of carving, noseriding and landpaddling. And, our shortest longboard Logger is awesome all around; great for cruising, noseriding and thrashing.
It's no secret that Hamboards aims to recreate the authentic surf feeling. That's why the boards are shaped, sized and structured to perfectly capture that sensation.
But, did you know that our boards are created by serious athletes? Classics, for example, were hand-crafted by athletes obsessed by recreating the true experience of surfing.
While the groms (under 8-year old riders) might find these longboards a little hard to carry around (who adore pumping our shortboards), there are no particular age groups for riding the longboards. That’s what makes them so fantastic - anyone can enjoy them.
It doesn't matter whether you're 23 or 63; you will fall in love with your board instantly. You don’t have to be fit or have any previous training either. As long as you're up for it, you can ride the pave.
Is there something we missed? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.
And if you found this helpful, please share it within your circle.
Hamboards team rider and SUP professional Mo Freitas and his friends take a break from a Pro SUP Surf contest to ride Hamboards at the end of Route 76 near Crystal Pier in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Hamboards proving to be one of the best short boarder, long boarder, and SUP boarder training tool. Especially with our SUPSkate paddles.
Every surfer knows the feeling- the swell just ended, you had the time of your life catching tubes all day for the past few days, and you are beyond stoked. Your arm feels like jello and the rest of your body is fatigued to where all you can really do is sleep and eat after surf. As the saying goes- surf, eat, sleep, repeat. As the swell dries up, you look into the forecast for the next few days and all you can think about is how many more tubes and waves you can there are on the horizon. As with most situations in life, the perfect swell never lasts. Perfect waves come and go.
Cycles occur as with anything. First comes the shoulder period, where waves are generally playful. Then, comes the swell- waves light up, barrels go off with overhead and double overhead sets coming through. Finally, after the swell, comes the dry spell. The dry spell can last for a few days, and sometimes up to over a week. A flat day is neither good nor bad, if you spend your time well enough in preparation for the next swell. In fact, flat spells can be a good thing because just like wave cycles, the body goes through cycles that mimic patterns of waves. The cycle of the body looks like this - warm up, full exertion, rest and recovery, repeat.
Surfing is a multi-faceted sport, utilizing muscle groups all throughout the body. A flat day can be best utilized by resting and allowing the body to recover or by surfing on land. Nothing beats a true surfing experience on land, as it enables your body to utilize and activate muscle groups that mimic surfing, while still providing aid in that recovery phase. A true surfing experience on land is unparalleled in surf preparation, not to mention, it is really fun!
The Hamboards Family
The Biscuit ~ Highly flexible, highly maneuverable, shifty, and resembles the feeling of skimboarding. This board is perfect for practicing quick turns and developing the coordination for rapid changes in direction - a highly technical skill especially when applied in the water.
The Classic ~ When it comes to getting that surfing experience on land, the classic is the quintessential board for the airy, free feeling of longboarding. The board rides smooth with a kind of effortless sensation. You can ride the nose and maneuver just like you’re on water. You can grab the rail and change direction with ease, gliding on land like a hot knife on butter.
The Pescadito ~ For the serious surfer who wants to train and get that short board feeling on land, the Pescadito is the way to go. Just like on water, you can pump to gain speed, and create massive turns that emulate John Florence-like hacks (airs not included). Create turns on tight corners, grab the rail for immediate change in direction, or practice those pumps down the line to create room for different maneuvers.
Stand Up Paddle ~ For the stand up paddlers a.k.a suppers, Hamboards offers a patented, in-house designed land paddle, with a flexible rubber tip. This allows you to surf in form, and use the paddle for balance, while creating tight turns and carves. The flexible tip creates the seamless sensation of paddling while being on land.
There’s really no excuse for not getting that surf routine on a flat day anymore. On any given day, you can take your Hamboard out and literally go surfing on land. Double the surfing means double the results, means double the fun. What makes Hamboards special is the variety of options for different surfers. Whether you want to go carefree and easy, or high performance, you can do them both, with no swell required. Relatively speaking, surfing on land is a lot less work-intensive than that in the water, for obvious reasons, which means, better and more engaged practice for techniques, turns, and hacks. It’s been said that in the sport of surfing, only 5% of the the time is spent on actually surfing, since most of the time is spent on paddling and positioning. That being said, those lazy days can quickly turn into engaged practice sessions with less effort, but with equally important results. Whenever you pump on the board, you can almost imagine going fast down the line, and as you reach an open face, create some room to attack the lip. All it takes is a little bit of imagination to actually surf on land. The next time you find yourself restless on a flat day, just remember that the best surfer is the one catching the most waves and having the most fun, even on land. A flat day is no excuse. Surfing never ends!
The flow and feeling of surfing is only a Hamboard® away…
Hamboards® is a street-ready skateboard that captures the essence of surfing – the skateboards that really feel like surfing. Their motto is “Ride the Pave.”
Each Hamboard model is known for its high quality, handcrafted style and a surfboard-like feel and look. In the surfing community they are known as the closest thing to surfing on land.
Hamboards was founded in 2003 and is operated by the Hamborg family in Huntington Beach, Calif. Pete, 52, the patriarch of this surfing family, is helped by his five lifeguard sons: Gus, Anders, Chapman, Jachin, and Moses. Their mother, Kathy, keeps everyone in line and surfs as well. Holding true to a family style business, cousin Don Sandusky manages the business from the East Coast office, while family friend Basil Krikelis keeps them all legal. Whenever possible, the East Coast team sneaks out to the West Coast for a surfer’s version of a “board meeting.”
Hamboards were initially designed around the Hamborg’s kitchen table and inside their garage. And truth be told, for a long time it was just an overgrown hobby until early 2012 when the transition to being a true business started to occur (surfers take note: this transition stuff is not a totally “stokable” process).
Currently this little family-run company that grew out of a garage down near the beach is selling Hamboards worldwide. The Hamborgs have stayed true to their roots and Hamboards are a fresh and authentic surf/skate brand.
Never designing a “product” but always making a board that they wanted to ride themselves, the Hamboard clan refused to compromise on quality and craftsmanship in every detail. Not realizing “you shouldn’t” design a skateboard the way they have…they went ahead and did it anyway…and came up with something ground breaking.
The result? No matter where you are – the flow and feeling of surfing is only a Hamboard away. There is a little bit of surfer in almost all of us, and everyone has a “California Dream” of one sort or another. When you ride a Hamboard suddenly your body takes your mind to that place in your imagination where you are cruising down the face of a glassy peeling sun-kissed wave in front of a white sand beach thick with palm trees. We know of nothing else that has this magic. Hamboards has the “lightning in a bottle” when it comes to capturing the surfing experience.
To get the biggest selection of Hamboards for purchase you can go to www.hamboards.com. You can also visit upscale surf lifestyle retailers like Huntington Surf and Sport, Ron Jons, Maui and Sons, Aqua East, East of Maui, PB Boys Club, Trident Surf, Maui Nix, and Surf Station – they all carry Hamboards.
For Hamboards rental opportunities check out Jacks on the Beach in Huntington Beach, and Sailing Crazy in New Caney, Texas.
Hamboard riders are already planning something new. With the new Hamboard designed land-paddle, called the Streetsweeper®, the connection with Stand Up Paddleboarding is locked in tight. Suddenly the flow and feel of Stand Up Paddleboarding, plus the excellent workout and fitness challenge, is now as accessible and convenient as grabbing your Hamboard and Streetweeper and hopping on.
The original HAMBOARDS®… Ride The Pave was posted on InventionsStories.com back in November, 2013. We contacted Don Sandusky, Principle at Hamboards and asked him to answer the following questions:
If you had the idea for Hamboards today, what would you have done different?
“For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”, Alexander Pope, 1711. So many layers to that great quote… Hamboards started as a garage hobby about 10 years ago, but the Hamboards company just turned 5. Since we decided to be a company, my single biggest regret is wasting so much time admiring our own beautiful navels and expecting our popularity to motivate the institutional USA retail sales channels to breath our business to life! Yes, we hit the Shark Tank jackpot and we continue to enjoy an outsized, active and engaged social media platform, but being authentic and popular is only a part of business success. If I could roll back the clock to 2012, we could have saved a lot of blood sweat and tears with an immediate and relentless focus deriving a viable/scalable supply chain, engaging a reliable fulfillment center and building a viable direct to consumer “e-commerce machine”. I wouldn’t have wasted nearly so much time, talents and treasure trying to force small-scale manufacturing and pursuing the institutionalized USA Sports Retail sales channel… But then again, we didn’t know what we didn’t know back then.
In what stores and websites can they be found in and how did you make it happen?
In the USA, our primary direct sales channel is our online marketplace, www.hamboards.com and our own Amazon marketplace. Direct sales require intensive focus on product quality, customer service, inventory management and in order to manage it all… a fully synchronized information Technology is critical here. Pioneering through direct sales ain’t easy, but at least we have an opportunity for direct dialog with our own enthusiasts. Our retail shop in Huntington Beach has been great for sinking local roots, but everything in Southern California is administratively cumbersome and very expensive, so the HamShop is far from a financial success. As for the wholesale route, the USA Sports Retail marketplace has been a train-wreck for ~3 years running and the USA Distribution and Specialty Shop approach have been similarly dubious… From our perspective, there’s only consolidation and more pain ahead.
Outside the USA, our primary sales have been through pioneering… what we call Official Brand Importers, who represent our brand online and sell direct to consumers via web and through their own retail shops. We are starting to find success with a handful of traditional territory distributors as well. Our best markets have been Iberia, UK, Scandinavia, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Outside the USA, we sell EXW, which is great business if you can get it. We’ll be at ISPO Munich February 4-8, 2017. Come see us at B6.424 in the surf skate longboard embassy.! (https://www.facebook.com/LongboardEmbassy/)
What is the most challenging obstacle you face today and what is your approach to overcoming it?
No revelation in the fact that the top handful board sports equipment distributors command the majority of revenue and profits, so long as their institutions are aligned and disciplined. In that steady-state, start-up’s, like Hamboards, are worthy of investment because strategic partnerships are reasonably common and additive… But when the industry Commanders fail, the pioneers suffer even worse.
The traditional USA Retail sales channel has been in absolute shambles while it restructures and reacts to e-commerce. The little guys get hurt the worst… and here’s how… The small brands are often consigned at these large retailers. Bankrupt retailers are liquidating consigned sporting goods in their shops (e.g., 50%-40% discount) and the Courts are agreeing to Terms of Settlement such that the Retailer pays the manufacturers 60% of the proceeds… So: 50% of retail price * 60% = 30%, which probably is below the innovative manufacturers costs of goods sold. The small branded innovators can’t even claw-back their own consigned inventory to sell themselves. (http://www.kccllc.net/sportsauthority/document/1610527160401000000000029, pages 5 to 8). These innovators are at the end of the line and hardly stand a chance. That math inverts most of the small and innovative equipment manufacturers that relied upon these Retailers. The board sports industry, by its very design, is thriving with innovation, competition and freshness. Leadership has failed the industry when innovation is ignored and pioneers are discouraged.
It’s still problematic. Now,.. the primary board sports manufacturers and distributors have full warehouses, so they’re cramming inventory down through all manner of discounted sales channels. The current cadre of industry leaders seem to be desperately groping between each other for bigger slices of a shrinking pie. I think of it like they stuck big straw inside a blueberry pie and sucked half the insides out and now they’re fighting over the slices. None of this is because of a lack of innovation or consumer demand… but because that’s how the industry has been managed. Distributors are competing against Retailers while Manufacturers are attempting to go direct in effort to end-run the entire mess. Amazing… These circumstances are debilitating the start-ups and sports equipment innovators. Specialty retailers who operate with limited cash flow anyway, are flooded with copy-cat product lines and liquidation promotions… All of this may seem necessary to CFO’s and bankers but, but these tactics are damaging to the entire industry. Over the last two years there have been myriad restructuring (bankruptcies) of sports equipment retailers, and some of the admirable few of the better managed retailers, like Big 5 (https://sgbonline.com/big-5-sees-q4-earnings-reaching-high-end-of-guidance/) have captured value.
Hamboards approach to avoiding the herd mentality has been what I call the “prairie dog approach”… We keep working on authentic innovation and direct sales. We pop-up opportunistically when it’s clear and keep our heads down otherwise. We actually have a working company so Hamboards continues to focus on innovative product and communication with our enthusiasts. We are fortunate to connect with an admittedly small group of enthusiastic customers, but they are worldwide and we benefit by a highly relevant and engaged direct dialog. It’s way more work, and much smaller-scale than we would like, but at least we’re not charging off a financial cliff.
If your readers know of or have a niche surf/skate/board sports product, and a brand that fits with the HAMBOARDS lifestyle… and you would like to explore a fit with us to reach direct to consumer marketplaces, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We think that an authentic, niche business doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to location, but you must face facts: the USA Retail channel is in shambles and AMAZON has already established the consumer expectation standard for direct to consumer e-sales. So, if you’re going to step-up to running a worldwide, direct to consumer niche marketplace, you better 1) have a scalable and reliable supply solution, 2) have a reliable fulfilment and customer service solution, 3) master synchronized information technology and 4) embrace the fact that the world is truly flat! At Hamboards, purely by necessity, we’ve mastered this approach (in a very small but scalable way) and we’re looking forward to adding more innovative niche brands to our rapidly expanding marketplaces.
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