Soft Surfboard Company Raises £500,000 via Crowdcube

Jason Lock

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Updated 30d ago

It certainly speaks volumes when two brothers raise more than £500,000 towards the manufacturing of what could be the world's most robust and eco-friendly soft top surfboards.

Ireland-based Skunkworks Surf Co took to Crowdcube to fund the next stage of their business progression, securing around 400 investors and a total of £504,890.

Ricky and Chris Martin, from Portrush, have been manufacturing boards that are being exported to surf schools across the globe. But, since coming second place out of 900 UK based businesses, in 2016 in the Voom: Pitch To Rich Campaign with tycoon Richard Branson, they've upscaled their operations and moved into a 16,000 sq ft factory in Coleraine.

Speaking about the campaign, Ricky said: "Our boards are revolutionary. We identified a need among surf schools across the globe and we came up with a solution.

“Mending broken foam boards used by surf schools is the single biggest expense of running a surf school, and, as the owner of Alive Surf School, this was becoming a major problem. We thought, if we are having to deal with this then every surf school around the globe is dealing with it too. The past few years have been a whirlwind for us because we came up with the idea in my garage, developed it, created a prototype and we ran with it.

"The interest has been phenomenal but it was time for us to reach out to the surfing and business community in Northern Ireland and across the globe so we launched a hugely successful campaign.

"Our boards are being sold globally. Last year, we shipped over 600 boards to surf schools in Norway, France, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, the UK and Ireland. This year we aim to multiply that figure by six."

At the launch of the Crowdcube campaign the brothers announced their ambitious plans to become totally waste free by 2020.

"In the past 12 months we have partnered up with Jaguar Landrover in their Waste To Waves initiative." said Ricky. "The project involved recycling plastic foam from early vehicle design models to give them a second life in the form of surfboards. “Polyurethane used in the creation of early design studio models will now be turned into surfboards by our specialised team here at the Skunkworks factory. Our collaboration with Jaguar Landrover pioneered new ways to reuse waste materials creating the next evolution in surfboards.

"Protecting our oceans from plastic is hugely important to us so everyone who has invested in us as part of this campaign will join us in our journey. We are focused on waste free manufacturing by 2020. Our decision making process has always centred around our commitment to the environment.

"Our plans are so exciting for the future. We have new products in the pipeline, we are getting a new e-commerce site which will be launched this summer and our new leash has been put through rigorous testing and we believe it is the strongest leash in the world."

"We would like to thank each of the 426 investors, the team at Crowdcube, our in-house team and everyone who helped us spread the word, for being part of our journey and we are looking forward to the future."