A little Background On Us and Why We “Live The Tiki Life”…
We have a fun little story to share concerning our path…
Our Tiki symbol is stem from the ancient fun loving godking of water and waves, the legendary Inca sun god Tiki Vichara, who in Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki memoires is said to have traveled from Peru to Polynesia.
The exciting part is that the art of Surfing arguably came from Peru and was further practiced by the South Americans that came to inhabit Tahiti and later the Hawaiian islands. Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl successfully drifted 4600 miles on a balsa raft from Peru to Tahiti in 1947 to prove his theory, yet still most anthropologists are skeptic to his findings. Have a look at art from Peru compared with Tahitian art while checking on the map of current and lastly try one of the ancient Peruvian balsa surf boards.
Our original Tiki drawing is from New Caledonia and we have worked with Thai and Tahitian artists to evolve him over the last 20 years. The Starboard name is the innovate quality assuring part of our brand’s culture.
The word starboard comes from the Old Norse words stýri meaning “rudder” and borð meaning etymologically “board”, then the “side of a ship”. In sailing terms crafts give way to other crafts on Starboard tack. There are some Norwegian international roots in this story knowing that the tiny town Arendal where Svein Rasmussen was born, once was the second largest ship building area in the world. That Svein’s Norwegian street address is Kittelsbukt 32 and that the Worlds largest marine Protection & Indemnity insurer Gard is Kittelsbukt 31 is another assuring coincidence. We enjoy creating. The art and color contrasts are reflections of us, the people associated with Starboard. We discuss between ourselves, our riders and distribution partners when evolving next years looks.
We see that people in different parts of the world enjoy different colors choices and that there is an ongoing evolution which is slightly re-adjusted each year. More than anything the world is ready for more bright and fun colors and we had a lot of fun working on the 014 looks to create a distinguished line up reflecting that paddle boarding is on the cutting edge as fashion and music.
When it comes to R&D…
We are frankly speaking, quite paranoid about being ahead of the game. We introduced full Sandwich Carbon boards for wave and Allround boards 4 years ago and already the weight savings are up to 3 kg or well over 6 pounds. The impact that weight has on how your board rides is tremendous. When you lift a board at the aft section you will realize the impact that swing weight has.
We design wise and realize we cannot test a carbon sandwich wave board against a glass or wood board, as the technology difference most likely will outweigh even a good shape improvement. Even an 11 time Surf world champion has been trying out our carbon Pro models so this works for everyone. Not one single Carbon sandwich wave board out of the thousands that are used on a daily bases the world over have snapped as far as we know.
We developed the Whopper 5 years ago. It was bringing wave riding to the people. Imagine a board at 10’x 34” at a time where most wave shapes were no wider than 30” and often 11′ long . By now the Whopper dimensions may be normal, but at the time of introduction people were amazed and other brands probably thought we were insane and taking risks.
We further went for the Atlas extra at 11’2” x 36” to ensure that anyone could get into paddle boarding . When Svein’s 86 year old father came to visit in Thailand we built him the 39” wide Big Daddy, so he could enjoy the sport as well. Then we explored the short board revolution and were probably the first brand to bring out a board under 10 foot, the first under 9 foot, then 8′ and even the first under 7 foot.
Our Race board designer Mathieu Rauzier, is a nautical architect and is for example able to calculate the speed and resistance of the race boards in his computer simulations. The best potential designs get cut on our 5 axis CNC machine and then go into the water on our test program.
Looking at race board evolutions, we already in 2008 paddled on 22″ wide boards designed for flat water. The late Jim Drake was drawing up these designs and they won the first ever Paddle board World Cup , the Jever Cup, in Hamburg. They were insanely fast and were soon banned as they had a fin in the middle of the hull to help stabilize the narrow board. Jim Drake, the inventor of windsurfing, also designed the X15 which still after 40 years holds the speed world record for manned flight. His great interest the last years was paddle boarding and we still work on some of his ideas with his sons.
In 1993 we introduced Windsurfing boards in wood sandwich. We were together with our first shaper, Jean Louis Colmas, the originators of this technology and it took 5 years before others went the same direction. One year, these wooden hulls designed with the help of Jim Drake, were actually winning 18 of the top 20 places in the Formula Windsurfing world championships.
When we introduced our first Paddle board range at the Tokyo show back in 2006, we showed only wood boards and this has later become a standard in paddle boarding. One of the findings back in 1993 was that glass reinforcements are way stronger under a layer of wood than over, thus we have glass only under the wood and use a PVC layer on top of the wood for UV protection.
Our riders are very important to the development of our products. We constantly ask our team for feedback and are always having people come in and out of our Thailand Headquarters to test boards, work with our R&D team and to better improve our products. No board goes into production that has not been tested, retested, and tested again. As long as Starboard has been around, our riders have played an integral role in the development of our product ranges, which is why you will find on the underside of our boards those individuals that took part in the development of the board. You will find there is never just one person. Our team is vital to our success and its all just a lot of good fun.
As for Marketing…
We want to help expose and expand all the great genres of our sport equally.
Our team riders are setting the trend of what is possible to achieve with the best preparations including well designed and manufactured gear. We are going after the world titles and national titles together with our team of hundreds of riders in Surf, Racing and white water. The riders are our ambassadors and also instrumental in providing ideas and feedback for the next years boards and paddles. They are an inspiration and motivation for all us at Starboard to step it up and do the best we possibly can.
By just looking at how fast the sport has grown, continues to grow each year, and with the largest group of SUPers falling within the lifestyle genre we focus and plan our strategy around this by providing boards, paddles and accessories that anyone can ride, travel with and enjoy on a daily basis.
The beauty and excitement of SUP is that it is a sport for everyone of all ages. You don’t need top skills or to perform at the most advanced level. It is the weekend warriors, the people that want to play on the water with their friends and family that will continue to drive this sport and who will be the one’s that carry us into the next phase of SUP. We want to inspire people to get into paddle boarding and to “Live the Tiki Life”. We hope that our SUP marketing campaigns can play a small part in getting millions of people onto the water. We are an international company with representation in 70 countries so our catalogues and web sites are inviting you to see the world via paddle boarding.