Nov 18, 2014

GoofBoard

The ultimate Balance Board for Surfers!
GoofBoard provides the closet experience to riding a wave. Armin Brown, founder of GoofBoard and Orthodox Christian, explains how his passion has turned into a growing business.

‘My two favourite hobbies are surfing and guitar…“surf” guitar to be exact.’  His Southern California existence lends itself well to all things surfing related.  As a self-employed entrepreneur of many years, Armin always believed he would end up creating a business related to surfing.

These worlds collided in 2008 when he stumbled upon a concept and design improvement over existing balance boards already on the market.  The rail-to-rail balance board motion Armin envisioned was not being done by anyone else.  Other boards commonly relied on a “rocking” motion with the roller perpendicular to the length of the board.  The rail-to-rail or “surfing” motion found in what was to be called the “GoofBoard” results from its roller placement being parallel to the length of the board.  To Armin, this riding orientation felt truer to the surfing experience both in look and in feel.

GoofBoard started off as a side business. Armin’s primary business is a small company that manufactures engine gaskets for vintage American cars, typically from 1930s to the 1960s.  As that business grew, and with an eye towards dedicating more time on GoofBoard, he decided to hire a general manager.  This manager executed his job so well that Armin decided to have him run the day-to-day gasket business so he could dedicate himself to his Goofboard passion!  Then in 2010, GoofBoard operations moved out of the gasket shop and into its own commercial building.

To keep things simple and avoid chasing receivables, sales are 100% online, that is, consumer direct.  The GoofBoard design is clean and simple, with lots of birch wood grain showing.  Rollers are made from recycled materials.  GoofBoard has been awarded two patents from the U.S. Patent Office.  The original GoofBoard, now named the “Classic,” rides exclusively in the “surfing” motion and has lots of room to walk to the nose.  The “Freestyle” rides in either “surfing” or “rocking” orientations and offers removable stops to open up further trick possibilities.

Although Armin has hired part-time help off and on, most of the time he works alone with the help of some automated woodworking equipment.  Except for the wood milling, much of the manufacturing handiwork can be done in relative silence.  In a small way, this has created an almost monastic work environment where, more often than not, Armin prefers silence over music or other audio “filler.”  Ancient Faith Radio podcasts also supplement the silence for a spiritual backdrop to the work day. The GoofBoard business offers him a unique opportunity for meaningful work and quiet focus.  “I pray that I make good use of this time at work in spite of my fallen, wandering mind.”

The GoofBoard has received stellar reviews from surfers and sales have been healthy, albeit modest.  The primary audience has been surfers and those with interest in surfing.  In order to gain a larger future audience, GoofBoard will soon be releasing a new model with the general population in mind.  The new model will be less extreme than the two existing models and will provide safer riding with an easier learning curve.
“With the help of a friend who is both an experienced surfer and workout trainer, we will soon begin testing the viability of GoofBoard classes.  Who knows…the next big thing?”




Music: “9 Miles to Stuckeys” an original composition by Armin Brown, performed by his band, The Torquays.

Interview edited by Kyriaki Fuss



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