Recently I had a chance to sit down with Hagan Kelley and Joe James of SUPER surfboards and ask them some basic questions about what their SUPER surfboard brand is all about. Hagan�s mission statement on the Super site is a good way to introduce this log entry.-
�We came together and started SUPER BRAND as we wanted to develop our own company where we can directly influence the direction of the business all the way from the board designs, to the graphics and all the creative elements of the brand....most importantly all home grown in the US and Australia. We all bring something a little different to SUPER BRAND, but with the common desire of always having ripping boards and surfing sick waves. SUPER BRAND is our way of sharing with you what we love doing every day and what keeps us inspired and super happy. Come be a part of it and get SUPER BRANDED!�
The above summarizes the concept behind SUPER, but Hagan on a more personal note what got you motivated to start SUPER surfboards?- And how did you get such super (not to overuse the word) riders such as Clay Marzo, Dion Agius, Ry Craike, Kolohe Andino, and Tosh Townend involved?
Hagan- Growing up I always felt connected to particular skateboard teams, GIRL, Powell Peralta, etc. Teams with amazing riders and a certain cohesive graphic look and feel to the brand they rode for- you connect with the certain flavor of that crew- I wanted to capture that with surfing. We all had those skate boards as kids you treasured and the graphic imprinted upon your mind. With SUPER I first told my friend Mark Teperson about the idea. He was psyched on the idea and to make the investment (he�s the CEO). From there we just called the guys and asked �em to be part of the company, to be involved in the shapes, the graphics, and the overall direction of SUPER. Right from the beginning the guys brought a ton of ideas and influence. It all happened really naturally. SUPER is a rider-driven brand, and the team is excited about that.
Mr. Hagan Kelley board testing.
Mr. Clay Marzo "Try shralping...it's SUPER!"
Graphics for each team rider- how does this work- meaning how involved is each rider in picking out the graphics that represent them?
Hagan- All the guys are different. Clay had a really good idea of what he wanted on his board and what his graphic was trying to communicate, while Kolohe saw Gator�s old skate deck graphic and was really fired up on it and wanted something similar for his first graphic. So they are all different, in how involved they are with developing their graphic. All the riders are really creative guys- when you give them the freedom to do what they want to do. Again one of the main ideals of SUPER is to do what we feel, to be true to our place in the world of surfing.
For the graphics do you plan on working with established skateboard illustrators and designers?
Hagan- We would love to, and we have been getting good feedback from some illustrators whom having been doing skate graphics, that are excited to try something different like a graphic for a surfboard. I have a lot of designers that I am inspired by like Kill Pixie and Cody Hudson that I would love to eventually work with on SUPER.
Graphics aside the surf boards have to be top notch. Who are you working with to shape SUPER surfboards?
Hagan- Our team surfs very progressively, so we need to work with shapers that have a lot of experience that can shape the kind of templates that our riders need. I want SUPER to be a coalition of talent, meaning we will continue to work with new shapers, which will help keep the brand fresh. Currently, we work with J Koons in San Diego, CA, and Sparrow in Austrailia. These guys are great to work with and make very high performance boards. Both are very involved in the company, shapers like the riders have a lot of influence in what SUPER is all about. Both Sparrow and J Koons understand where surfing is going, if you watch Clay surf you notice he looks at waves differently, he is aiming above the lip. Our shapers relate to this style of surfing and know how to make the right templates for it. We are also working with other shapers that I cannot name just yet, that we are very excited about and whom will bring their design knowledge to SUPER and help keep the brand evolving. One of the things that makes SUPER so unique is our Shapers Collective. It gives our brand more creativity to have multiple shapers collaborating on our designs.
Ry "How high can you go?"
How do these SUPER team shapes translate to surf shops and getting the right combination of template and dimensions for the average �Joe the plumber� surfer?
Joe- Surfboards are a very specialized business- all our different rider templates, can be taken and customized so it is more taylor-made for your local type of wave with the correct dimensions for that surfer�s size and needs. Through the diversity of our team riders we pretty much have a template for everyone, and through the surfer-shaper relationship we can get the customer what they need.
Where are the boards made, and how do you watch the quality control to insure the boards are premium and consistent?
Joe- Premium boards, the best surfboards are made here- so that is where we make our surf boards. We work very directly with Pacific Glassing (formerly Mill Productions) in San Diego to insure our quality control is consistent. At SUPER we set our standards really high, so we do not want to rush anything out- no wine will be tasted before its time. We will be making great surf boards!
What else is currently going on with SUPER?
Hagan- We are working on the SUPER movie! We have already been to Sumba, and the Menatwais collecting some great footage for the film. This film takes inspiration from some of my favorite skate films, and will be influenced by all of us at SUPER making a film with a different mind set then most surf films.
Crew study the footage after the session--Indo
Thanks Joe and Hagan for the info- you can learn more about Super HERE