on the crest of a wave

Two Portrush brothers are hoping to revolutionise the surfing industry with an innovative new board, which is already causing a stir.

Chris and Ricky Martin are literally breaking the mould doing something that has never been done before locally – designing and producing what they describe as the “next generation” of surfboards at their Skunk Works surfboard company in Coleraine.

Ricky Martin of Alive Surf School in Portrush is driving his business forward thanks to an innovative surfboard prototype.

Ricky Martin of Alive Surf School in Portrush is driving his business forward thanks to an innovative surfboard prototype.

The revolutionary new product recently caught the eye of some of the surf industry’s leading players during a sales and investment trip to California.

It all started with a chance conversation between the pair in Ricky’s garage.

Ricky, who runs the well-known Alive Surf School, was discussing the condition of the various learner surf boards, which are used to help beginners master the art of surfing the world over.

These soft surfboards are very buoyant, but, as the Martin brothers knew from experience, those soft boards can be very vulnerable to the elements and take quite a bit of abuse day in day out in a busy surf school.

“Some of them may only last a couple of months before they start to disintegrate and they all suffer from the same problems,” said Chris.

“The glue used to produce them starts to deteriorate and then the core polystyrene suffers. As you can imagine, none of this is particularly environmentally friendly either.”

A throwaway remark by one of the brothers that “there must be a better way” got both thinking that they could be on to something. Chris started his research there and then.

“Our whole process is custom designed – we don’t use any glues or adhesives in our production, we only use hot air to make our boards – and we now have a patent pending in the United States and are just about to get our patent application finalised in the UK and Europe,” explained Chris.

Ricky Martin of Alive Surf School in Portrush is driving his business forward thanks to an innovative surfboard prototype.

Ricky Martin of Alive Surf School in Portrush is driving his business forward thanks to an innovative surfboard prototype.

“There are a number of problems we have solved in a totally unique way that we know will revolutionise how soft surfboards are made.”

Video by: Sheyar Akyol, Naomi Doherty, Jack Watson and Jaye Dundas