Hayden Shapes Surfboards journey to success

– For me it all got
started here in Mona Vale. I was 15 years old and rang up the local surfboard manufacturer
to do work experience and I lined it up for my
Easter school holidays and after the school holidays I thought I was this
amazing surfboard shaper and I started the brand Haydenshapes. I feel that over the last 20 years it’s been almost just
carrying out that vision and slowly progressing
and learning along the way and just going after that original vision. There’s a big distinction
between a hobby and a passion. And hobby is something that
you enjoy to do on weekends and when it comes to taking risks, and the pressures, and the stress, you generally don’t want to
involve those in your hobbies. And for me I was really
passionate about surfboards. I enjoyed not only the design, the function, the testing of it, but I also enjoy being in business and the business surrounding
building surfboards. Being a surfboard shaper
there’s a lot of us all around the world. And traditionally the surfboard is built from polyurethane foam
and polyester resin. And my first 10 years
of building surfboards was all about learning the
craft of building boards with my hands. Once I had my first
factory at 22 years old, I had it for about two
years and I really perfected my style of building a board
in the traditional method. But I saw that as something that was only going to carry me so far and I needed a unique point of difference. So, I decided to think of different ways I could build the board and different materials to
construct the board out of. The prototyping and R&D phase is all about looking for a better way
to not only build the board but also the feeling that
it gives to the surfer. And if I can improve that experience, that’s what sparks the ideas. And I get a lot of other
influences outside of the industry and I like the challenge
of thinking and seeing ways that other have done certain designs or approach certain
designs in their industries and then apply those back
into the surfboard world that I live in and
that’s always a challenge and it’s not always possible. But, it leads down a path of innovation and also progression
within building boards. Innovation to me is about
a progressive step forward that improves a product that better than it’s ever been improved before. And it’s not just one improvement, it will be measurably better on a number of different angles. I’m as proud of the FutureFlex technology and probably the Hypto Krypto
model that I’ve designed. Those two as a combination have gone on to win Surfboard of the
Year twice in Australia and win Surfboard of the Year in America. It’s been a amazing
achievement to see the product be sold all around the world and to be underneath a
lot of people’s feet. The thing that excites me most is that the surfer’s experience and how they’ve enjoyed riding a product. I feel like Haydenshapes has
been successful in our growth because of the key
principles that we’ve applied to all the things that we like to do and that’s design,
performance, innovation. And it’s around those key principles that I’ve approached all
areas of the business. Whether it be coding
the backend data bases, using Google as our test
package to run and operate the business or you know adopting the latest manufacturing
techniques and materials. I feel for other entrepreneurs finding things in your own life
that you’re passionate about as well as applying those
to a product or a service that you personally or
extremely interested in is gonna set a really good foundations for building a business. I feel that once you identify
your core values personally that you can apply that to the business and then build upon that. My advice for my younger
self would be stay naive and I feel like that
was one of my strengths when I was younger. I didn’t understand what
it meant to be in business but I wanted to business and I lived the idea of being in business. And I still do, it’s definitely I’m more experience now and I definitely do know a lot more. But I feel that that’s been
one of my strongest assets is being extremely naive
and going after everything and learning about
everything in the business. So, I would say stay naive, and roll up your sleeves,
get amongst it all, and learn about every
part of the business. I love my job because I get to go out design surfboards, build them myself, and then go test them in the surf. For me that process start to finish is the most exciting. And I get to critique my work, I get to understand what’s
going on in the board more each time I approach the design. And it’s definitely a challenge to always find a better surfboard. So, for me it’s a never ending process that I’ll hopefully be 60 or 70 years old still doing the same thing.

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