My entrepreneurial seizure

“I started my first project-business at 13, making custom surfboards with my school friend and neighbor, Sam Marshall (Architect Marshall).

We started out with a goal of being able to fund the supply of our own personal surfboards, but finished 4 years later, making 50+ surfboards and delivering to 4 different schools.

It taught us the fundamental commercial realities of running a small project-business.

  • The need to raise capital to start a business, achieved through labouring on a site after school.

  • How to market and sell a custom project that didn’t yet exist.

  • Learnt the skills (self-taught) required to design, shape, fibreglass, sand and finish a surfboard.

  • How to set-up processes and procedures to standardise the quality of our product.

  • How to manage cash flow to fund the procurement of the expensive materials needed for each surfboard.

  • How to schedule multiple projects (4-5 surfboards per 11 week school term), being produced in parallel with over lapping phases.

  • The rigour of time management needed to balance study, school sport, surfing and surfboard production.

  • The tenacity needed to complete each and every designated task, to reach each production milestone, that would guarantee the quality of the finished product by the delivery date (which was always the day before the school holidays).


In addition to regularly providing us with new surfboards, our success allowed me to buy my first car a year before I was eligible for my ‘L’ plates.”

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