H360 helps the skunk works design new surfboard
Hutchinson Engineering, is helping entrepreneurs and brothers, Ricky and Chris Martin of The Skunk Works Surfboard Company, to design the next generation of surfboards.
Based in Klirea, award winning Hutchinson Engineering is known for their work with companies like Wrightbus and James Leckey Design as well as their latest diversification into aerospace where they recently became part of the Bombardier Aeropsace Supply Chain Programme. They have been involved in providing design and manufacturing solutions across a number of sectors.
Having completed projects for the agricultural, material handling and recycling industries they have now turned to world of sport and surfing in particular to give design expertise to Ricky and Chris Martin of The Skunk Works Surfboard Company, located in the seaside town, Portrush.
Mark Hutchinson, Managing Director of Hutchinson Group explains, “Chris Martin approached us directly asking for some design assistance. He then sat down with Ian Ferguson, Senior Design Engineer of H360 Ltd, and explained what he wanted to do.
“They began working with Chris’s concept and although I know there is still some work to be completed I believe that the finished product is nearly there. This is a great example of what we do best in H360, we take someone’s concept and make it a design reality. We are just delighted for Ricky and Chris particularly given they have been so well received in California – they are on the crest of a wave, well metaphorically speaking in this case!”
For brothers, Chris and Ricky Martin, working with an engineering design team was essential, Chris Martin explains, “It all started with a throw away comment – there must be a better way. In surfing, beginners’ surf boards are made from foam. It’s ideal as they are very buoyant and allow the beginners to catch the waves. The disadvantages are that they are extremely vulnerable to the elements where laminate peels away, polysterene snaggs; the bottom line is the durability isn’t there and we wanted to change that.
“After months of research into foam and dealing with the inherent problems of surf boards we knew what we wanted to do. The difficulty was we were going to have to find a way of building our own tools first as nobody was doing what we really wanted to do.
“Finally we realised it was as simple as finding out who our local engineering company was and talking to them. I have to say we were very lucky to have Hutchinson Engineering and their H360 team on our doorstep. They have occasionally challenged us pointing out what wouldn’t work or asking us to look at things from a different perspective but not being an engineer actually helped as I’ve then went back with a different design and we got around the issue another way and with their assistance, of course.
“Our machinery is custom designed and built. 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. The Hutchinson team have been great and we are one step closer to the ultimate beginners surf board, we know this will revolutionise how soft surfboards are made.”
Ricky Martin owns the well known Alive Surf School which is based in Portrush, Northern Ireland.