A Brief Summary
At Jungle Longboards I hand craft beautiful longboard and mini cruiser skateboards from eco-consciously sourced materials.
The project came about as a combination of three lifelong passions: making things, having fun outdoors and protecting the habitat I grew up in and love so much. On learning that the skate industry is now the leading cause of Maple deforestation in North America I decided that there had to be a better way to make boards - Jungle Longboards was born!
I am currently in the process of launching through the Prince’s Trust and now I need your help!
What Am I Trying To Achieve?
In starting Jungle Longboards I hope to build a company that promotes my ethos of creativity and environmentalism. I also hope to show that it is possible and cost effective to work in a more sustainable way - there are other, greener materials out there and I believe more people should be working with them.
I’m not starting this company with the hopes of becoming a millionaire, but with the hopes of being able to create something self sustaining that can have a positive (if only small) environmental impact.
What Makes My Project Great?
Many things (I think).
Each board is handcrafted by me and benefits from my borderline obsessive attention to detail. In creating my designs I rely entirely on the natural beauty of my materials, and in creating face sheets from decorative off-cuts I can guarantee that no two designs are identical - each board is a unique, rideable work of art!
In terms of shapes - every concave and kick has been informed by close to 20 years riding experience coupled with a solid year of research and designing before the first board was made - each board is built with functionality in mind, but also to be comfortable under your feet.
On to the materials - whilst Canadian Maple is the industry standard there are other hardwoods you can use that have some great properties. I have been working with European Ash and English Oak, which provide a great combination of strength, shock resistance and flexibility. (Ash is more commonly used to make baseball bats so I know it can take being thrown about a bit!)
Environmental stuff - through working with only FSC Certified wood veneers, reclaimed wood and non-toxic materials my boards are made in as environmentally conscious a way as they can be, and in keeping my materials local I am keeping my carbon footprint as low as possible whilst supporting other small businesses and social enterprises.
A Little Bit About Me (Who Am I & What Have I Done?)
I am an arts and crafts person and occasional conservation worker, with a degree in Fine Art from The Cass in Whitechapel and 4 years professional experience including print design, painting pop art, creating leather fashion accessories, illustration and product design. I decided to work with start ups and small businesses so I could learn as much as possible before starting my own further down the line.
Alongside my professional and creative experience I have been an extreme sports enthusiast for as long as I remember, getting hooked on skating as a kid and in doing so getting sucked into a world of surfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and ultimately longboarding. I know what I look for in a new board and the joy it brings, and now hope to share this passion and joy with others.
The Jungle Longboards Story:
Jungle Longboards as an idea has been brewing for close to 20 years - first I wanted to make toys, then furniture, then surfboards - slowly filtering down through skateboarding until arriving at longboards.
In 2013 I graduated from university with an idea of using my artwork to get my foot in the door at a big skate company, where I would get paid a reasonable amount of money to do what I love and work my way up from there. This did not happen. Instead I got a lovely email back from a small apparel brand, giving some advice and asking if I wanted to design a print for their new range of hoodies - 4 years and many projects later they are still helping out: pushing me to get involved with the Prince’s Trust and giving endless advice along the way.
Cut to January 2016 - I found myself sitting in a jungle shack in Costa Rica, low on funds and trying to sell a painting to a friend back home. Through an incredibly patchy Skype call I mentioned that I was considering starting up a longboard brand (he had one of his own), and to cut a long story short he offered me a job as his business partner if I moved back to the UK. Whilst this venture sadly didn't work out the seed of running a longboard company was now firmly planted in my mind. Why did I call it Jungle? I think thats obvious!
Since then, I have been researching, planning, sketching, and making boards out of whatever I can get my hands on (Victorian Oak floorboards worked incredibly well). It has been a process of constant refinement, gradually whittling my idea down to where I am today.
Towards the end of last year I was lucky enough to be gifted a vacuum bag to press decks in (my Mum was very confused as to why I was asking for a plastic bag for Christmas!) and since January I have been pressing and testing new boards as often as I can.
Where am I at now? Well, my moulds are made and working well, I’ve built up a small range of tools and a slightly bigger range of boards, and am now confident enough in my process and materials to start taking orders, which brings me on to how you can help. As a start up in need of cash I am incredibly grateful to anybody who donates even the tiniest amount, however what would be a tremendous help would be for people to place orders for my boards. This will:
- Confirm that my products have a market and my business is viable - if I can demonstrate both of these points I will be able to put my finished business plan forward to the Prince’s Trust launch panel.
- Validate my idea - no matter how determined I am a little encouragement can always help.
- Provide financial support - enabling me to make more boards, rent a proper workshop space, explore new design concepts and green materials, and help my company move towards becoming self-sustaining.
How Will I Spend The Money?
Materials Costs: Covering the cost of all board orders placed through this campaign, from glue through to grip. Promotional Board Costs: Covering the manufacturing of 20 boards to promote my company - these will be displayed at events, gifted as prizes etc. Marketing Budget: All other things marketing related, from stalls to promote from at festivals and new website design down to flyers and boosted Facebook posts. Workshop Membership: £20/month for 4 months. Living Allowance: The minimum I can survive on for the first 3 months of production, plus a couple of quid extra to cover all the cups of tea I will consume. Other Costs: Office stationary, replacement sanding pads, brush cleaner, a logo branding iron, more tea - basically anything else I could possibly need! Crowdfunder Fees: As these add up to a fair wad of cash I have factored them in too!
What Does The Future Hold?
Right now the future is uncertain, depending largely on the outcome of this campaign, but if all goes as hoped this is how I see Jungle Longboards progressing over the next few years.
On completion of this campaign the first order of business will be to finish my business plan with the sales data generated. Submit plan. Go to Prince's Trust launch panel.
Shortly after, I plan to start production on all of the boards ordered by you lovely lot, and distribute all other rewards. I have allocated 3 months for manufacturing, based on a target of selling 50 boards, and then pegged on an extra month to account for any delays that may arise. The boards will be shipped as they are completed and I will keep you updated along the way should there be any unforeseen challenges.
Once they are all shipped I will move onto the production of my promotional boards. At this point I hope to be taking orders and selling boards on a more regular basis, and to start building up a retail stock as I move towards the end of year 1.
Year 1 will bring with it more opportunities - this is the year Jungle takes to the road to promote and sell boards with my friends at events such as Battle of the Boards, Boardmasters and Paddle Round The Pier. It is also the year that I hope to move onto the next stage of product development: making and testing a completely upcycled pressed veneer deck.
This deck is the concept that all of this hard work is building towards: to showcase the use of reclaimed wood at it's best by building a pressed veneer deck out of 100% re-sawn veneers, achieving all the strength and flex of a standard maple deck without the addition of fibreglass or plastic-based resins to reinforce it. It will be a challenge but should lead to the creation of a great product - a wooden longboard that has been made without a single tree being felled!
In 2-3 years time, or as money allows, I hope to shift my attention to tackling another environmental hazard: plastic waste. Public awareness for this issue is constantly increasing, and as it does so so is the tech involved in collecting and recycling waste plastics - this is something I would love to find an application for. As it is however far more costly than upcycling waste wood, and trickier to apply to my business this is currently in the pipe-dream stage of planning.
The best way you could show your support is to pledge for one of my boards - whichever option you choose will result in the commission of a completely unique board, designed and shaped just for you!
The full range is available with one or two custom marquetry face sheets, composed of decorative offcuts and gripped with Lucid Grip - providing great grip whilst showcasing the natural beauty of the wood. Given the amount of work involved in creating the face sheets there is a price difference between the two options - please make sure to read through the reward descriptions to make sure you're getting the board you want!
If you want to upgrade your board to a complete set up scroll down to the bottom of the rewards and choose to add either Orangatang, Z-Flex Smooth or Shark Wheels.
Whichever option you choose your board is sure to turn some heads!
Show your love for Jungle Longboards and help spread the word with one of these extremely limited edition tees! Featuring either the logo or one of my animal illustrations, these tees are only available for the duration of this campaign so get in there quick!
Animal tees feature either the Sumatran Tiger or Southern Cassowary illustrations (bigger image below) - both animals are increasingly threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation - the pet cause here at Jungle HQ.
These illustrations are also available as an A3 poster, digital print on art paper.
All Other Rewards:
Alongside the main rewards there are also a few small "thank you" gestures available, including thank you cards, stickers (so you can customise to your hearts content), raffle tickets for a Mini Cruiser deck, and handmade paper for all you artsy craftsy folk!
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, on all rewards £10 and up - please find International Shipping in the list of rewards and choose from either a board or any other reward.
Why is the price relatively high in comparison to other longboard companies?
Unlike most other longboard companies, these boards are not mass produced or CNC cut. Each board is individually pressed, hand-cut, shaped and finished to ensure that they all receive the same care and attention to detail. To top it off, the complex marquetry face sheets that give the boards their distinctive look are incredibly time consuming to create.
Finally, my choice of materials - as there are more costs involved in ensuring that the wood is grown and harvested in a sustainable way, these costs then transfer on to the final product.
Why should I buy one of your boards over someone else's?
Everyone looks for something different when buying a board - some care more about how the board looks, others care about pure functionality - as such there is a vast range of companies making boards to suit almost every need.
My boards are made with functionality and sustainability at the forefront - they are designed to work and built to last. This does not mean that I have sacrificed anything in terms of looks - a lot of care goes into the creation of each design. You should buy one of my boards if you want a top quality board that looks as great as it rides and has been made with as low an environmental impact as possible.
Canadian Maple is so strong and reliable, why use anything different?
True, Maple is great, which is why it became the industry standard, but we now find ourselves in a position where we have a multi-billion dollar global industry almost entirely reliant on one material - this is not ideal. A 2009 study by Botanic Gardens Conservation International found that nearly a third of all Maple species are under threat of extinction in their natural habitat, and it is a widely known now that the skate industry is the leading cause of Maple deforestation - with this knowledge it makes sense, both environmentally and for the sake of the industry, to find other materials.
My materials are selected for the combination of properties they provide, and I know they make a great board. They are all FSC Certified, and also checked against the CITES and IUCN databases to make sure they are an environmentally friendly option.
The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) has great programs in place to ensure that these woodlands are responsibly managed, and trees harvested in a way that doesn't have the knock on effect on the habitat of clearing large swathes of woodland.
Does the face sheet being made of tiny strips of wood affect the overall strength of the board?
No - the face sheets are purely decorative and sandwich a solid core composed of 7-9 complete veneer sheets, they do not play a structural role or detract from it. In any case, the glue used dries harder than the wood, adding a ton of reinforcement to the board, and they are then finished with a hardening varnish to ensure maximum strength even when the board gets bashed about a bit!