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Visionary surfboards

“Saltburn’s a beautiful place with a seemingly disproportionate number of creative individuals for the population.  There has been a strong surf scene since the late 1960’s and it has grown from strength to strength over the past 10 years.  We’re also blessed with an amazing variety of waves… It’s good for the whole spectrum of abilities too due to the different breaks.  We’ve got around an 8 mile stretch of beach from Saltburn to Redcar with a Variety of different waves along it.  The surf in Saltburn can be broken up into the beach either side of the pier, then there’s Penny’s which is a bit of a faster wave that starts to break over reef, and then Saltburn point, a fairly fickle but super-fast, hollow right when it’s on.  We’ve also got some of the worst kept secret spots and arguably the best waves in the country right on our doorstep.”

Visionary has recently expanded to include a surf store, operating as Drift (not related to this publication) in a joint venture with Flow Surf School. I asked Glenn how he splits his time between the two:

We’ve also got some of the worst kept secret spots and arguably the best waves in the country right on our doorstep

“I opened Drift (store) just before Christmas 2014 with my business partner Richie Mitchell who owns Flow Surf School.  The idea was that we’d split manning the shop 50/50 and that way we could fit our other responsibilities alongside it.  It hasn’t really worked out like that though.  Richie manages to spend a bit of time in there but I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve worked in there.  I’m just too busy shaping.  There’s a number of young lads that step in for us when we need them. They fit the image of the shop much better than me anyway!  As for all the stuff involved with running a shop that people don’t see, we both tend to grab hours here and there and spend our evenings working, I spend more time on the phone with Richie than I do my wife!  We’re also developing the Drift brand which has been really successful.  We’re producing tee shirts, hoodies, etc, and also a line of high end surf boards, all with resin tints, and gloss finishes.  This again has been a fairly time consuming process.”

Visionary surfboards

Any time spent in Glen’s workshop and it’s easy to see why surfers flock to this remote location. Customisation and individuality are apparent in every board, from the glaring white gun commissioned to charge Morocco, to the 9ft 6” coal black Rockers Deluxe longboard, destined for much closer shores. Clouds of fibreglass dot the air, and it’s easy to imagine Glenn at work, shaping the next custom board for the discerning surfer. Independent stores, shapers and brands have a tradition of working together – Recently Visionary has become the sole shaper for North East project Rockers Deluxe, a brand focused on custom and individual style. Glenn told me how he had gotten involved with the venture:

“Ed (Of Rockers Deluxe) contacted me a while ago and told me he was setting up a surf clothing brand.  He asked if I’d be interested in ghost shaping a few boards to legitimise the brand.  He had very definite ideas about the boards he wanted and how he wanted them to look.  Those few boards have now become many, as such I’m having to take on an apprentice to help me meet deadlines.  As for working with Ed, he’s a pain in the arse, top bloke though.”

To speak to Glenn and the team about a new board, visit Visionary Surfboards or call 07903 183 333. Check out what they do on a daily basis, including photos and info on their new projects and shaping via Facebook and Instagram

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