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Drift speaks to the Irish brothers making waves with their revolutionary new board designs.

Chris and Ricky Martin from Portrush are staring down the barrel of a surf revolution with their company Skunk Works Surf Co. Ricky who runs the Alive Surf school was fed up spending hours every summer fixing up the smashed up boards from the school that they hit upon the idea of a robust, high-performance surfboard that has the least environmental impact possible.

The boards aren’t only designed for beginners though, far from it Chris tells us

“We also have a 6ft in production, this is going to be perfect when the waves aren’t offering much. It will last a lifetime and will be a great addition to any quiver”

Skunk Works Range

The Skunk Works range including the 6ft shortboard, a foamie that will run in all conditions

Along with the shortboard, Skunk Works have also created a 9’2″ crossover longboard/sup, an industry first that offers real flexibility no matter what the waves are doing.

A couple of the lads took a spear to one of the boards, we thought that should do the trick, but they had to give up after the spear broke

One of the big claims the company are making is how long the boards will last. They have employed a professional testing company to put them through their paces, but they also used a couple of non-traditional methods Chris explained

“A couple of the lads took a spear to one of the boards, we thought that should do the trick, but they had to give up after the spear broke”

“We also towed a fella round the car park on a prototype, but the thing was rock solid and again the board won”

Unusually their boards use no glues, adhesives, or resins and also no solvents or chemicals were used to blow the foam. All of the elements are sourced from Ireland on the UK which really brings down their carbon footprint and also the boards 100% recyclable, another first.

The locally produced PE foam is heat bonded and the end result is a solid block, as there is no glue used there is nothing that can perish or fall apart.

Al Mennie

The Alive Surf School teaming up with big wave surf Al Mennie to support the charity Autism Initiatives Surf Programme

“The glue is always the weak point” Chris explains “after being constantly doused in salt water, then exposed to the extremes of hot and cold temperatures the final straw of bouncing it over some rocks usually kills it, thankfully we can avoid all of these common problems”

“They can withstand temperature differences ranging from the hottest desert on Earth to the coldest regions of the Poles. This means you can leave your board out in direct sunlight on the hottest day of the year or in the snow in the middle of winter and it won’t bubble or break. In fact it will only increase or decrease in temperature by less than 1% – which we think is pretty amazing.”

“The board is then topped off with a luxurious 6mm deck that feels as comfortable as a yoga mat
for a rub and rash free surfing experience.” he adds

Skunk Works

Shaping up – The Skunk Works Surf Co team: From left to right – Steve, the new recruit, Thomas and brothers Ricky and Chris

The Skunk Works team really believe that they are onto a winner and they aren’t the only ones as they have joined forces with the UK & Ireland’s leading engineers and materials experts to make this happen. On top of this they have also been backed to the tune of £50,000 from investment provider E-Synergy to set up their manufacturing base in Coleraine.

For more information click here to download the Skunk Works brochure

Alive surf school

The Alive school in Portrush – A stones throw from the big wave action of the Giant’s Causeway

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