In a world of paranoid competition and shrinking markets, how do two companies like Hobie and Quickblade come together for an artistic and craftsmanship collaboration?
How the houses of two craftsmen came together
Jimmy Terrell from QuickBlade reads an article in the LA Times (Great article: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-made-in-california-hobie-20151023-story.html).
Jimmy calls Sean Douglas and Mark Johnson at Hobie and the conversation goes something like this:
Jimmy: “How would you feel about working together to make custom paddles to match the custom boards coming out of your Performance Lab. Lizzie (Terrell) wants to call it Match Sticks.”
Sean and Mark: “Sounds great. We’ll be right over.”
That’s not the exact conversation, but it’s pretty close. Sometimes good ideas make things easy.
It doesn’t always have to be complicated.
“Jimmy’s hand-making his own paddles and we’re (Hobie) hand-making our own boards,” says Douglas, “This isn’t about outsourcing to a Chinese factory. This is a story about amazing boards and paddles made in America by master craftsmen.”
You see, QuickBlade has all their own molds. They make their paddles by hand in Costa Mesa, California. Hobie makes their custom boards by hand in their Performance Lab in San Clemente, California. By hand.
A few days after the call, Mark Johnson and Sean Douglas took fabrics and photos of the boards and went to see Jimmy at their Costa Mesa QB factory. Jimmy checked out the materials and designs and confirmed that it was a workable concept. He gave Hobie the cores, the “blanks,” for the paddles to go back and paint them in the same way they painted their custom boards. Hobie then painted the cores and matched the materials to the custom boards, bringing the completed cores back to Quickblade. Jimmy laminated them, now painted all pretty like the custom boards, and created the custom V-Drives to match the custom boards.
In a nutshell, that’s how it’s going to work. Someone orders a custom board from Hobie’s Performance Lab and request a matching V-Drive from QuickBlade. Hobie paints the the core to match the board, sends it to QB who creates the V-Drive then the board and paddle are shipped.
Hobie has been experimenting with a number of amazing materials with both strength and flex properties in their boards. There is a unidirectional Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, ESP or Vectornet, and different deck mat configurations. They’ve excelled at integrating these different modern materials into their boards. Now you can see those same designs and materials in matching QB paddles.
“It’s given us back our ability to be creative.” says Sean Douglas, “There’s no catalog. No matter what someone wants, we can do it. It allows us to do what we like to do and that resonated with QB.”