Handmade In The UK Series - Hamblin

Our fourth instalment of Handmade in the UK - Hamblin (Norfolk)

Paul (44) Ellie (his partner) friends and family members make up the Hamblin team.


The Story by Paul:

I had a plastic banana board in the seventies, I guess you would call that a Penny board now. I rode that thing so much as a kid I still have it hanging up in the workshop, it pulls a bit to the left now maybe because one of the trucks has corroded and cracked in half. The eighties and nineties I was heavily into BMX ramp riding. I built a half-pipe in my parents back garden so it made sense to ride a skateboard too. I’ve been a (very) amateur surfer for over 20 years and been fascinated by board shape and design.

I’m quite a hands-on, practical person. I used to help my dad fix things in his garage and fix up bikes all the time. Building the ramp taught me a lot.



In 2014 I finished a degree in Environmental Science at the UEA, Norwich. I felt pretty fried after 4 years of academic study so whilst I was looking for graduate work I rented a small workshop and started experimenting with wood.

The moment I knew I’d be making boards was when a friend who runs a Surf shop in Cromer asked if I could make some belly-boards. My partner Ellie was on-board with an amazing amount of encouragement. My eldest son helped out in the workshop and at our trade stands. We soon had a range of belly-boards ready for Hamblin’s first summer as well as body surfing hand-planes. Then came the skateboards.



This is our first year of trading and pretty hectic learning as we go. We traded at loads of summer fairs and festivals during the summer here on the East Coast and the feedback is awesome. We also get a lot of people sniffing our boards at trade events, especially the bellyboards because of the Tung oil. It's become our in-joke, you can spot a sniffer a mile off! We often get asked to make pretend surfboards or skateboards to use as props or decoration. Skateboarding and surfing is a lifestyle, a lot of people who don’t actually skate or surf can see the beauty in the craftsmanship, design and shape and want to bolt it to the top of a camper van or hang it on a bedroom wall. 



The one thing you should never under-estimate is the amount of time it takes to run a small business. Every evening I’m either in the workshop or on my laptop doing something, the list is endless. We both have full time jobs and a family so it is full on. I can’t remember the last time I switched on the TV during the week. 



It can be hard to find the balance at first. You are doing something you’re passionate about. When you get to see the board develop from a sheet of ply and after all the stages and hard work, you hold a shaped deck in your hands it can be mind blowing, it is addictive. When we’re out trading and people are looking and touching the boards it feels really good that other people get it too.

It’s still important to find the time to ride. I thought I would miss the freedom of popping out for a cruise as so much of my time is spent making, but I get the same kind of buzz from making decks, just different.



The Brand

The name is from Ellie’s side of the family. Her grandfather was a carpenter and we have some of his furniture in our home, his family name is Hamblin. It’s a great name which works as a brand and is personal. Behind every small business there is a Kick-Ass woman and Ellie is that person. Her role is varied she does the book keeping, chasing invoices, booking events, marketing, graphic design, art work and helping at trade events. It really is a family affair.

I wanted my degree to play a part in Hamblin. I looked into making boards and running a business sustainably which is tough in the unsustainable world of commerce. We make sure our wood is 100% FSC approved and fully traceable. We also use new old-stock wood and source from local suppliers. We’re starting to get involved in local volunteer and environmental campaign groups. We offer up products to help raise money for some of the causes we believe in. All our marketing and promotional stuff is made from recycled products. We  also have some t-shirts that are fair-trade with organic cotton.



I went a bit crazy when we got our hot branding iron. I don't think there is a wooden chopping board, spoon or spatula in our kitchen without our logo branded on it!



The Skateboards

We now have a range of Okoume ply cruiser skateboards and a pintail longboard with Cedar and Mahogany inlays and we’ve just started a range of Birch ply cruisers and longboards.



The boards we make out of Okoume ply have an amazing grain pattern. We didn’t want to hide it with grip tape so I started experimenting with sand as I liked the idea of a more natural grip. We ran some prototypes and it works really well.



For 2016 we’ll be dialling in some new longboard designs. We’ve also got some nice slabs of reclaimed mahogany and Cherry wood to play with so looking to do some solid wood beauties.



Future Workshops (Watch this space) 

We are hoping to start running workshops, People would get to design the boards, learn to use the tools, create some artwork and then go out and shred. There is a real interest in getting creative and hand-crafting wood again. It will be great to teach children how to make skateboards.

We don't have a date to start the work shops yet. We have approached some local schools and a technical collage to see if it would work as a class. The feed back is very encouraging. Hopefully we will be starting mobile workshops at weekend music/surf festivals and other large summer events. Over three days people could cut, shape, finish and varnish the decks from pre pressed blanks. On the last day the decks would be built up and the whole class would go out for a ride, it will be so rad. The logistics and planning is very challenging and it is early days but keep your eyes peeled. 


For more visit:

Ride Hamblin Website


Instagram  @Paul_rides_hamblin

For product details:

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Phone : 07519 472783 



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  • #skatecommute365

    #skatecommute365 submission

    "Lots of people skate to work, school, the shops, to their friends house and back again. This skating goes unnoticed and unrecognised; this project intends to address this, and bring all those little victories of skating, all those stolen moments of fun that get lost along the daily commute, back to the forefront, to celebrate them and the skaters who tirelessly do them, come rain or shine.

    The goal of this project is to collect 365 skater commutes - it doesn't matter what you do it on, as long as it fits the description "skateboard". We're looking for penny riders, street skaters, electric Longboards, pintail cruisers or dedicated downhillers on their precision trucks. Whoever you are, if you commute by skateboard we want your story.

    365 days, 365 stories, 365 otherwise unnoticed acts of pure skating. You can't glamorise the drizzle soaked, leaf- covered pavements, the puddles, the short sneaky pavement bombs, the ungraceful duck and weave through gridlocked traffic like you can Cali hills. There's no shiny 4 minute glitch mob song follow run for this type of skating. It's tough, it's gruelling, but it's skating, and a core part of being great on a board: fast reactions, traffic sense,the ability to hold your balance, to tolerate any surface. To not flinch at short steep janky hills, to not think twice about braving roads the same as cyclists, to racing them and winning. To finding unrideable spots and proving anything can be ridden.

    This is your commute. One posted, every day for a year. And at the end, we hope to make a printed copy of the entire year. The scene is bigger than just downhill. It's the everyday skating that holds it together at the core. Be a part of that."

    Here's where you can submit your story about your commute - it can be a regular run to a place of work or study, the Friday night burn from home to the pub, your weekly shopping run route, whatever! Grab us a picture of you with your board, host it somewhere private (imgur has free uploads, google drive, dropbox, onedrive etc. Instagram images can be manipulated into a collage, and then linked if you want to get artsy)
    Whatever your regular commute, we want to hear of those little victories of skating you have every day:




    Your answer
    Your answer
    How long have you been skating?
    Your answer
    Setup, and why you ride it
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    Describe your #skatecommute route: any good hills, any nice smooth bits, any janky bits?
    We love details; give us the emotions, the stress at junctions, the fun of carving a park, describe your route :)
    Your answer
    The worst bits
    What's the least fun part of the journey? Is it seasonal like leaves? Is it a bit of road or a junction? Was there this one really bad time during a hurricane?
    Your answer
    The best bits
    What part of your commute gives you that little buzz: is there a kerb your like to pop down, a banked driveway you carve up, a bus you skitch, a pedestrian phase on a junction that leaves the road clear for you to bomb?
    Your answer
    Picture of you (and your setup?)
    (paste the URLs here: facebook photos are fine, right-click them and copy link):
    Your answer
    Pictures From your route (paste the URLs here)
    (paste the URLs here: facebook photos are fine, right-click them and copy link):
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    Below this line is stuff that you won't see published, but helps us find out how to contact you, and how you found Thrill mag.
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    We are back to our nosy ways and prying into peoples lives. Enter Aaron from Weymouth.

  • Brighton Longboard Ladies February Session

    Set up in September 2013 to get female riders in and around Brighton and Sussex out meeting and skating together.