ROAR is based in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire. Each board and pole are uniquely built and individually numbered.
How did you start making decks & how long have you been making them for?
I started building decks after I went out land supping (land paddling) with a friend, I'd built my own mountain board 5 or 6 years ago and fancied building my own board to skate. It seemed a natural thing to do, I work at a woodwork company and have the facilities to use. After building my own, I built a few for mates and its gone from there. Ive been building and selling boards since early 2015 so it is still a new thing for me.
Do you have any help?
When I'm working on a new concept or design I usually bounce ideas off a friend but apart from that I work alone. Im a bit OCD about the quality of the boards I build, everything has to be just right so it is easier to work alone. Currently I don’t build batch runs, each board is custom made (either in lamination pattern, shape or graphics) so I have the luxury of being able to concentrate on one board at a time. Not to forget Finley my quality control dog.
Did you start off making land paddle?
What came first, how did you get into riding?
My first build was a 5' pintail laminated from Ash and Iroko. I borrowing a pole from a friend. After getting out a few times I figured I couldn't keep scrounging from him so built my first prototype pole. Very quickly I built a second improved version, refining the design and changing the combination of wood. That kickstarted a board building spree! Each board I built was a refinement of the last, trialling new techniques and designs, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. I got into riding for the fun of cruising and the chance to step out from the rush of day to day life. Most of my riding now is spent testing a new board design.
What have been the challenges so far?
A big challenge for me has been finding the time to get out and ride. I spend most of my free time working on an order that needs to go out. My main challenge is developing my boards to be technically suitable for mainstream longboarding. Until now my boards have been flat with no concave or camber because they are made from solid premium grade hardwood, I'm currently developing jigs and templates that enable me to produce concave boards. My boards are hand shaped from solid, vertically laminated hardwoods so I can't press the boards in a mould and produce a shape the conventional way, instead I need to shape and mill the board from a solid blank.
What has been the greatest reward?
The greatest reward for me is having someone approach me, telling me that they've seen one of my boards and complimenting it. Even better if they order one themselves.
What are you hopes for the future?
It is early days, at the moment I'm concentrating on producing one off custom longboards built to order, but I'd love to produce a range of one or two boards that I could build in limited runs and have stocked in shops. My dream isn't to mass produce for the public. I want to concentrate on developing the technical side of building quality solid wood longboard.
Where did the name ROAR come from?
ROAR is an acronym of my fathers name, it also made a great name for the projects we built together over the years so it made sense to carry on using the name when I started building boards. I grew up in rural Ireland and the ethos was very much "why buy it if you can build it”. After graduating university I got into kite buggying (traction kiting) and building a bigger and better buggy was the natural thing to do, this was the birth of the first Roar project.
What is your history?
I grew up in Ireland but I moved to England in 2003 when I was 18 to study furniture design in High Wycombe. Ive always loved making furniture and working on personal projects is a great way to de-stress after the working day while doing something I love.