BW: Give me a quick rundown of who you are and what you do
NN: Well my name is Nick Niebuhr, and my partner’s name is Chris Siemens. We make and sell skimboards and we sell shirts! What makes us different from other skimboard companies is that we make and paint all of our boards by hand. It feels more personal that way.
BW: How long have you been making skimboards? Have you always used the brand name “Hanzane Skimboards“?
NN: I think i made my first skimboard like 4 years ago or something (and I still have it!!) and realized how great skimboarding is and that most of my friends didn’t have a board, so I decided to start making them for people. The whole business thing started off pretty ghetto but soon enough I got Chris on board with doing artwork, and things just fell in place! Since our roots we’ve been able to test a lot of things and come up with better technology all the time. It’s never been a big money-maker for us, but we’re ok with that because we love to just see kids skimming… Especially with our boards!! Oh and to answer part B, yeah it’s always been under Hanzane, it started out as sort of a joke with some friends and then we just stuck with it, and here we are…
BW: I love the graphics on your boards, do you do them all yourself or do you have other artists help you out?
NN: Haha yeah I’m hopeless at art… In the early days i tried doing the artwork for like 2 boards and it was just brutal. Thankfully Chris is an amazing artist and does the majority of the artwork. We’ve also been blessed to have friends who have been cool with putting some amazing art on our boards for really cheap! Seriously, you’d probably end up paying like hundreds of dollars for some of the art that goes on these boards, but like I said we’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to have this unique part of our company.
BW: I also see that you make clothing! It looks great, do you do all the art on the shirts as well?
NN: Again, that’s Chris’s department! He’s come up with all the designs, and then we both print the shirts.
BW: How long does it take you to make a skim, typically?
NN: Well, if we were to work on one board full-on, it would take maybe a week or two. There’s a lot of things you have to wait for to dry and whatnot so it’s a pretty lengthy procedure… We like to call it a “labour of love.” We’re not exactly in the business of mass-producing skimboards and selling as many as we can in a summer to make as much money as we can, we like the idea of putting honest hard work into something that looks and performs good and can be used by a range of people, from a beginner just riding for the first time to an expert riding rails and popping big gnarly tricks like nobodys’ business.
BW: Where does the inspiration for your boards come from?
NN: I’m inspired when I see a little kid having the time of his life out on his skimboard; or when I see some guys seshing a rail, pushing themselves to their limits and just loving being in the great outdoors. I’ve been given this gift of life, and the gift to make some pretty decent skimboards. Therefore it’s my responsibility to make these skimboards so that people can have as much fun as I have when I’m out at the beach.
And as far as artwork goes, I think there’s some musical inspiration from different bands, and then sometimes he just comes up with these amazing ideas in that little noggin of his! And of course since we do a lot of custom boards, our clients have a lot of input usually and Chris is great at putting their ideas onto the deck.
BW: Do you have any riders representing your brand, do you plan on having any?
NN: Nah we’re not really into sponsorships and all that jazz. I think it’s way too easy to get caught up in all that, like what company everyone’s riding for and how good they are compared to everyone else. There’s enough of that, we don’t need to contribute anymore of it! I don’t wanna bash other companies, I get so excited when I see people pushing the sport in videos or contests or whatever and I know the companies are what makes that all happen. But there’s enough of that out there and I don’t want to risk forgetting that the reason we skim is to have a good time!
BW: What should we expect in the future from Hanzane Skimboards?
NN: Hmm well I’d say we should expect more sweet skimboards being pumped out, more great times riding those skimboards, and we’ve always wanted to make some sort of video… Maybe that’ll come one day if we ever get some dece footage of some dece riders.
BW: Thanks for taking the time to chat, any last words?
NN: And thank you! To whoever might be reading this, get out to the beach as much as you can… You can never skimboard enough!!