Humanoid Wakeboards was founded in 2008 with the intent to produce original, American made 100% wood core wakeboards and accessories. Co-founder and director of product design, Kyle Schmidt has developed a proven track record in the wakeboard industry for almost 15 years. He is regarded as one of the fathers of modern day wakeboard instructional techniques. This is highlighted in his interactive wakeboard instructional website Learnwake.com and longtime coaching position at The Wakeboard Camp in Clermont, Florida. His passion and dedication to progression in wakeboard manufacturing and design serve as the foundation for each product built under Humanoid Wakeboards.
In the fall of 2011, Chris O'Shea had just come off a busy summer schedule where he was awarded Transworld's Video Part of the Year. He was also named in season's past as Alliance Wakeboard Magazine's Rider of the Year. Chris O' was making a conscious effort to represent wakeboarding to a wider audience with his diverse & lifestyle-centric approach to riding. Without a board sponsor at the time, Humanoid Wakeboards signed Chris O' in early 2012 and immediately went to work developing his very first pro model.
Infamous for having produced numerous failed companies, the odds are stacked high against us in the wakeboard industry. Our classic David vs. Goliath industry story thus far has not been without its pitfalls. Critical production time frames, much higher international logistics & development expenses, and rapidly rising overseas labor costs has resulted in our re-focused mission to producing authentic American made wakeboards.
The lessons learned from manufacturing craft products overseas was invaluable to the company. We used that newfound knowledge and put it to work by investing in new production equipment and renovating a small workspace over the last 6 months just outside of where the sport began - Orlando, Florida. The continued attention to detail, persistence, and passion for wakeboarding drive our progression as a company. Now manufactured in the USA, we are directly in control our own dream. We are hoping YOU, the Kickstarter community, helps us to realize our dream.
From Man to Machine
Chris O’Shea is a genuine dude that works hard at pushing the envelope. So we weren’t sweating when he wanted chamfered variable edges, tip to tail base channels, and a new double belly base feature on his pro model board. Beyond the Alliance Rider of The Year honors and other numerous riding achievements, Chris O’ captures awesome wakeboarding moments on camera. So rad in fact, it made complete sense to have a board designed as awesome as he shoots. It wasn’t easy, but this is straight from the man himself. Enjoy the ride.
^ O'Shea Pro 144cm
^ O'Shea Pro 139cm
^ O'Shea Pro 135cm
Board specifications and size options:
Width (cm) – 44.0, 43.5, 43.0 | Rocker (in) - 3.0, 2.8, 2.6 Continuous | Fins - 0.7 x 7.5 inch Point Sevens (6x)
What happens if the O'Shea Wakeboard Project is successfully backed?
To date, our production machinery is fully operational and in perfect working condition to build finely tuned wakeboards we are proud to brand (literally) our name on. This includes: - 1 fully operational 3 axis CNC for milling all cores and fixtures. - 1 two bay wakeboard press - 1 sublimation press - 1 printer & ink supply system - 1 screenprint table - Bandsaws, routers, sanding belt, finishing fixtures, and tables
All materials to assemble the O'Shea wakeboards are being stored in a temperature controlled space in our new production facility. This includes:
- Paulownia Woodland I-Core: (Cores) - Indestructoid Bases (tops & bottoms) - GnarWalls (sidewalls) - Special Blend Tri-axial Fiberglass - M6 Inserts (for mounting bindings) - American Industry standard resin / epoxy - printer ink & screen print ink - sublimation transfer paper - protective tape - misc. packaging items & wakeboard fins
Upon the release of funds for a successfully backed project we would immediately begin coordinating full production schedules and posting online for the O'Shea series beginning September 24th.
Delivery of the first O'Shea wakeboards would begin the second week of October. We would arrange to have backers that contributed to destination based rewards scheduled for a visit to Florida starting in early October when the water temp is warm, the weather isn't too humid, and the lakes are not crowded. Of course, we are also willing to work around your schedule. A complete production schedule will be posted immediately and updated consistently if the project is successfully backed.
So what are you, the Kickstarter community, contributing funds to?
MDF (wood) molds are used during the prototyping process. We have successfully completed research and development on the O'Shea series using MDF molds.
We need the Kickstarter community to help us pay off our metal production molds and a portion of the domestic labor cost that is inherit with each board build. High quality metal molds are the largest expense and building wakeboards we are proud to stand atop of is a labor intensive process.
The production schedule that will be posted online will have a 2 to 3 week gap between release of funds and first delivery of the O'Shea series. This gap in time accounts for the machining & delivery of the metal molds from the local metal milling service to our factory.
O'Shea Pro Series Features...
Schapes Designs: Designed, tested, and manufactured by a 17 year industry veteran and one hell of a model American.
Sandwich Construction: Paying attention to details makes all the difference when building high quality boards. So if you’re reading the small type, we assume you care about wakeboarding just as much as we do. We got you covered. Sandwich construction has been around ever since surfers put directional boards and velcro straps on their feet. Sandwich construction is a more time consuming process vs traditional compression molded boards and it shows our commitment to work towards manufacturing progression for the industry. The process of stacking layers of materials allows us to experiment with variable materials, flex, and control and creates a more durable, lively wakeboard overall. We use sandwich construction exclusively for the O'Shea shape.
CNC Flexcavation: Our 3-dimensional targeted wood core milling gives us unsurpassed accuracy in determining the areas of a board that create flex. Flexcavation creates variable machined arcs and channels in the core that reduce weight and maintains strength and integrity in each wood core. Less is more and by milling flex patterns into specific areas of the core we create the desired ride without adding unnecessary features or materials.
Paulownia Woodland I-Core: The core is really just that - the heart & soul of a board. It determines many of the riding characteristics even before we start experimenting with layups and technical space age composites. All of our boards use vertically laminated Paulownia Species Woodland I-cores from tip to tail, rail to rail, because of it's consistent energy, response, and unsurpassed durability. You won't find any notches or irregularities in our wood cores. The Paulownia Woodland I-Core creates consistent snap and produces lively pop season after season.
Tapered Tip & Tail: Our standard in core profiling. We use an even core thickness between inserts to create a more abrupt response off the wake. From the outside of the inserts moving towards the tip & tail, we taper to a thinner core profile. This thinner profile in the tip and tail creates powerful pop, insanely soft landings, and a more controlled board response on rail.
Machined GnarWalls: One of the major differences between our sandwich construction vs. traditional compression molded wakeboards is our use of Gnarwalls. Gnarwalls are like medieval armor for your board. We lay high impact resistant rubber urethane into the entire perimeter of each board. We then machine each Gnarwall with a variable bevel that allows us to engineer grip when you want to charge the wake, or a surfy feel when you’re riding flat.
Indestructoid Base: Our specially formulated nylon base surpasses the durability demands of our transient team of rail abusers. It offers grease-like viscosity on rails, a catch free glide behind the boat, and unsurpassed optical clarity.
Special Blend Triaxial Fiberglass: We use alternating layers of quality-stitched triaxial weave fiberglass sourced from the most well respected fabric supplier in the industry. Triaxial fiberglass is the overwhelming weave of choice because it ensures maximum torsional rigidity from fibers that hit at 0,+ / - 45 . We use a wet lay-up process, done by hand, to achieve exact epoxy saturation on all of our boards.
M6 Inserts: M6 is a worldwide metric standard. More threads and a tighter tolerance creates a stronger interface between your board and bindings resulting in a rattle free feeling out on the water. Each of our 14 inserts have customized heights dictated by core thickness. The universal pattern gets pushed through the core, top to bottom, which yields up to 150% more strength over industry insert standards.
Risks and challenges
It's how one responds to challenges and setbacks that determines their character. Your aren't investing in a product. You are investing in people.
The biggest hurdle for us to overcome is our metal production molds. While they can be time consuming and expensive to mill, they also produce inconsistencies in the final build if our design and engineering is not perfected before production. We spent almost a year and half making sure this part of the build was exactly to Chris O' specifications using MDF molds.
Additionally, in an effort to provide full transparency, we will be updating the Kickstarter community with successes and potential obstacles along the way by posting images, videos, and live chats with Kyle & Chris O' about the process. Stay tuned in to our social media channels for further updates.
A tweet directly from @Humanoidwake & pro wakeboarder Chris O’Shea @livesimple. We'll email you a hi-resolution digital photo of every backer's name inscribed on a metal plaque mounted in the entrance of our new USA manufacturing facility. You'll also be digitally archived in time. #MERICA
You'll get a limited O'Shea Pro Signature Series Tee shirt plus a personal thank you from the first two pledge rewards. Shirts are soft print on American Apparel 2011 (mens) & Cotton Heritage Fine Jersey (ladies).
We'll send you a hand numbered O'Shea Signature Series artwork poster screen printed on 12.5" x 19" black French Paper. The screen print will be personalized to you and signed by Chris O'. You'll also receive the Kickstarter x Humanoid O'Shea Project backer tee, and the thank you above.
A limited graphic reproduction of the O'shea Pro wakeboard artwork printed on 20" x 60" canvas, stretched and mounted on a wood frame. The canvas will be personalized to you and signed by the artist Nick Motte & pro rider Chris O'Shea. We'll also throw in the O'Shea Signature Series tee shirt, and a hearty thank you in the manner listed above.
Set your feet on the very first limited run of O'Shea wakeboards. Each board is hand numbered & personalized to each backer, and signed by Chris O'Shea. We'll also include the O'Shea Signature Series tee and our thank you from pledge $1 & $2
Everything you need to ride! We'll send you a personalized, numbered, and signed O'Shea wakeboard. We'll send you an exclusive early release of our 2014 Odyssey bindings, our Flux wakesurfer, our Lenok rope & handle combo, our Scallywag life vest, the O'Shea Signature Series tee, Kickstarter x Humanoid Supporter tee, and thank you from pledge $1 & $2.
Beast mode! You'll only need your boardshorts, a hunger to ride, and a smile. High-five Chris O' as he personally delivers your brand new complete setup upon your visit Orlando. Once you arrive, you'll have a day out on the water with él capitan Kyle Schmidt at the helm and Chris O holding down portside. Boat, gas, transportation, airfare, and 1 night accommodation in downtown Orlando is included with this reward. This also includes all the goodies listed from the reward above.
Lay down 4000 smackers and learn the secrets of the trade directly from co-founder Kyle Schmidt, Chris O' and the rest of the team! Spend a day with us at our new manufacturing center outside of Orlando, Florida. You'll have your own graphic designer, team riders, Kyle & Chris O' at your side helping you build your very own O'Shea custom board. Once your custom board comes to life, Chris O' & Kyle Schmidt will be waiting dockside to ensure you have everything you need to ride using your new custom board and setup. The day on the water with world class wakeboard coach Kyle Schmidt and pro rider Chris O' includes an instructional session with Kyle and rider demonstrations with Chris O' & special guests. In just 2 days, learn wakeboard techniques that took Kyle & Chris O' years to develop. Boat, gas, transportation, airfare, and 2 nights accommodations in downtown Orlando is included with this reward along with all the rewards above. You will come home with a wakeboard experience unlike any other!