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Joe Surf: It's been a sweet ride on the Hamboard

November 30, 2011|By Joe Haakenson

Surely you've seen those blond kids riding them down along the strand in Huntington. Kind of like a surfboard, but not a surfboard. Kind of like a skateboard, but not a skateboard.

Maybe "skurfboard" would have been appropriate, but not as far as Pete Hamborg was concerned. This oversized skateboard in the shape of a surfboard was as much about family as anything, so the appropriate name was easy.

Hamboard.

Hamboards are all about the Hamborgs and Huntington. Skateboarding has been around awhile, but the Hamboard takes street surfing to a new level.

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There's the "Classic," which is 6 feet, 6 inches long, and the "Fish," which is 4 feet, 5 inches long. And there is the "Pescadito," which more closely resembles the size of a skateboard, only wider.

You ride on land, but you feel like you're in the water.

The Classic "feels amazingly like riding a longboard," Hamborg said. "It has a flow and a carve to it." The Fish "feels like a retro Fish out in the water. It has that great rail to rail, tail-blowing feel to it."

Hamborg has his shop in Huntington, and he sells the Hamboards all over the world from his website — hamboards.com — or in retail stores like Huntington Surf and Sport. But only this year, Hamborg says, has the business started to make a legitimate profit, after first coming up with the idea back in 2000.

It's been anything but the smooth ride from the business side of things. Then again, it wasn't his intention to make it a money-making venture, at least not initially.

"We came up with the idea as a family," said Hamborg, who along with wife Kathy are raising five sons: Gus, 23, Anders, 21, Chapman 19, Jachin, 17, and Moses, 15. "It was when the kids were real small. I got sick of pushing the stroller to the park and so I wanted to make, initially, a really big skateboard that I could plop my kids down on and ride 'em to the park.

"Eventually, it turned into a thing where I could teach these guys the beginning basics of surfing with it."

That's when Hamborg, a fireman with the Orange County Fire Department, started trying to figure out ways to improve his invention.

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