The Nomad 20th Anniversary Chat.
To mark the 20th Anniversary of Nomad bodyboards founding, we catch up with co-founder Shane Britten to talk past, present and future of the brand.
If you can cast your mind back to the beginning, where did the motivation to take the leap and start your own bodyboarding company come from?
There was a combination of a couple of things. Mark and I had been discussing Nomad for a while but hadn’t done anything to move it forward. The catalyst was when we went to watch the 1999 Australian National Bodyboard Titles which was being held in our local area at Portsea in Victoria. A couple of guys were selling t-shirts out of the back of their car. I just thought “Fuck it, if they can do it, we can do it”. Just seeing someone else do it gave us self-belief to have a go.
Was there a “Aha!” moment when you realized that Nomad was going to catch on and flourish as a brand?
Oh man, I wish there was! To be honest, we’ve never had that feeling, and Mark and I agree the we are kind of happy about that. Hunger and drive in this industry is really important. But I do believe that through our film projects people got a better understanding of what Nomad is as a label and what we are trying to create. The ROAM Series, Traverse, the Nomad Fun Park Series, Salt Horizon Series, The Lackey Project, 40 Days Around the World, This Is Africa, and Death Style have been great ways of communicating what Nomad is all about.
You’ve supported many fantastic riders over the years, who holds special places in your hearts and why?
Shit, that’s like being asked to choose your favourite child! All the team over our 20 year journey have contributed to Nomad heavily, whether it be through support, ideas, creativity, or passion. But if I was forced to pick one, I’d have to say Matt Lackey.
Anyone that has met Lackey knows the he’s an absolute character, always the naughty school kid laughing in the corner throwing hand grenades into situations just to watch them explode. Anyone that’s seen “The Battery’s Dead” clip with Ewan Donnachie will know exactly what I’m talking about.
But in all seriousness, we’ve been through highs and lows in both our business and personal lives together, created The Lackey Project together, he’s filmed and edited many of our projects, and he’s our longest serving rider, an extremely talented and fun person to be around…………..when you can find him or he hasn’t ghosted you!
What are you most proud of over the brands twenty year existence?
Relationships. I know it’s a simple answer but its impossible to last 20 years without solid relationships.
The amount of fantastic friendships we have through this industry and bodyboarding in general is pretty much what gets us out of bed every morning.
What has been the most challenging time in the brands twenty year life?
The most challenging time was the closure and bankruptcy of Bodyboarders Surf Co (BSC). The owners are personal friends of mine, and the loss of their business was akin to us mourning the death of a friend.
The reverberation of that moment in time was felt not only through our business, but also by the entire Australian Bodyboard industry. It was a shock and a major pivot point for the industry that saw a lot of change follow.
The film projects you’ve backed over the years have always produced the goods, any plans in the future to be involved in more media releases?
Over the last couple of years we have produced the Nomad Fun Park series with Michael Jennings, and its been an absolute pleasure to work with Jenno on them. We have released those projects through the Limited Edition Youtube channel and have had a lot of success with them, with the first Fun Park recently clicking over 200,000 views.
We did have plans for a new project this year, but unfortunately COVID has forced us to put those ideas on the backburner until its safe for everyone to begin travelling again. But there are plans………..
Do you have a focus or direction you’d like Nomad to go move forward with into the future?
To be honest we tend to focus everything we have into each product and range release, rather than future planning. We then try and create special projects that have a longer term view or direction we would like to head.
For example, with this years 20th Anniversary Board range we have really tried to mark the moment, with all the high end boards carrying the “20 Years Nomad” logo, while at the same time evolving the range with Cramsie’s new Quad Channel Series, Novy’s new PP V-Tail, and Lackeys new Graphic models. We also had special projects we wanted to execute to coincide with “20 Years Nomad”, but COVID has really kicked us in the nuts on that. Some times you just can’t plan for the future, and its better to live in the moment.
Any shout outs or acknowledgments you’d like to include, feel free to do so here.
After 20 years I’d hate to leave someone out, but Mark and I would like to thank all our family, friends, supporters, stockists, shapers, team riders, manufacturers, designers, customers, magazines, photographers, film makers and distributors that have helped us over the years.