1998 University of Redlands, CA
Longboards were few and far between back in the day. I wasn't impressed by the boards that were available with the cookie-cutter shape to them. With a desire to make something original and with help from my father, we built the first Hurley longboard in my garage.
We used a birch ply and a bucket of stain & sealer. The shape was a template, flat with no dedicated tip or tail. My girlfriend at the time hand painted the Hurley logo and as a result, riding this board barefoot became a staple around campus.
A friend had this little mini board from the 70s and she wanted one of the same. I created a mini based off that board and it was all of 20 inches. It was more than small, it was a challenge for anything other than barefoot riding. That barefoot style and feel was exactly why we ended up making the Pug and Pigme.
I did a lot of experimenting with exotic wood veneers inspired by the old Chris Craft boats. The look of this classic design was just the feel I was striving for. I sold the decks to campus kids for a measly $60, which was basically what they cost to make.
When I graduated college, I thought I needed a job in the real world. Even while working for the man, I still held the passion for longboarding and building boards.
Missing my longboard, I traded my suit and tie for boardshorts and flip flops. I moved to San Diego, waxed my surfboard and brought out my skate.
I wanted to work in an industry that had no dress codes; where the product testing grounds were the city streets and sidewalks. I saw an opportunity in a marketplace where a niche wasn't being filled and GFHurley Longboards was born focusing on just that.
We opened our first office in Oceanside, CA in Op's first building. We immediately began seeking out local manufacturers bigger than my old college garage to make our boards and spread the stoke to other skate enthusiasts.
Earlier versions of the boards were all wood veneers with colored stringers. We used snowboard technology with epoxy resins for strength and flexibility along with the top sheets providing a semi-sticky surface area where the wood could show through.
I realized that form, function and art weren't a realistic approach to producing boards. I wanted to keep the same ideology, but think outside the box. That's when we teamed up with the experts in the industry with over 40 years of experience producing boards. We were able to keep the wood top sheets but now used modern materials to produce boards like the Pug and Pigme.
From the Pug, Cross Country and Mission, we moved away from exotic top sheets into a grip tape top to appeal to a more diverse customer base.
I added Duke to the family at 6 weeks old. Dutch added shortly after to keep Duke company while I built boards.
We moved to our current office in Carlsbad, CA and shortened our name to GFH Boards.
We now began focusing heavily on working with local and well known national artists to brand our company's diverse retro style. We realized that women are a major segment of the Action-Sports Industry and we wanted to be sure that there were boards made specifically for the female riders. We developed (along with local San Diego artist Kelli Murray) the Bellus and Pennie.
Since then, we have created new shapes and graphics that keep us apart from the crowd. While we didnt invent the mini, we have brought it back in full force using premium US made components and offering our customers the highest quality product available. We created a niche for the longboarder that is perfect for the soul searcher that may not live by the beach, but can appreciate the history and progression of skating. Riding minis originated in towns like Venice and San Diego where the birth of skating began and still lives today.
A sidewalk, driveway, or a surf check is still something to look forward to for the team here at GFH. We are always looking at the past and toward the future, so be on the lookout for what weve got coming up next.
Dare to be different skate GFH
Garrett F. Hurley