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Old    Joel (Humanoid)      Join Date: Apr 2010       04-30-2010, 11:58 AM Reply   
Howdy folks,

Been going to wakeworld.com for a while now and thought I would start a thread about something different in between my 18 hour fun days. I founded Humanoid Wakeboards with the help of many people but I thought I could give something back to to wakeworld by sharing some of my experiences or answering any questions anyone might have from a manufacturer's perspective.

A little bit about myself. I live in Denver, Colorado, grew up in the south side of Chicago - def no wakeboarding or snowboarding there. I come from mainly a snowboard "background" and have been snowboarding and wakeboarding for about 14 years now off and on. I got my hands on a Hyperlite Roam while I was in college my senior year about 5 years ago and it set an idea off in my head. The decision was made to forgo the desk job and head down the sketchy road of starting a business in one of the few industries I did have knowledge of - wakeboarding. I got a job at The Wakeboard Camp for two summers coaching where I met this brilliant dude Kyle Schmidt who eventually shared many of his great designs/ideas with me. I also met Justin Stephens for the first time driving the boat while he was filming Aaron Reed for his section in The Truth. Really positive, vibrant guy. I didn't know it at the time but coincidentally he was working on a cool independent wake brand as well. Peep the previous name of Humanoid - scary!

Since 2005, I've been through quite a bit of the blood, sweat and tears to get this going. Been through 3 manufacturers who've either went out of business or quit and I've had funding from investors pulled twice. I've learned far more than I could of ever hoped and we are just getting started - yeah!

If anyone has questions about manufacturing, "secret tech", raising capital, starting a biz or whatever I'd be happy to share what limited knowledge I do have. I know there is some questions in "flex boards" (which is a terrible name for sandwich construction), I can provide some insight. Please give me a little time to respond.

word to the wake gods!
Old    Matt Laird (Matt)      Join Date: Mar 2010       04-30-2010, 1:08 PM Reply   
How would I be able to purchase one of these or invest?
Old    Brian Deegan (irishrider92)      Join Date: Jun 2009       04-30-2010, 1:44 PM Reply   
I'd love to know a bit about the investors! How'd you get in touch with them? Did they know a bit about wakeboarding or did youhave to teach them a bit about it? Did you know them before you set up the company? etc
Old    HunterHudd            04-30-2010, 2:41 PM Reply   
How did you get some of the manufacturers to manufacture your boards?
Old    Joel (Humanoid)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-01-2010, 4:29 PM Reply   
Matt,
Go to our website.
Brian,
Raising capital is the worst part of it and was pretty draining for me but most people have to go through the process if your starting from scratch. Most Investors knew about wakeboarding. The investors I approached got to where they were cause they knew what they were investing in. Some investors weigh the person more than the actual business when deciding to invest. I'd recommend reading Guy Kawasaki's "art of the start". I got a hold of most of the people through colds calls, friends of friends, the internet or just luck. It sounds cliche but you just gotta really believe in what your doing and keep hustlin. I still eat crappy food and had to do the whole living at home thing for a while.
Hunter,
Going to trade shows, industry gatherings and just being personable and asking questions. I'm a shy and weird dude so it was difficult for me. This usually leads into having a good mentor to learn from. Look into other industries as well for ideas and good people to work with.
Old    gangstar (joe_crawley)      Join Date: Jan 2007       05-01-2010, 5:53 PM Reply   
Where do you press your boards, locally, elsewhere in the US, or in China?
Do you use aluminum molds, and how do you get them cut?
What are the main ingredients, and layup order, of a humanoid sandwich?
Do you collaborate with Company and Slingshot at all?
Would you do it all again?
Why can't I land heel 3s consistently?
Old    Jeremy Byrom (wakerider111)      Join Date: Jul 2006       05-02-2010, 12:11 AM Reply   
Thanks for sharing Joel. nice to hear what its like on the inside.
i kinda miss that old website with the annimated monster and its tongue stretching across the screen. haha
anything new in the works for Humanoid bindings?
Old    Brian Deegan (irishrider92)      Join Date: Jun 2009       05-02-2010, 11:06 AM Reply   
Cheers man
Old    Cole (rclester89)      Join Date: Mar 2010       05-02-2010, 12:44 PM Reply   
Would love to try one of these boards out. Where could I possibly demo one near austin, tx?
Old    TS (kcrider)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-02-2010, 7:57 PM Reply   
Second on the demo. I have family in Florida so I could definitely do it there. I've been intrigued by your brand since the beginning and have Kyle on board only ups the credibility.
Old    John Marshall (JohnM)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-03-2010, 8:50 AM Reply   
When are the winners of the design a board contest going to receive their prizes/boards with their graphic?
Old    Joel (Humanoid)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-04-2010, 1:34 AM Reply   
Wow this is awesome!
Gangstar, good questions...
We press them in the U.S. I can tell you we do not use MDF molds. MDF wouldn't give us those nice and clean contours you see on the oracle board. We cut our molds by hand...I kid, i kid, a CNC machine routes it out. Our sammiches are delicious, we take our 100% wood cores and place the sidewalls into the core. We then take the core with the sidewall dropped in and place it in a CNC machine to route out the shape. After that we layer the core in varying fiberglass configurations and tiny gnomes spread the epoxy over the core and fiberglass. We finally wrap the graphics on top and insert the sammich into the oven. It sits in there for a little while and we hold hands and sing while it bakes in the oven. We take it out and route out the shape, bevel, finish, clean and confetti drops from the ceiling as we give it to the Fed ex dude.
We got mad respect for both Company and Slingshot but we don't collaborate at all. I don't really know very many people in the wake industry, mostly deal with snowboard company's supplier as far as getting materials, looking at different manufacturing techniques, etc. I'm glad people are starting to support independent companies. It keeps the 800 lb gorillas on their toes.
I don't know if I'd do it all again yet cause we are just getting started. I'll know in a couple years. For the 3's just blame the driver when you don't land them. No, I'd have to see some footage of what your doing. You can get some good practice doing FS 180's and switch TS BS 180's off of little rollers. You'll land them no problem if you can do both of those. Also try out learnwake for a month.

Hey Jeremy!
Our bindings are designed and ready to go. Unfortunately we are a little cash strapped as a start up. That's a big priority for us. Kyle was instrumental in LF's binding program back in the day. He's got about 10 years of ideas stuck in his head. Now he finally has an outlet for all his ideas. We are missing one important part...ha!

Cole,
We'll hopefully have two dealers in Texas set up within the next week or two. If people want demos maybe we should set up some kind of program within our site? We just want to get people on it to feel the difference good wood + good design makes. The response and liveliness has definitely caught people off guard in a good way that were previously riding 100% foam boards.
TS,
We are speaking with Florida stores right now. Hopefully will have an answer and put them up on the web very shortly.
John,
The winners have been very cool and extremely patient with us. Our programmer Mike and I have invested a poop load of time into this art lab application and people are seriously gonna flip out. The logistics of such a thing is pretty complicated but we have 98% of it hashed out. I will be emailing Robert and Russell in the next couple days cause we are going to be set with a premier of it this week. I just finished uploading our artists templates & assets. We also wanted to get them on the site riding with Kyle and have them promote the art lab so we aren't just sending them out boards - we want it done right even though they had to wait a ******* year. So sometime late May they will be seeing their boards show up and some WAM $.

Take 'er light
Old    Jordan (hockeysk8er222)      Join Date: Jul 2009       05-04-2010, 8:57 PM Reply   
MN demo? I'm really interested. Maybe The House?
Old    CIREboardshorts.com (nuckledragger)      Join Date: Jun 2004       05-04-2010, 9:28 PM Reply   
Humanoid,

Big props for opening up "the book" about your company to the world. As a manufacturer and consumer myself, I am very interested in how company's got to the point there at and how their products differ from their competitions. Good work, keep it up.
Old    Mark Griffin (cheesydog)      Join Date: Mar 2009       05-04-2010, 9:32 PM Reply   
Hey Joel, I love that you're taking the time to do this.

Im always interested in the little start ups, very often its you guys that are at the forefront of innovation because you aren't hampered by previous designs or thinking.

As a dedicated cable rider, and someone who firmly believes that cable is the future direction of our sport, have the design of your boards taken into consideration cable specific properties? Ie durability, obstacle sliding characteristics, edge and release for air tricks?

Good luck with your company, hope you guys do well
Old    the not so naked chef (electricsnow)      Join Date: May 2002       05-08-2010, 1:36 PM Reply   
This was a cool thread to stumble upon! I don't wakeboard anymore but i love to see young, new companies in the wake industry (wakeskating is perfect for this). Good luck to you humanoid! I really just wanted to post because of what you said about kyle. I remember meeting him on a trip across america in 2002 and he brough along a LF binding that he had modified and was trying to get into the line. He had some seamstress (or someone) sew in laces along the back of the binding...it was cool to see that. So as you said (in a way), it's great that he has an outlet for his ideas and someone is appreciating them!
Old    Joe Umali (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-08-2010, 2:01 PM Reply   
whoa! an esnow sighting!
Old    Chris Judge (Chris941)      Join Date: May 2010       05-08-2010, 2:20 PM Reply   
I checked out your website and I have to say you guys did a great job on your site. The board graphics are very unique and I think they are ****in awesome to say the least. My question is, Will you send me a 137 flex board if I told you i love you? I'm glad that you took the time out to post here about your company and I hope to see nothing but success for you guys in the future. I would love to demo one of these boards, ill keep lurking the website and forums to see when they come to the florida area.
Old    Joel (Humanoid)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-11-2010, 11:55 PM Reply   
Nuckledragger,
I'm assuming your talking about the company company?...thats a big question with a difficult response. I can only speak about my experience with Humanoid and try not to sound like a kook?... Ultimately it comes down to risk vs. reward, projected vs. real growth and gauging what the market wants vs. what you are producing for them. This is very difficult to balance, maintain and project as a new company, especially in turbulent economic times in a difficult industry in which very little data exists. I'm more concerned about managing organic growth because we don't have the resources for more forced growth. I'm prepared for both. Getting a quick look at LF's year end balance sheet would sure help our projections..haha ... There are pros and cons in the different ways to build a company as your seeing but there is hope for independent brands in wake. Ronix is a good example. They figured things out almost without a hitch cause they've been down that road once before.

Jordan,
Many of our retailers have come through people asking their local retailers to get in contact with us and we then send them a sample. We are not looking at getting into a boat load (zing) of shops. Probably 15-20 max for the first year. If you have a retailer in mind in MN we will send them a board to demo. I'm working on a demo program (thanks to this thread) through the site. Is the house online only?
Mark,
As a company with only one shape we had to make it work for a variety of riding styles and uses. Our boards have a spine in the base center to soften landings but the ends are flat to help with presses and rails. You can adjust our fin's release with our three hole fin pattern. Our flex patterns help the rider decide what kind of riding the board is "suggested" for. Our stiffy boards produce a more responsive feel off the wake. That can be good or bad for you but that depends on your preference. Our softer boards are better for balance/feel on rails/obstacles. One thing I'd like to clear up...Sandwich construction is not all "flex"...Sandwich construction allows us to vary the feel/flex pattern of the board in certain areas.

the not so naked chef,
like that name. thanks for the support. Kyle has been amazingly patient and straight up awesome! I'm glad he's a part of this from the beginning. I can only hope we get his ideas out for ropes, handles and bindings in the near future. I think the big dawgs might finally have to start paying attention to us.

Chris,
We've been pounding the phones to get in touch with some key Florida retailers. Hopefully we catch the big bossman soon. We'll post something on the site when we get it in a key Florida area this month. If you lurk around our site you'll notice tomorrow we'll finally have our art lab up. we've had to work through some glitches the last week getting board designs to save. We thought we'd gotten through the glitch and would of had it up on Friday. We made a breakthrough this week and finally wrapped it up tonight. You can play around with that until you're able to get one in your hands. I can tell you you won't be disappointed.

larga vida a las marcas independientes!
Old    etang789 (etang789)      Join Date: Jul 2009       05-18-2010, 5:58 AM Reply   
wow very interesting!

Whats your companies website?

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