We met Scott McGlashan, Founder of Daddyboards, during the International Surfing Association SUP Instructor Training Course ran by Andy Joyce of Surf Steps in Bournemouth, UK. We’ve been following his SUP surfing adventures and amazing milestones including epic collaboration with the super innovative Sunova brand and the launch of his premium quality eco-friendly balance boards. We love everything about grassroots start-ups, the hustle, integrity and dedication, and Scott’s story and work ethic is the epitome of that mindset. We caught up  with him to find out more about his latest developments and new ventures.

What is your brand story and vision?

Daddyboards started as a blog to share my family’s adventures. Since a young age I’ve done all sorts of board sports and I wanted to share my love of these with my children – hence the name! I started skating as a teenager, which progressed to snowboarding, and now my main passion is stand up paddleboarding (SUP). I have been paddleboarding for around 10 years, so in 2018, after boring all my friends and family with it, I decided to get qualified as an instructor and have been working on turning Daddyboards into a brand ever since.

Daddyboards offers paddleboarding tuition and bespoke balance trainers at daddyboards.com. In lessons, my main focus is making it as accessible to people as possible. We are unique in that we are not linked to just one venue so can change location to suit our customer’s needs (covering lakes, rivers and coastal locations). I’ve worked on creating lessons that do not follow the usual format, including incorporating games, challenges and activities to make learning paddle boarding more fun, and to help develop specific skills as well as confidence. The focus is on the learner, the equipment and building their confidence – without putting too much focus on technique (although there is some, of course!). I also offer detailed, tailored lessons for more accomplished paddlers looking to improve their technique or to train for specific events/outcomes.

For me, balance training is the perfect partner to any board sport. I have been using and making balance trainers for as long as I have been riding. I was trained as a carpenter after I finished school and worked for almost ten years in the trade before switching to a social work profession. I use these carpentry skills in a custom built workshop to create our boards. I wanted to experiment with shapes and styles which I felt weren’t available or affordable from existing brands. The boards are ideal for training for a variety of sports and are super versatile – a perfect addition to a home gym or on the road in a surf van.

My vision for Daddyboards is to share the passion for paddleboarding as far and with as many people as possible – it’s a vocation. I’m a true believer in the therapeutic effects of water sports, through being in touch with nature and the positive effects of cold water on our bodies and mind. Having worked with families and young people in a social work environment for over 8 years now, I am aware of the challenges facing people in today’s society with resilience and emotional wellbeing being significantly affected. Being able to combine SUP into a form of therapy for young people, families and adults is where we want to be in a few years time.

What is the most challenging aspect of building a watersports brand?

For us, the most challenging aspect is balancing working full time whilst working on our own brand. I currently work full time as a social work manager for a local authority and Louise, my partner, works in London in the pharmaceutical industry. We both work around 45–50 hours a week which makes it difficult to always put meaningful time towards our brand. Luckily, we are passionate about this and so putting the hours in after a full shift at the day job doesn’t feel like working! Daddyboards is in its infancy but I have been astounded at the interest so far, and the goal is eventually to allow full time focus on the company.

In addition, being located in a part of the country that isn’t as well known for its access to watersports as other places has it’s challenges, but has also raised some opportunities too. Our goal is to raise the profile of some of our beautiful waterways and coastal waters in Kent, through working with other Kent-based brands. Balance trainers/boards are the perfect entry product for our brand, introducing water sports to new audiences. The benefit of our location is that the market is less crowded and there is real hunger from people who are interested in board sports for more local businesses and SUP activity.

What’s innovative about your brand?

As a small company, we have the flexibility to make each lesson and balance board tailored for the customer. Each lesson will be different, engaging, fun and developed with building the learner’s confidence at the heart of it.

Our balance boards truly rival larger brands in terms of quality, and value for money. The design of the boards are unique and they are composed of renewable, eco-friendly materials. In the past, there hasn’t been much choice and balance trainers/SUP has been dominated by larger companies, with little scope of custom elements. We hope Daddyboards is able to fill a gap in the market and bring further opportunities to raise the already growing SUP profile in Kent.

Who is your brand for?

Our brand is for anyone looking to learn new skills and explore new sports through paddle boarding or balance training. We specialise in family SUP lessons as well as individual and group lessons.

Our balance boards are ideal for any level of experience – beginners looking to start engaging their core and having fun at home, to professionals looking to hone and test their skills off the water. Our custom boards can be branded with logos so are ideal for companies, sole traders, personal trainers and gyms as a marketing feature or merchandise.

In the future, we hope to hold therapeutic packages for people who want to improve their emotional wellbeing, family relationships or those battling addiction, depression etc. We are keen to support and develop better life chances for young people and their families.

What’s next for Daddyboards?

We’re currently working hard to bring paddle boarding and its versatility to as many people as possible in the Kent area. However, the next step is to focus on SUP surfing in Kent, through SUP surfing clinics. Watch this space!

Following this, the aim is to partner with charities and organisations such as the Wave Project and Surfers Against Sewage to give back to the community and use my therapeutic training to help others access the healing and nurturing effects of the water and water sports. We are working on lessons and activities for people with disabilities and disadvantaged families and young people using my social work experience to create inclusive packages. We are looking to work with local and national community groups to make this happen.

Our range of balance boards will soon be featured on online stores including supinflatables.co.uk and McConks. We are constantly looking for new designs and ways to innovate our products, including looking at a range of land paddle boards for next year! Look out for some Daddyboards apparel soon too!

Tell us about your recent Sunova collaboration…

I wouldn’t say it was a collaboration more of a chance encounter! I have been a brand ambassador for the Sunova UK distributor since 2017 and a fan for longer. I discovered the brand online and I was impressed by the theory behind their technology – and seeing Sebastian Steudner ripping Nazare on a Sunova was the deal breaker! Despite this I doubt the guys who run Sunova knew who I was. When I went on a family holiday to Thailand in December 2018, I discovered the factory was less then 10km away from where we were staying – there was no way I was not going to visit!

Bert Burger, the shaper extraordinaire and founder of Sunova, invited me to the factory following some exchanges via Facebook. Me and Louise hired some mopeds for the day and made our way over to the factory for a tour. Bert talked through how the boards are made and the technology built into each stage – to be honest, a lot went over my head, it’s very technical! But I was like a kid in sweet shop. I was delighted to get a glimpse of some of their prototype boards, including the new two-piece boards. They look insane and clearly have a place in the market as they are doing well in the international race circuits currently.

I took the opportunity to ask about getting a custom sup specifically for the waves that we have at my local beaches in Kent. I was after a board that was small enough to challenge my own skills, but also that could fit as many manoeuvres as possible into the short-lived waves we have. Perhaps intrigued by the challenge, we sat down in his office and created the shape on his CAD software. It was so impressive to see Bert’s years of experience and expertise at work – he was instinctively able to tweak the board shape to get the performance I was looking for. It took about an hour and the Shregg was born!

The Shregg shape was based on an existing model in the Sunova range called the Shroom, which features a stepped rail and convex deck to give more responsiveness and bite on the wave. However, we decided to add a rounded tail to loosen it up and a pointed nose to get over an issue I was having when I rode the square nosed Shroom. It started resembling an egg shape and the name was born!

Burt is in his element making custom boards and this was evident in the short time I spent with him. There are a range of boards in the Sunova range that started off as customs and rumour has it the Shregg will be made as a stock board too.

I left the factory on a high and whilst there weren’t any waves to enjoy, the sun was shining and the golden sand beaches and wicked atmosphere at Memories Beach bar more than made up for it.

Once I returned to the UK, I spent some time liaising with the design team and we came up with the final colour way. I was even able to add a custom graphic to the board designed by an amazingly creative friend of ours, Rebecca Witts (check her out on Instagram @rebeccawitts).

The experience of my first custom SUP board couldn’t have gone any better, which demonstrates the quality of the company Sunova and Bert Berger, who are real inspirations for me. The fact the board surfs better than I ever expected just makes it that much sweeter!

Since riding Sunova boards, my perception of what is needed in a SUP board has been flipped upside down. The Shregg has less float than my body weight, yet I find it more stable than some of my larger boards particularly iSUPs as the Shregg and other low volume Sunova’s lock into the water and don’t respond to every bump.

If you are looking for a board to up your game then do get in touch with either www.supinflatables.co.uk or The Sup Hut www.standuppaddleboarding.co.uk if you’re in the UK. Alternatively check out www.sunovasurfboards.com

To experience paddleboarding and SUP surfing in Kent and beyond, visit www.daddyboards.com