IF AT FIRST YOU SUCCEED, KEEP GOING
Jeff Zamluk is becoming a “regular” on the B-Side. We may just put his name on one of Fort Tectoria’s orange bar stools and call it a day…
You may have heard of Jeff when we raved about Lochside Bikes last summer. Well, Jeff Zamluk has been proving the title “entrepreneur” true with his emerging brand, Cascadia Board Co.
Cascadia Boards are Island-designed, hand-made and showcase a slice of West Coast life. They come in the form of skim boards, wakeboards, surf boards and stand up paddleboards (SUPs). The cedar SUPs (available this Spring), are extremely unique as they’re made entirely of reclaimed and foraged cedar and are 98% free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which Zamluk believes is the first for any paddleboard company. They even have a crab trap tie-down on them!
The wood comes from anywhere on Vancouver Island. The first run of boards was built with reclaimed lumber from a disassembled bridge in Port Renfrew, BC, as well as fallen cedars found at beaches and forests. As a result, no two boards are exactly the same, making them an even hotter commodity.
The SUP is handmade by local master craftsman Chet Frost in conjunction with a well known Maui shaper. The board starts with an original hollow-core, cedar strip and is then cloth-laminated. “We’re super excited to be introducing a high performing, environmentally-sensitive board,” commented Zamluk. “Truly a lifetime-use board that respects the land and shores it comes from.”
A LONG TIME COMING
This isn’t Zamluk’s first swell. “Swell Source” is the designing and manufacturing parent company behind Cascadia and also behind his first brands, Zed Skimboards and Forbidden Snowboards.
As a way to bring the watersport community together and get his brands off the ground and into the water, “Island Skim Sessions” was created over 15 years ago. “In the beginning, skimboarding was sort of a cult, everyone knew everyone and it was super close knit,” reminisced Zamluk. “If you saw another skimmer on the beach, you’d go up, say hello and skim for a few hours. The Island Skim Sessions was a coming together of these people and their friends to celebrate skimboarding. Once it grew, we used it as a platform to expand to the mainstream having media and community members attend, as well as incorporating demos to get those who’ve never skimmed, on a board. Almost 15 years later and some of my best friends are people that I met through these events.”.
The formation of Cascadia Board Co. is a result of a full-blooded entrepreneur, his knowledge of past watersport brands and his strong passion for the water itself. He built his first skimboard at the age of 13 when he saw a group using them on the beach and he wanted in. When he couldn’t find a shop that sold them, he learned how to build his own. The first time he brought one to the beach, he received two offers to buy his custom board, right there on the beach. So he sold it, built another one, and the cycle repeated.
With Zamluk’s father starting one of the first craft breweries in BC in the 80s called “TUG,” he saw first-hand the rewards that came with self-led success and the issues with self-led failure.
“Starting in junior high, I realized that the traditional educational system is not where I learned best, so I took different routes to educate myself through co-ops, friends, family and mentors,” explained Zamluk. “This experience led me to believe at a young age that I didn’t want to live a traditional life laid out by career counselors, media and teachers.”
His mother, on the other hand, was more of a traditionalist so she encouraged her son to attend college for a few years. Zamluk says “mothers know best” and although he didn’t get much out of his years attending classes, he thinks it assisted him into becoming a more critical and observant thinker.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Cascadia Board Co. now uses upwards of 30 very talented subcontractors; Everything from shaping and design, to materials engineering, sales and shipping. Having such specialized professionals work on Cascadia products makes for a lot of experience and education in one board. “Working in the factory is great because you get to work one-on-one with the other board designers and use the world’s most cutting-edge materials and tools that change so quickly!”
With Swell Source, Zamluk also works on many contract manufacturing projects for lifestyle oriented brands such as action sports and liquor companies. This is about 50% of their overall business. Unfortunately Zamluk has his lips sealed on these project details as they’re currently being built. But we’re sure we’ll see him on here again very soon.
With Cascadia products available for sale on Cascadiaboardco.com and at Ocean River Sports, HTO and Pacifica Paddle Sports… the future looks promising. Cascadia is constantly innovating and looking where they can go next. This summer they’re developing a touring shaped inflatable paddle board and expanding their skimboard line.
“Myself and the people that are involved with Cascadia are #addictedtowater,” commented Zamluk. “Catch a wave on the West Coast, spend a day at the beach, crack a beer wakesurfing, catch grabs on a SUP and go free-diving to spear a lingcod, and I’d bet you’d be addicted to the water too.”