What is your name and role within Guru Boards?
Mark Brennan, founder and chief board maker.
Where are you currently based and what’s the scene like there?
Currently located on the surfcoast in Victoria, Australia. It’s all about surf culture down here, as Torquay is the start of the Great Ocean Road, where there is some of the best surf in the country. The boards have been designed to let you surf the pavement when there’s no waves or a filthy offshore wind 😉
How and why did Guru Boards start?
I only learned how to roll a few years back, when I wanted to challenge myself to be able to cruise on a board like those skaters you see gliding around, like it’s second nature to them. I didn’t care much about kickflips, I just wanted to coast, and use it to improve my balance for surfing. Once I was able to coast, cruise and carve I realised how relaxing and fun it was. It became a form of mindfulness for me as I would forget about all my worries and anxieties. But I didn’t like the generic, mass produced boards available so I started making my own, out of sustainable timber, using old school designs and making sure they are super fun and easy to skate.
Where did you obtain the skills to start making your own skateboards?
At the time I had just started my obsession with woodworking using recycled wood, learning everything I could from people I knew and from the net. So I started saving up for tools and doing work in my tiny backyard in Melbourne, with neighbours yelling at me to shutup all the time. I learned through googling and youtubing everything I could about making hardwood longboards, but learned the most through making a whole bunch of mistakes. Best way to improve is to learn from your cock-ups!
Are there any shapers or boards from any generation that you really dig? If so, why?
I really dig surfboards from the 1960’s and early 70’s. I love the old school longboard shapes and designs of shapers like McTavish, Hobie, and Donald Takayama. The 60’s looked like a very cool time.
What equipment and materials do you use to make a skateboard?
All decks are made from locally sourced reclaimed hardwoods. In terms of tools, there’s a few essentials like a table saw, jigsaw, belt sander and drill, then a few extras like a router and a planer which make life easier. I use sand from Bells Beach for the grip which works really well. If there are any voids or cracks in the wood I fill it with clear epoxy resin, so you can still see the grain of the wood.
Where is your workshop?
I’ve setup a sweet little workshop in the sunroom of the old farmhouse we live in. It overlooks paddocks full of cows and not a neighbour in sight, so no one yells at me to keep it down anymore.
Please explain the process of how you create a skateboard from start to finish:
- Buy some sweet reclaimed timber
- Cut the wood into strips or panels on the table saw
- Glue them together and clamp it up
- Trace the outline of the template on the wood (I created my own designs on Photoshop and printed them out to use as templates)
- Cut it out with a jigsaw and sand the edges
- Use a router on the edge of the board to get a nice rounded cut on the underside of the board
- Sand out the wheel wells to reduce wheelbite
- Sand, sand, sand
- Stamp the logo on
- Paint my designs on
- Apply a coat of varnish, then sprinkle some beach sand on the deck for grip
- Apply 3-4 more coats of varnish
- Drill the holes for the trucks
- Chuck the hardware on
- Start rollin’ and relaxin’!
Where are you currently selling?
I sell my boards out of Bellbrae Art and Garden on the Great Ocean Road, and my online Etsy store.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
Got some more designs coming, getting into some bigger shapes. Also working with new techniques to create unique designs. Planning to start doing electric longboards as an option too, as they are suuuuuper fun.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Love me some Japanese food, and I love to hangout out at the esplanade, me and the fiancee cruising on our boards with the dog running along in tow.