Hayden Cox spoke with The CEO Magazine to discuss his burgeoning empire, Haydenshapes, and where the business is heading in the future.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to discover that you had a talent for shaping surfboards?
I shaped my first surfboard when I was 15 years old. It all came about when I snapped my favourite board and didn’t have the money to replace it. I thought the next best thing would be to figure out how to build one, so I spent school holidays doing voluntary work experience at a local factory. Starting out, I knew I still had a lot to learn and perfect over time, but more importantly I really started to develop a passion for creating and designing.
How did the idea of starting your own shaping business come about?
For me, shaping and designing surfboards was fun—I really enjoyed it. I’m stubborn by nature, and if I’m not interested or passionate about what I’m doing, I struggle to stay focused, and surfboards just felt natural to me. After school and on weekends, I’d shape boards for friends and teachers, who began turning into repeat customers. It occurred to me that I should create a name and a logo and somewhat formalise what I was doing. I could really see myself turning it into something greater than a hobby. From that point, all of my school assignments were based on a manifest vision of having a globally successful surfboard brand and business. When I was 16, I taught myself how to code my first website. I registered the name Haydenshapes Surfboards, and from there the business began.
How do your surfboards differ from others in the market?
Materials, process, and the mathematical science behind the product and development are what drive me. When I was around 24 and the business was getting some good local momentum, I started to feel in need of something more than what I was doing day to day. I knew that it would be difficult at that point to sell surfboards to all surfers, so I thought ‘Why not sell to all surfboard brands and reach their customers through a unique surfboard construction/technology?’ In my head, I wanted to create a Dolby Digital-like product that was available to all brands—alongside but somewhat separate to my Haydenshapes business. That’s when I developed and patented FutureFlex, a lightweight, parabolic carbon-fibre frame surfboard construction that placed strength around the rails of the surfboard as opposed to the traditional wooden stringer through the centre. It is this technology with the white centre and black outline which has become synonymous with my brand Haydenshapes through the success of the Hypto Krypto globally. It has really set us apart.