Economy

Dude, where’s my board?

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Watch Alex Gillan talk about how he is riding the wave of popularity of kite-boarding and building a business in Victoria’s beachside town of Torquay.

 Click here to see surf entrepreneur Alex Gillan’s story on video.

Alex Gillan fell in love with kite-boarding after he first saw the sport in Hawaii in 1998. When he found that he couldn’t buy a kite-board in Australia, the germ of a business idea was sown.

Gillan began making the boards while also running a document imaging company in Melbourne, but it was another overseas trip that really galvanized his career path.

“I was in Morocco for the world kite-boarding competition, and had a few boards lying around on the beach. A French distributor came along and said ‘right, I’ll have 50 of those thanks’.”

Gillan started his kite-board company Stonker in Melbourne, but wanted to be where the action was, which in the surfing world meant a move 95 kilometres away to Torquay, the surfing centre of Australia on Victoria’s surf coast.

So he moved his family and his business down there. He has since extended the brand into hand-made boards, locally-made and imported accessories and clothing. His business now turns over $500,000 a year and employs four people.

Hear Gillan’s secrets and insights about how he turned a joy and a passion into a business success. 
 

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