Behind the Brand: John Reinhard drew on artistic inspiration to germinate Uhuru Surfcraft. "My mom is a lifelong artist," he says, "and I craved the satisfaction she got from translating someone else's vision into a tangible piece of art. It took me some time to realize my art form, but, ironically, it was right under my feet—the surfboard. After I did, I never looked back. This is what I'm meant to do." Established in 2003, in Costa Mesa, California, Uhuru is a tight-knit operation that prides itself on approaching each board it builds as a unique piece of work specifically designed for its rider. "We believe in attention to detail," Reinhard says. "And we encourage you to be a part in the creative process. Our goal is to bring your dream board to life, and we encourage you to challenge us with your ideas."
About his Most Popular Models: "My most popular models are The Pocket Knife and The Soulcraft. Both are boards that strike the balance between performance, versatility, and fun, and both are designed for everyday surfers on everyday waves."
Taking the Pulse: "We ask a lot of the modern surfboard—drive, pivot, flight, hold, rip, tear, lacerate. The future of surfboards continues to be matching the design that exhibits the right qualities to the needs of the surfer. The only way that process can progress is through an open communication between surfers and board builders. That way, we can continuously refine the core components of our surfboards."Shop Talk
What's the most exciting thing about surfboard technology right now? "The variety that exists in the materials and construction techniques. Now, more than ever, surfers have a vast array of choices and can collaborate with their shapers and experiment to find the formula that works best for them."
What project are you and your customers having the most fun with at the moment? "Collaborative surfboard design. We've been getting great feedback from our customers with our approach to design, both from the shape perspective and the artistic element that go into a customer's surfboard. We take the customer's ideas and develop diagrams and proofs for the overall design. We keep going through iterations until we capture the rider's vision for their board. We then provide periodic text and photo updates as their board moves through the manufacturing process. What we've found is that it truly helps the riders become connected with their boards—even before they first grab the rail or see the rocker."
What's the most important thing to consider when ordering a board? "Take your time and do your best to communicate your needs. If you have questions, ask. If your shaper doesn't have time or won't listen, then move on."