At 21, Bremen resident Andrew Huff has kept focus on a long-term, longboard business
“Many boarders understand the sport aspect of it, but they don’t understand the business side. I’d say I hit it a lot more serious than most. I knew I wanted to makeHuff & Puff boards happen.” Andrew Huff, owner
Like many of the entrepreneurial ilk, Andrew Huff had a hobby in which he saw room for improvement. So he started building long boards—at age 16.
There’s nothing too out-of-the-box about a skateboarder, long-boarder, wakeboarder and snowboarder kind of teen—it’s a bit of a package deal. But there is something unique when you add to those loves a fascination with reclaimed wood.
“I was really into the whole wood scene—I find a lot of beauty in wood,” said now 21-year-old Andrew. Encouraged by a little knowledge from a building trades class at Bremen High School, he saw a way for both aspects to come together.
“There were not many nice, handcrafted boards out there on the market—I thought it would be a nice fit.”
And so he committed to a tedious process—learn, build, test, tweak. There were a lot of back-to-the-drawing-board boards, but every time, he made progress. When he graduated from Breman High School, Andrew went on to complete a two-year business degree at nearby Ancilla College. “Many boarders understand the sport aspect of it, but they don’t understand the business side,” Andrew said. “I’d say I hit it a lot more serious than most. I knew I wanted to make Huff-n-Puff boards happen.”
From his grandparent’s barn in Bremen, Andrew operates an efficient manufacturing process down. There were tough investments along the way, but he had always been a saver. “I saved every paycheck, it’s just how I was raised.”
His first big purchase was his band saw, a basic necessity for building a quality board. Then, piece-by-piece, he added a planer, more saws, sander and presses – all of which he purchased new and used and fashioned to fit is own needs.
Making Sales Happen
Making it happen not only meant creating a superior board, it also meant sales and travel in order to build contacts within the heart of the skateboard industry on the West and East coasts. With no brand recognition, it is an understandably tough scene to break into. “It took a lot to approach retail shops. Outpost has been awesome for me.”
“Huff & Puff makes cruiser boards for all ages,” said Matt Lucas, assistant manager at Outpost Sports in Mishawaka. “Andrew’s boards feel really good and they are a comparable cruiser to some of the bigger companies like Sector 9 and Arbor.” With the buzz that they are made from reclaimed wood, have local theme, and that Andrew does custom set ups and graphics, Huff & Puff longboards is having a good ride at Outpost.
“As a local shop, we have freedom. It’s easier for us to bring in a smaller company and expose them to a local customer, “ Matt said. With so many college campuses around here Outpost can introduce Huff-n-Puff boards to kids from all over the world. “We have sold quite a few Huff & Puffs to girls from the Notre Dame soccer team—pretty cool that they can find something new yet comparable to the skate shops from their own hometowns.”
Andrew works his marketing efforts with online, direct sales to customers and with social media (Facebook, Instagram and his website,) key to selling the virtues of handcrafted boards to his target college and teen markets.
A Board Like No Other
Huff-n-Puff boards are geared toward all-natural, reclaimed wood, never touched with paint or stain. The vibrant
colors are different types of hardwood, making each board. An average board might have 30 layers of wood on top, be five layers deep, and have another 20 layers on the bottom—making each unquestionably unique.
The boards run from an industry-competitive $179 to $349.
Long boards are for traveling, not tricks. “They take you back,” Andrew said. “It’s crazy the amount of people I have convinced to get on a long board and have liked it—people who struggled on a skateboard can do it; people in their 60s like them; former skate boarders who want to get back on a board love them.”
Learn more at HuffPuffBoardCo.com