We catch up with Mike Archer, the current brains behind TurfDog. He gives us a brief look at where and how it all started, as well as insights into what is to come from the TurfDog brand…
A Short History of Dogging…
The Early Days
UK freestyle/wave sailor, Adam Cropper and several other Southampton University engineering Undergraduates wanted a device that could allow them to practice freestyle in the less than ideal windsurfing conditions, i.e when light winds and no water prevailed! They had tried mountain boards and skateboards with rigs, but these were too restrictive and were not an entirely accurate simulation of windsurfing. After many prototypes and skipped lectures, Adam’s initial Turfdog design was born. It was completely unique with the pivoting front caster wheels allowing the board to behave very much in the same way as windsurf board. Adam then saw the opportunity to pursue his windsurfing passion through developing the boards into a product for re-sale and so Turfdog was founded.
After several successful years at the helm Adam took a back seat to follow another carrier path. Adam approached me about taking over the company. It seemed to coincide perfectly with my windsurfing plans and engineering background. After several meetings and numerous phone calls over the following year I began managing the company myself and the board development soon followed. Eventually the discussions went far enough that I soon took the company over myself.
A large proportion of time goes into research and development of our boards. It takes a huge amount of testing time before a new component can be put on sale. I am always amazed at the amount of time even a small change takes. Initially we started with the basic design of a component, then we would model it. If the components are just too complicated to manufacture in house, we then discuss with our manufactures in Asia about getting samples made up. Then the designs are given to our test team, who really put them through their paces. The team is made up of beginners, intermediate and high-end world class windsurfers, this is to ensure we get feedback that will correlate to our broad spectrum of end users.
One of the main areas of development in the boards is actually the manufacturing techniques. With the boards being assembled by hand in the UK to proved the absolute best quality control. This also allows us to modify the production methods and make and additions to the board or changes to are constantly evolving manufacturing process.
Another major area of development is within board shapes. These were initially hand made using a more conventional PVC glue and wood laminate. Now they are manufactured using a custom high pressure mould, with a resin injected system and a protective coating to provide a high quality consistent finish. We found this could be used to mould more complicated shapes, which improved lifetime and weathering.
New shapes and setups are in the pipeline and will be released within the next few months. This year has allowed us to radically re-design our freemove board and return it back to the range with improved stablity and, in turn, better gybing performance. We have even been exploring other markets, such as kite-boards and custom high-end boards using our new 10 tonne press here in the UK. TurfDog has an exciting future and we are happy with producing high-quality products that only see development when development is needed.
The benefits of your own company