Family. Community. A commitment to growing the sport. Those are the tenets that the Australian transplant company Suplove always strives to serve. And it’s hard to spend an afternoon with anyone representing their company and not coming away feeling they’ve done exactly that.
Suplove was started by husband and wife team Matt and Deb Johnston who got into the sport after seeing a man with a stand up paddleboard on the beach in Australia and became immediately intrigued by it. In a whirlwind of events, they started the company and decided to relocate Huntington Beach, California—Surf City USA. They moved with their two children in the summer of 2010 with two suitcases, 30 boards, and a hope that they could make a little noise in the SUP industry. The Johnston family spent six months living with friends in a two bedroom condo while the company got off the ground.
The vibe in the Huntington Beach office/storefront is hard to ignore. There are drawings hung on the walls done by the Johnston children, music blasting in back where all the board quality control and packaging takes place, and plenty of hard work (mixed with a healthy dose of good-natured ribbing). You can tell everyone there gets along and enjoys the work.
And everyone has a passion for stand up paddleboarding.
Suplove came on our radar at Sunplay when a few representatives attended the biannual Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, UT. They saw plenty of SUP companies claiming to do something different than the guy in the next booth. Instead of feeling of getting lost in the din, they came away remembering Matt and Suplove because of their impressive product.
Suplove boards are beautiful and customizable. Along with the gorgeous lacquered wood, at Suplove you can pick custom colored rail tape and traction pads that have all kinds of stylish and graphic options. I was able to try out the Suplove Adventurer, their most popular board measuring 11’2 and can attest to their durability and stability. It’s a great board for paddlers of all experience levels and will make you stand out on the water.
One thing I gathered from my time spent around the Johnstons and the Suplove employees is how much they love the sport and want to see it grow. They’re not worried about their competitors; they don’t spend time stewing about the fact that stand up paddleboard companies seem to pop up by the dozens. They’re focused on what they can do to make Suplove better and are excited that more people will have the chance to try it out. There’s room for everyone.
When asked to give a summation of what his company is all about, Matt Johnston said this: “It’s love of the water. It’s love of your community. It’s love of the things that are dear to you. It’s how to give back in the world. That’s Suplove.”