May 7 Brand Journalism In the Press PR Northern Ireland

Chris Martin, left, and Ricky Martin, right, are campaigning to Pitch to Rich

Surfing brothers step it up a gear as they top the table in Pitch to Rich bid

By Eleanor McGillie

THE Skunkworks Surfboard Co based on the North Coast has been shortlisted by the team at Virgin in Richard Branson’s Pitch To Rich initiative which could see the company secure £50,000.

The company, owned by two well known surfing brothers, Ricky and Chris Martin, strives to make the most robust, high performance surfboards and stand up paddle boards in the world.

A few weeks ago the brothers embarked on a campaign which would secure their business enough votes to get through the first stage of the much sought after competition which ultimately would bring them to a final where they could sit in front of billionaire Richard Branson and pitch for £50,000.

After several radio interviews, articles in the media, door knocking and social media campaigns, the brothers have been told they are through to the next stage by coming first out of 897 businesses in the voting round.

Speaking about the increased chance of getting to pitch to Richard Branson, Ricky said: “This is an amazing piece of news for us because the support we got from our friends on social media was amazing. But we also literally went door knocking to small businesses around the north coast who know and understand what a difference £50,000 could make to a business.

“Once we spoke to people and told them what we were doing they were full of support for us which motivated us to keep going. This brings us one step closer to pitching to the man who could ultimately change how we do things.”

Ricky, 35, and his brother Chris, 31, want to pitch to Richard Branson because they have come up with a groundbreaking solution which will eliminate the wear and tear of foamies by designing and manufacturing the ‘next generation’ surfboards from their workshop in Coleraine.

The concept was developed because Ricky, who owns Alive Surf School in Portrush, believes surfboards could be made in a way which doesn’t require the time, money and maintenance after every season as foam boards notoriously get damaged.

The two brothers have received support from Invest NI and have been to California on a fact finding trip to speak to industry experts but the brothers are keen to take the company to the next level here in Northern Ireland.

The next stage is for Virgin to interview Ricky and Chris before taking the competition back to another voting round in the semi finals before the finals which will take place in London.

The brothers, who have so far secured £100,000 worth of grants, have set up their own factory, created jobs and has an order book of 200 boards despite the boards not yet being sold in the marketplace.

Chris added: “We want to become the world’s largest surfboard manufacturers here in Northern Ireland. Winning ‘Pitch To Rich’ will allow us to develop our business so we become a major employer, a centre for innovation and create a platform which will reinvigorate the economy.

“Thanks to everyone for the support so far. If we get past the interview stage then we are off to London.”


Notes To Editor:

  • The Skunkworks Surf Company was established in October 2013 by two brothers – Ricky and Chris Martin to design and manufacture the ‘next generation’ surfboards. The Skunkworks Surf Board company is based in Coleraine. The company strives to make the most robust, high performance surfboards and stand up paddle boards in the world.
  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | Brand Journalism Experts | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | PR Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Sports PR

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