Composite Dreamin': Segway Concepts Inc.
COLTON - Mention the word "California" almost anywhere in the world and immediately iconic visions of "Baywatch," pristine beaches, and tanned surfers challenging tsunami-like waves start crashing against the jagged rocks of reality.
Needless to say, while an undisputed generator of at least the illusion of worldly hedonism, California is much more multi-faceted than many people seem to think.
And so are its small business entrepreneurs.
Like, for example, Segway Concepts Inc. - a 2-person design, development, and manufacturer of composite material products that is making a big splash for itself utilizing aerospace quality materials like carbon fiber, resin, and Kevlar to produce high-quality surfboards that are already being sold in several retail surf shops in Southern California and are drawing interest from distributors in Japan, Australia, and the European Union.
"Surfboards are produced basically the same as they were back in the 1960s," said Mike Halun, president of Segway, who started the company just last year with partner Ken Ebert.
"We've utilized new technologies not only to make boards stronger, but lighter, as well," he said. "It's a combination that's never been attempted before and we're finding that it's working out very well for us."
According to Halun, who got his start years ago working with composite materials as a motorcycle mechanic and repairman, the surfboards - which are marketed under the Halun Surf LLC name - are not composed of a shaped foam core covered with fiberglass cloth and sealed with epoxy resin.
Halun boards are hollow to improve buoyancy with the void fitted with a patented aluminum and titanium suspension system to better absorb shock and reduce the high-level harmonic frequencies that can make a board less responsive to the rider.
"Surfing styles, wave composition, and everything from body weight to experience all have an impact on how good a board is," said Halun. "We've integrated a number of technologies that combine to make a board that's more responsive to the individual rider."
But, according to Halun, there's more to Segway Concepts than just surfboards.
"Surfboards are only part of what we can do," he said. "We have the capability of creating products utilizing the technologies we've utilized on the boards to many other applications."
The use of the various composite and high tech materials "not only allows for unique designs, but products that are lighter and stronger than were achievable with other conventional materials," he said with a variety of product lines from furniture and lighting fixtures to security equipment and catamaran sailboats.
"Segway Concepts is a composite technology company first-and-foremost," said Halun. "We're actually looking into producing our surfboards for other companies to market under their own brand names, but we are actively looking for other products to manufacture."
What the company's done, he said, "is position the surfboard as a vehicle to market our capabilities globally and it's working quite well for us."
Some might say, just like California.
Segway Concepts / HalunSurf
1696 West Mill Street
Colton, California 92324
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