SUP International Magazine caught up with the owner and founder of the Starboard brand, Svein Rasmussen for the following update:
Photos courtesy of Starboard
SUP INT: How is life in Thailand at the moment during the lockdown situation?
SR: I am super happy to be stranded in Thailand, the Amara water-sports centre in Na Jomtien has been allowed to stay open so we can test all things Windsurf, Wing-board and Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Unfortunately, our own test centre was closed down and the Police put a long yellow tape around it all.
SUP INT: How are you handling the situation as a business?
SR: On the business side we scaled up all efforts on development and used this opportunity to get ahead of ourselves, it has actually been very productive.
SUP INT: Are you worried personally about the Covid situation?
SR: I am really worried about friends that have low immune system or have lost their jobs. For myself there has never been much to be afraid of, it is not yet my time to depart!
SUP INT: Are you staying positive through the situation?
SR: I guess one of the few things I am good at is to turn negatives into positives, so I focus on all the clean air, clean beaches and open spaces.
SUP INT: How does it feel to have guys like Conner Baxter and Zane Schweitzer grow up with the brand and become SUP superstars?
SR: I love them all and am so honoured and blessed to be able to share time with such souls, they call me uncle and I am very moved every time I hear that.
SUP INT: Do you think SUP racing can get to the Olympics?
SR: Yep, we will get SUP into the Olympics, we just need to figure out how we can start a movement with the riders! We all hurt from the current stand-off. We hope to at least aim at an exhibition in LA 2028, so we can start focusing in 2024 towards that goal. I feel so sad for current riders that are missing out on the amazing sensation of participating in the games. The Olympics are the core of sports! Mayar, my 12-year-old, last week interviewed Nikos Kaklamanakis about his gold medal and the feat of lighting the Olympic torch in Athens 2004, it was intense!
SUP INT: How did you enjoy doing the Paris Nautic race down the River Seine in France?
SR: Paddling down the Seine river with family and friends on a Starship was a beautiful fresh experience. By the way, I went to China for the ICF, SUP worlds before. The presentation scene there collapsed in the morning briefing and almost crushed me, I took the board that got damaged and our rider Ola Schwartz refused to use it. So, I taped it up with the help of our SUP product manager Ollie O’Reilly and headed to the start line. I almost killed myself racing as well, but finished third in the over 50 group, what an epic way to almost die twice! But thanks to ICF for a very well-run event, they are on the right track.
SUP INT: What do you think of those mass participation races with the pros and public?
SR: I love mast participation, meetings loads of new friends, this builds a sport, something to look forward to; look at running marathons.
SUP INT: What aspect of SUP do you enjoy the most?
SR: I enjoy SUP foiling and downwinders!
SUP INT: Have you paddled at home in some of the beautiful spots in Norway?
SR: Yep, back in 2007 we started exploring the coastline, and I got to see my own little hometown Arendal from new angles! Then going to the rivers and up to awesome Lofoten islands was also a great experience.
SUP INT: You have an amazing SUP team at Starboard, does it feel an honour to have all these great athletes paddling for Starboard!
SR: Yes, in am so honoured that all these amazing people are choosing to keep supporting us year after year, it is truly something incredibly special and I wonder how it all came about?
SUP INT: Do you ever get stressed?
SR: Yes, I get stressed when we work out a brief with people and then they go do something else without first re-discussing the initial brief!
SUP INT: What is the best and worst part about your job?
SR: Best part is that it is not a job, but my journey, worst is that I am totally submerged and will never give up!
SUP INT: What are your ambitions with Starboard?
SR: Starboard will join an important movement with our groups new partner brand, and the Future Is Somwr. In our next chapter, we aspire to become a useful organization, and I can’t wait to see it all happen!