7th times a charm

I was living in the Northern Tundra of Alberta, Canada (okay, its not that far North). But it can get dang cold in the winter months. It can go as low as where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet -40F / -40C.) Edmonton was home, and it was all I knew.

I had gone to Hawaii for school, which had opened my eyes to real color and the ocean. It was everything Edmonton was not, and I couldn’t be happier. I also found out that I was an entrepreneur at heart or at least wanted to be one.


The tides turned though, and while I was on a work visa after my undergrad, I took a small trip back to Canada for my brother’s wedding. On my way back into the USA, I was stopped by a border guard sitting tall on his high horse; or at least that’s how it seemed.

He was going to solve my case and stop me in my tracks; no matter my appeal. “Sherlock Homeland Security” (see what I did there?) did what he did best and concluded that I should be denied reentry to the USA… It was a petty and unsubstantiated claim. I still remember walking past the 2 American flags representing the border. My wife had to go back and sell everything with our 3-month old, and I went to my parents basement with my 3-year old.

…one year later.

Took me a while to get over how and why that would happen, but I was back on my feet, feeling like myself again. I also wanted to instill in my two oldest boys their Hawaiian roots, and remember the fun lifestyle they had there. With the help of my 3 brothers, I started making kids paddleboards for my sons in the middle of winter. Landlocked Alberta, the setting; my brother’s landscape construction warehouse, the workshop. Nowhere near any significant body of water.

We did it from scratch. And when I say scratch, it was sad. Surfers and shapers would appreciate. What was funny, looking back, as I barely had the money to get the materials at the time.


We couldn’t find thick enough foam so we went to Home Depot and spray glued three, 3″ foam blocks together. We proceeded to hand-saw the shape it would be, and then hand-planed the rocker. (Should have left it with less rocker, since we weren’t surfing with it. Whoops! Super rookie mistake!) We applied the fiberglass. In hindsight, we could have done fewer layers so it would be more buoyant. We finished it up by hand; painting a simple design. We took it out to a tiny lake nearby and people loved them! When asked if I sell them, I said yes! China, here we come.

7 years later…


This was the beginning of FOUR OCEANS (A manufacturing, wholesale, retail watersports lifestyle company) and Blakiston and Company (An outdoor adventure rental and retail shop)

Which has spurred other companies and initiatives.