APRIL 2019 | Inside – Rick Devoe (INT Softboards)
Alliance: You have done a few things with, in and for the action sports and music
industries over the years, can you give us a little background on how you got
Rick: Sure! Well growing up as a surfer at Malibu Point I knew that I wanted to work in the surf industry. I was just so amazed by all the contests and the whole lifestyle in general. In high school I started our high school surf club. I went on to promote my first surf contest for the school and held a fundraiser for the club that featured a punk rock band. A slam pit broke out and it got shut down and I was like YES!! This is so EPIC! So, from there I went to all the surf trade shows and met people and hung out at the PSAA (Professional Surf Association of America) contests trying to get an in. I became a sales rep for a bunch of companies and then decided to start promoting punk shows that were marketed towards surfers and all my friends in Malibu. I started combining surf movies with a punk rock show and I called them “Big Dummy Jam’s!” They went off! I became friends with the Volcom guys in the early 90’s and the Quiksilver guys who all sponsored my shows. From there I moved to Mission Beach where I met Taylor Steele and told him my grandiose idea of promoting his surf movies with the bands from the soundtrack of Momentum. I had great connections with bands like Pennywise, Bad Religion and NOFX from promoting the punk shows. So, he said yes and off I went. I took the concept to my friend Paul Gomez who was the Marketing Manager at Billabong at that time and he and Bob Hurley were so stoked on everything I was doing that they completely sponsored my tours with funds for travel, advertising, and product. They saw what was happening as a new generation of surf marketing was brewing in the mid 90’s and they supported it. From there Paul helped me get a marketing job at Arnette Optics and Reef where I became the wake, surf and snow Team Manager. The wake side of the job was actually the best part of my job because the team riders were so appreciative of everything I was doing to try and help them out. Showing up to the World’s competition in Orlando, and going to Boardstock at Lake Shasta are incredible memories. Hanging with all of the boys; Cobe Mikacich, Randal Harris, Bill McCaffray, Gator and Byerly was so cool. Those guys are all Legends and I’m still friends and work with some of them today. From there I went on to manage Blink 182, Pennywise and New Found Glory for over 20 years.
Alliance: How long have you known Paul Gomez?
RD: I’ve known Paul Gomez since 1992. I met Paul on the beach at the Slamz
Bro Am at Malibu. He and I hit it off because he too was working in the music
industry and we were geeking out on all the shows each of us had produced. Paul is one of my best friends, he’s kind of like my big brother. He always looks out for me. I am so blessed to have him in my life.
Alliance: What steered you to INT and how did that come together?
RD: I sort of accidentally fell into it because I am friends with the owner Darren
Gardner. Darren offered my daughter, Jaysea, the opportunity to store and run her clothing brand Sea Vibes out his building where he was operating INT. From there I offered to help him out in return with the brand. I saw so much potential with INT so I brought in Paul who saw the same opportunity in the soft top surfboard market so we decided to take on the project together. So now Paul is the CEO and I’m the COO. It’s so much fun working with INT Softboards!
Alliance: What’s INT’s mantra, how does that logically apply to the watersports
RD: Our slogan is “Everyone Rides!” We are determined to create the #1 selling
soft top wake surfboard in the market. We know that our surfboard line brings so
many smiles to surfers of all shapes and sizes in a way that traditional hard
boards do not. We saw opportunity in the wake surf market and created the
“Flow” a soft top wake surfboard that is really easy to ride and will not ding up your boat. Kids, Grandpa and even your pets can ride this board. It’s so fun, we just want to promote “FUN,” period. That is what we are all about at INT!
Alliance: What value do you see for INT in the wake surfboard market?
RD: From a business stand point I see tremendous value for INT because with our
surfboards we are limited to the coastal regions and with INT entering the
wake surf market we can now spread our message of “Everyone Rides”
everywhere in every state coast to coast. Our product is so addictive to “ride” that any family who purchases a boat will just have to have our INT boards as part of their wake surfing quiver.
Alliance: Why foam? Given the cost of manufacturing, why made in the USA?
RD: Foam is our friend! We are surfers and have been since the 80’s. We
only know how to ride foam boards in waves. It’s a natural progression as surfers
from California to want to ride a real surfboard type craft on the wake of a boat. All these hard composite type boards are not forgiving nor ride anything close to what a real surfboard rides like. Let’s face it, wake surfing is getting popular because people are so intrigued with the sport of surfing. So why would you want to buy wake surfboards built in Carlsbad CA, USA? The reason is because we are surfers and don’t want our board production in the hands of people 5000 miles away that have never surfed. We supply jobs to Americans who share the passion for building surfboards the same as we do.
Alliance: Long-term, where do you see the brand and wake products going?
RD: We see the INT brand and our soft tops becoming the go-to soft top board for wake surfing, surfing, surf schools and Jr. lifeguard training camps at every lake and every seaside community where there are surfable waves
around the world!