Born In The Water
It's a lesser known fact that Reuben is quite an accomplished surfer. His formative years were spent travelling to some pretty incredible destinations to find waves.
His passion and love for the water are the sole reason for the creation of FatStick - but his route into creating a Stand Up Paddle Board brand wasn't straight forward.
What do we mean? Well...we're sure Reuben won't be upset when we say this, but he's no businessman. Alan Sugar and Karen Brady can rest easy, for sure.
Reuben didn't see an opportunity in the market to create a SUP brand to make money. On the contrary, Reuben created FatStick because he needed it.
Let us explain.
In The Beginning
As we perviously mentioned, Reuben has seen quite a few waves and travelled to some pretty incredible destinations. At 25 years old, Reuben began suffering with chronic back pain and could no longer surf. For a guy that lives to be on the water, this was mentally, an incredibly tough time. Battling ME and also a degenerative eye disease which Reuben was told would slowly make him lose his vision, Reuben was at a cross roads in his life.
He was lucky have good network of family and friends around him, but Reuben needed to get back out on the waves.
When Reuben was surfing in France, several years earlier, he saw (as he recalls) a bear of a man paddling a long board out past him with a short board in tow. This image stayed with Reuben and was a factor in his next move. He was going to source a stand up paddle board, and not just a generic board, he wanted his own, and one for Liz .
Finding funds, Reuben contacted a factory and placed a very small order.
In 2012, Reuben received his first delivery of boards - unnamed boards at that. He was in love and couldn't wait to get them on the water, but before anything else happened, they needed a name. A brand. An identity. Heading back to his surfing roots, boards were and still are, called sticks. These boards couldn't be called sticks, they were too big, too long, too wide....almost too fat😉.
As a fatter surfboard, these boards were labelled FatStick boards and the name remains today.
Family. FatStick. Future
Since that amazing day in 2012 Reuben has pretty much, singlehandedly grown the brand you see today. As the brand started to grow so did Reuben's family. Little Leo came along and now Zach - these boys are future watermen.
They have a great role model in Reubs, but let's not forget the age old saying, 'behind every great man, there's a great woman'. Well, this is most definitely the case in the FatStick house. Liz May is not only a wife, Mum, successful woman and role model for the boys, she's also pretty great on a board too
So, the beginning, the roots, the history of FatStick is enveloped in a family that love the water and have a genuine love for stand up paddle boarding.
As the brand has grown over the years, the reason for the creation of FatStick, the 'Why', our just cause or mission as some like to call it remains. It will never change. Born from adversity and supported by family, FatStick wants to see you on the water, having fun, loving life and enjoying the time we have. Several years ago we coined the phrase our FatStick Family' and it has stuck. We are now seeing others realise the importance of the family they have now, not just focussing on growing the brand and making sales.
We Still Need You
It would be disingenuous of us to say that we don't care about sales, we do, but they come organically. We focus our energies on our FatStick Family. Creating a welcoming and passionate community of paddlers that share the love. They do the hard work for us without knowing.
We get to look over pictures and feel a sense of achievement and gratefulness.
But, and a big 'BUT'. We will never be the people the sit back and feel like we've done enough. FatStick grew through hard work, development and evolution of boards - that remains the case. Trips to China to see factories, testing boards and finding new practices is important to Reuben.
Reducing our carbon footprint and plastic consumption is no gimmick. It's as real as we are. Our Planting Project with Tree Nation is the beginning of a journey for FatStick and we are researching ways that, as a small business, we can change our packaging to remove the plastic altogether. But that's a big step.
We are a 3 person team and the one thing Reuben continually reviews is pricing as he needs the boards to be affordable as well as good quality, otherwise they aren't available to all. Packaging is expensive and damages are also costly. It's a slow journey, but we will reach the end, and we will increase our sustainability without you guys being a hit with the cost of it.
So, there you have it. FatStick in a nutshell. The 'How' the 'What' and most importantly, the 'Why' we do what we do.
Because of Reuben.
There are too many people that have been there and a part of the history of FatStick to thank individually, but we do thank you for your support. Big credit and thanks goes to the FatStick Family - you guys are incredible. And you can all be proud in the fact you were part of the first (and best)😉 SUP Family.
Most importantly, 'Thank You' the May Family and in particular Liz.