Name: Simon Mark Hunt
Name of business: ABOVE Sandboards
What do you make?
Really fast sandboards.
Where can we get our mitts on your products?
Adventure HQ and Go Sports, as well as markets and other pop-ups.
How did you get started?
I learnt to make sandboards in boy scouts when I was about 12 or 13, back in Australia. I continued to make boards with mates after this. Then when I moved to Dubai 7 years ago, I saw there wasn't any boards being made here, so thought it would be a nice project to get back into. It's taken me 7 years to get around to it!
Who and what inspire you?
I'm into board sports, so pull inspiration from other boards into sandboarding. The new movement of "No Boarding" in snowboarding is pretty interesting right now.
How do you split your time? Is there a day job?
99% of my time is spent on my day job as a creative director of an advertising agency.
What is your workspace like?
My boards are made in a Jebel Ali workshop, filled with lots of sawdust and power tools! I handshape the prototypes myself for testing, then have a few carpenters build the production boards from my specs.
What are your essential tools of the trade?
My big board press.
Creative highlight so far?
I don't think I have one yet. A famous tennis player rode on of my boards without me setting it up, she just happened to go on a desert tour and tried out one of my boards.
Which UAE companies and creatives do you admire?
I like what Amongst Few have managed to achieve as a home-grown brand.
Why is supporting small businesses so important to you?
I like to know where my things come from. The back story is always as important as the item.
What else can be done in Dubai to get more people buying local?
The idea of buying local starts from the ability to produce locally. It should be easier to get into small business in Dubai. How about the government approve a plan for an "Artists & Hobbyists business license"? Make it super cheap to get, as easy as filling in an online form, and only obtainable if you have an existing visa. It would allow part-time artists and hobbyists to earn a certain amount per year. Then if they made more they would need to apply for a full business license.