Surfer leaves job to become ‘hobbypreneur’

James Crook
James Crook
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A ENTREPRENEUR has revealed how losing his job led him to turn his passion into a business, becoming a ‘hobbypreneur’.

In 2016, James Crook was working in a nine-to-five job in Havant. Suddenly he found that the company was moving to the US and that his site was closing down.

He said: ‘I saw this as my opportunity. I had always worked in mechanical engineering and I was finding ways to link my skillset into the kitesurfing industry.’

Soon enough, Forty1 Kitesurfing was born and James used all of the tools at his disposal – including a 3D printer – to create a low cost, low profile hydrofoil material to assist in different styles of surfing. And he has developed accessories and is building up a clothing line.

James said: ‘Hydrofoils have optimised the lift in kitesurfing but surfers want something they can use in calmer, shallower waters. Our hydrofoils are developed to attach to twin tip boards and are suitable for use in low water.’

From his home, James runs his operation alone, designing hydrofoils on state-of-the-art software and printing parts out on his 3D printer to test.

James said: ‘I develop and print models to test first-hand the products I’m planning to sell. I attend kitesurfing festivals and armadas to showcase the products. I’m also approaching art shops with my clothing designs and travel bags.’

When asked what advice James would give to someone thinking of starting their own business, he said: ‘It is a lot harder than you might think. You aren’t just building a brand, you’re building trust. Set yourself achievable goals and take the small wins as they come. In the beginning, it might seem slow but it will be worth it.’