Board AF was founded in March 2021 by Josh Lane and Mark Harfield, two lifelong skateboarders and friends from Littlehampton, West Sussex.
Being a local skateboarder in the early 2000s, skateparks and facilities were nothing like that of today's standard, meaning that the main type of skateboarding available to you was good old-fashioned street skating.
To the surprise of Josh & Mark who grew up in this era, the new generation of local skateboarders were often seen skating on the beach promenade as opposed to the modern and recently developed skatepark. Curious as to why the guys began networking with these individuals with the aim of breaking down any barriers associated with using the park.
Skateparks have always been known for their 'anti-social' behaviour and 'troubled' reputation among youngsters using the facilities. Keen to overcome this, Josh & Mark decided to rally up the beginners with the very first BAF community skate taking place at the Littlehampton lighthouse.
Skaters of all ages and abilities quickly supported the idea, leading to a fast-growing community around the skate scene in Littlehampton and the surrounding suburbs.
BAF started with the mindset of giving back to the community, as lifelong mates had been reunited with Josh relocating after 15 years back to L'ton. They wanted to share their enthusiasm, kind spirits, and infectious personalities with those interested in or participating in skateboarding regardless of age, gender or ability.
Soon the L'ton skatepark became one of the busiest skateparks on the South Coast, with BAF running weekly Sunday community skates. The guys helped over 200+ individuals learn to skate and create new friendships in the first 12 months. With this being a completely non-profit cause to the local community.
During this time, the guys focused more on improving the facilities for skateboarders by opening a skate shop which later became known as the 'Shack'! The Shack was as much of a hangout as well as a shop. It really drove the development of the local skateboarding community. It was also dubbed 'The world's smallest skate shop'! Serving skate goods and slushies at the mini golf course as part of their agreement with local coffee producers Edgecombe Coffee, who kindly provided the shack to BAF as part of their wider initiatives to help encourage community-driven groups in the local area.
As word and mouth spread about BAF and the positive vibes which were being created, Board AF Ltd became trademarked as the guys moved to a future goal of creating the first community-driven brand within the skateboarding industry.
Having sponsored local talented riders to join the team, Board AF's brand launched its very first skateboard deck aka 'The Vibe'. Supported by matching 'The Vibe' apparel, BAF wanted to further reach skateboarders across the South Coast. Spreading not just great vibes, but encouraging communities within skateparks where from the top riders, down to the beginners regardless of age or gender, a new generation would have more fun, make more friends, and gain more experience from the sport as a whole, removing the associated stigmas from skateparks and skate communities.
In August 2021, local businessman Darren Bennett approached BAF due to their tenancy expiring at The Shack and the winter weather drawing in with the opportunity of taking their skate shop to his mechanic's yard, Bennett Autos. Darren's passion and support to the community were to not only maintain the work BAF had done but help further enhance it by proposing a 3ft mini-ramp that could be situated in the skate shop!
By October 2021, BAF officially opened its new premises which currently has over 250+ skateboarding products, including soft goods, clothing, and hardware in stock. With the three largest UK distributors of skateboarding goods on board, BAF's skate shop now supplies over 10,000+ products including the biggest and best-known brands in the industry. Of course, to top it all off, the 3ft mini-ramp mixed in with some very loud music creates an awesome scene for skate sessions by night!
Board AF is still evolving, both the guys have full-time occupations alongside running the day-to-day aspects of the company. As the journey continues, the mission is very much the same...create positive vibes, which become the community in skateboarding.
In early 2021, Josh moved back to his hometown of Littlehampton, having dedicated 15 years to building his professional career. Growing up, skateboarding was his life, including the friendships that were created along the way from the age of twelve.
Josh believes that those friendships and individual relationships he had from growing up skateboarding helped him to push the boundaries, and take on the challenges that life throws at you. Now aged 33, Josh runs an international export company.
Josh is incredibly focused on helping people overcome barriers and develop new relationships, therefore at the heart of BOARD AF you can guarantee that community will always be a priority.
Josh's favourite skateboarding trick would landing a nollie tre-flip first go.
Mark is the co-founder of BOARD AF . He believes that the lessons learnt in skateboarding both physically and mentally can carry over into all aspects of life and have huge positive impact.
Having skateboarded for 20+ years means whatever it is you’re looking to learn he can help. He is also the drummer in local band GLOO who have released 2 albums getting airplay on the likes of Radio1 , Kerrang and Sirius along with multiple tours of the UK.
Marks favourite trick is the kickflip and my god does he wear it out.