Last Updated on November 8, 2022
Clay Bertram may be one of Australia’s youngest CEOs, and surely one of the very few “sand surfing entrepreneurs” out there. At the age of 11, he followed the steps of his grandfather — retired cabinet maker John Bertram — in what turned out to be a successful woodworking business in Port Lincoln.
Clay manufactures and sells sandboards, special wooden boards with a bottom laminated bottom that are used to sled down sand dunes in a similar fashion to snowboarding. The boy started building the boards as a way to make money over the school holidays, in order to buy a guitar.
What was supposed to be a short summer hobby turned out into a successful business and the creation of “Squid Boards“. The 11-year old tycoon managed to buy his own guitar and much more: he put his 100th sandboard on auction and donated the receivings to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Bertram’s family was already familiar with the sandboarding business: in the 90s his father, uncle and grandfather were the “original” sandboard makers of Port Lincoln. Today, Clay (or “Squid”, as friends call him) is not just running the family business, but bringing his own brand of sandboards all over Australia.
The boards come in two varieties: “squids sandboard” (for standing up) and “cuttlefish sandboard” (for sitting down and sledding). Entirely handmade, they are available in different colours and easily recognisable. Squids Boards products are currently stocked on multiple stores throughout the peninsula and are shipped Australia-wide via post.
Sandboarding, or “sand surfing“, is an emerging action sport that is fast spreading throughout Australia. It is an adrenaline-packed activity that consists in sledding down sand dunes at high speed, and all it requires is a sandboard and some wax.
Port Lincoln is an especially great destination for sandboarding thanks to the presence of pristine sand dunes without vegetation that can be found all around the Eyre Peninsula.
Back in February 2022, both Lincoln National Park and Coffin Bay National Park allowed sandboarding on designated areas, and Fowlers Bay Conservation Park is posed to do the same in the near future.
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