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Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisan Heath Van Den Bogaert, Bogaert Boards

Heath Van Den Bogaert, Bogaert Boards

At age 12, Heath Van Den Bogaert caught his first wave—and a glimmer of his future. He was hooked, not only on surfing, but also on learning everything there was to know about how surfboards were able to float, navigate sharp turns, glide atop waves. His youthful curiosity brought him to research materials and surfboard construction. Over the years, his garage became his studio. Having a natural artistic talent, he experimented with design and construction, and later, honed his skills working for manufacturing companies, helping to create and build custom boards for professional surfers and professional-name brand boards. Eventually, Heath decided it was time to branch out, to go out on his own.

From a garage start-up Bogaert Boards is now located in a large factory, but don’t let the “factory” word fool you. Every board is built in house, start-to-finish, one-at-a-time, precision-crafted by hand with American materials. They are lightweight, UV resistant and individually-painted with either the client’s art, custom art or one of Bogaert’s standard designs.

“Building boards is a passion that I will always have. I put so much heart into creating them and that’s what it’s all about. To me, this is not just a job; it’s what I love to do,” Heath Van Den Bogaert says on Playak, a paddling community board.

Meet Heath…

What drew you to your chosen craft?

I’ve always wanted to be a surfer and could never get to the beach enough to be great at it. Then I watched someone making one and fell in love with the craft.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

Creating something so precise and fast.

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?

If you can’t build something with your own hands or mind than what can you claim in the world? When you leave something behind like this craft it feels good knowing that after you’re gone. They will still be around and someday be collector’s pieces.

In what ways are hand-made goods better than those that are mass produced?

You just aren’t building them to build them. You’re using your talent. That should be worth something.

What does the future hold for your type of work?

Future for me and my craft lie in the hands of the buyer. I know I build a great product and I stick to and don’t veer off this path. I hope someday everyone will see the quality in American made.

 


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