Contact: Brent Ackland.
Email: “brent [at] northernsup.com”
Phone Lee Brittain (president): 1-705-429-0318 (until December 2019)
If your passion is kiteboarding, standup paddleboarding, surfing, or windsurfing, let Canada’s #1 board builder, Lee Brittain design the perfect board for you. With well over thirty year’s experience building boards, you know you’re getting the best at very competitive prices! Performance and quality surpasses mass-produced production boards in almost every way. Hand made with SOUL!
Lee Brittain grew up in Wasaga Beach on the shores of Georgian Bay Ontario. Wasaga is the longest freshwater beach in the world, and has a wide variety of water conditions, sometimes with waves that rival the ocean. He started body surfing and surfing on air mattresses when he was 8 years old and he quickly learned about the power of waves, and how they worked. On non-windy days he spent his time behind a boat on skis, surfboards, barefoot, or any other way to experiment — this experience would serve him well as the basis for hydro-dynamic knowledge.
He has 350 hours of flying time in aerobatic and amphibian homebuilt planes which adds to his aero and hydrodynamic experience.
Why the name “Rogue Wave”? A rogue wave is a phenomenon where waves double up creating a wave that is much larger than all surrounding waves. Since I was into wave riding from a very early age, the name seemed appropriate for a board company. (Wikipedia on ocean rogue waves)
What got you into shaping initially? I started shaping windsurfers back in 1980 because there were no high-performance boards available in Canada at that time. Once some of my friends tried the boards I was building, they begged me to make some for them too, and a business was born! I was making 10 boards a week the basement of my house and could not keep up with the demand. Once the Japanese learned of the quality of our boards, the orders exploded, and we were shipping boards to them every month.
So you’ve been shaping award-winning windsurf boards for years, what got you into shaping kiteboards?
I was one of the first people in Canada to import a Wipika kite directly from the inventor of the inflatable kite, Bruno (Legaignoux) in France back in 1997 or thereabouts. We were using directional boards with concave bottoms at the time for kitesurfing – 230 cm long boards.I started off making actual wakeboards (the boat-towing kind) about the time kiteboarding was just beginning, but long before Lou Wainman started using modified wakeboards for kitesurfing on Maui. We learned a lot from making wakeboards through trial and lots of errors. We were using 100% carbon fiber in them then, but found that it’s much too stiff and brittle. Our cores were not as good as what we use now either, although some builders still use it with success.
You live in Wasaga Beach, Ontario how would you describe the scene there? We get many different conditions depending on the wind direction, so it’s a great area for board testing. I get IMMEDIATE feedback from our team-riders and others who kiteboard here. Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world with more than 20 km of sandy beach! It’ has clean, clear water to ride in and lots of beach to launch from or to drift into if you run into problems. With a good kite and board combination, it’s not uncommon to be able to ride 3 or 4 days a week here, and when the wind is up, we see waves over 3 meters high.
What other shapers work do you respect?Without a doubt, Jimmy Lewis has been the most helpful to me, and is a good friend. I shaped 60+ windsurfers per year in the wintertime in his shop in the late ’90s, and he’s been very instrumental in keeping me up to date on the scene in Maui and worldwide. I use his templates and fin shapes for many of my boards, and will be eternally grateful for the help he’s given me over the years. Without his help, I would not have been able to stay on the leading edge of board shapes and construction, so I owe him a lot! There really is a lot to be said for the famous “Jimmy Lewis Magic”.
Where do you see your shapes headed?Making boards that work in a very wide range of conditions is a stimulating challenge and the the boards get better with every one I make. I am continually refining my shapes to make them more versatile and better performing in all conditions. Sometimes small details in the shape make profound improvements on the water. I think the most developments in the near future will be with kite design, and as it changes, board shapes will inevitably change too – they go hand in hand.
Here’s your opportunity to comment on something in the industry. Production boards will get a lot cheaper and better, but discriminating riders will appreciate having their boards fine tuned to their style of riding.. There is nothing like riding a board that was built by hand — you can feel the “soul “that’s built into each one. There is simply no way that production companies can make a board as light, or as strong as hand-built ones – they can be either as strong, or as light, but not both! But don’t take my word for it — try one!
Warranty: As of January 1 2012, no warranty is expressed or implied.