The magazine for Western Washington University

Online only: DB Skimboards

Western students helped start, build the company

Print this story
WWU student Bryce Hermansen, left, douses Isaac Thomas (’10), of DB Skimboards, a company the two helped start in high school. | Photo by Rhys Logan

Back in 2003, DB Skimboards was just four Tacoma high school kids who loved skimboarding the shallow shores of South Sound and wanted to make their own gear on the cheap.

Soon, they started cutting, laminating and waxing the wooden planks for their friends, then friends-of-friends. They took over a parent’s two-car garage to keep up with the demand as stores up and down the West Coast began selling their handcrafted maple and bamboo laminated boards.

Also read: Spring Awakening

The four went off to college, including two who came to Western Washington University, but continued to build their company. DB Skimboards now has its own warehouse and retail store in Fife.

“I never thought it would be this big,” says Bryce Hermansen, a senior in Business Administration who was one of the founders of the company as a student at Stadium High School. The others are Isaac Thomas , who graduated from Western in December 2010, Tim Mackey and Richard Docter.

In addition to manufacturing skimboards, DB also hosts summer camps and clinics for people who want to learn the finer points of ripping through three inches of water on a flexible wooden plank. All the company’s founders are on DB Skimboard’s rider team, showcasing the growing sport through events, contests and videos, says Thomas, a Special Education and Elementary Education graduate.

Thomas now works full-time as DB Skim Camp Director, Logistics Coordinator and manager of DB Skim and Skate, the company’s new retail store. DB has just branched out into longboard skateboards, and also sells graphic t-shirts and hoodies.

Thomas also is the only DB executive with a board named after him. According to the company’s catalog, the Thomas PRO is “solid on everything, great for 1-foot tricks and had enough weight to get seriously tech.”

Hermansen has worked at the company during the summers and earned enough to make a significant dent in his college expenses, he says. Now, he’s pondering joining the company full-time after graduation this spring. Working for a larger company is appealing, he says, but so is being an entrepreneur.

“If I want to work there, I can come up with my own job title,” Hermansen says. “We’ve been growing and growing.”