Is it for surfing? Is it for skateboarding? Meet Ricardo Marques and find out the guy who made it possible to surf the asphalt by creating a disruptive skateboard.
Q: For those who don't know you, who is Ricardo Marques?
A: I was born and raised in Gaia, Portugal, I am 33 years old and I am the founder of Bio Boards Surfskates.
Q: What moves you and what are your passions?
A: I have a lot of passions, surfing, skateboarding, traveling, spending quality time with friends and a deep desire to change something and turning my ideas into reality. Bio boards turns out to be a result of all this.
What moves me is the passion to make it happen and trying to make life around us better.
Q: From where was born the love for Skate/Surf?
A: I was raised by the sea, my maternal grandparents had a beach bar, and my paternal grandparent was a fisherman so my interest and connection with the sea started at a very young age, and consequently surfing, spearfishing, fishing.
Skateboarding because it was always something that fascinated me. I saw it in the magazines (pre-internet times), and I wanted to do the same.
Q: If you must choose only one, which would it be and why?
A: This is a difficult question, but I think I would choose surfing. It's something irreplaceable, not only for the activity itself but for all the vibe and calm that contact with the ocean brings.
Q: Now, tell us about Bio Boards. How did the project come about? Tell us about its purpose and story.
A: Bio Boards was born when I was doing my master's thesis in Rio de Janeiro, and during my stay I started to ponder what my future work would be.
Unhappy with the prospects, I decided to do something that really makes me happy and from that moment 2014 at the beach looking at the ocean I decided, that I was going to work with surfing and skateboarding.
Q: Where did the idea of choosing to make sustainable skateboards come from? What benefits do you see in sustainability?
A: Every surfer has an environmental sensitivity and I'm no exception. Allied with my background in environmental engineering, the choice of sustainable materials (namely cork) turned out to be a natural choice, in addition to competitive and marketing advantages.
To be honest the biggest benefit is knowing that we are trying to do something better. It is impossible to make a product without an ecological footprint, but we can try to do our best. It is not easy to work with alternative materials, due to the addition of the product, but we will not have a world to change if we don't make this transition to sustainable consumption, at all levels from energy to fashion.
Bio Boards will not change the world but, if we manage to raise awareness in our community, we are already on the right path.
Fortunately, this concern of people and companies is already beginning to be seen.
Q: What were your sources of inspiration for this brand?
A: Literally everything. I look for inspiration every time I'm awake, always on the lookout for solutions from other industries that I can adapt. Nature, books and other companies are also a source of inspiration.
I am particularly interested in the history of big brands, what they do and what they are doing towards sustainability like Outdoor Voices, Agreement, Groceries Apparel, Kaira Active, Athlete, Patagonia, Alternative Apparel, and Adidas to name a few.
Q: When starting a new project, there are always goals outlined. What were your ambitions? Did you accomplish them?
A: This is an endless process. Initially, ambition and the dream were giant but I started taking small actions, first it was just doing something that made me happy, and for that I needed to do something that made others happy. To solve a problem then it's a snowball effect and we're going to do more and add more to the initial dream.
I would say that we have accomplished many of the small actions towards the dream, but we are not there yet.
But the saying goes, what matters is the path not the destination.
Q: How do you see, or hope to see Bio Boards in the future?
A: It is my goal to make Bio Boards a reference in the world of surfing, skateboarding, and sustainability.
In addition, the feeling of giving back, giving back to our community, to our employees is deeply rooted in the culture of Bio boards and we always try to mitigate our impact on the environment.
Q: Are you thinking about new projects? What can you tell us about it?
A: Our main objective at the moment is to improve our capacity and production processes. Nowadays, 70% of the skateboards is done in Portugal, we want to reach 90% by the end of the year.
Another one of our goals is to strengthen our presence in the national market and conquer other international markets.
We are also about to open the Bio Boards Academy, which will be a school dedicated to teaching surfskating.
We also have some ideas and news but it's still too early to talk.
Q: What is the biggest difficulty of inserting a new brand into a market and, how did you overcome these obstacles?
A: The world is full of information, it has never been so easy to talk but it has never been so difficult to be heard. The competition on the internet and the networks is very big.
Fortunately, due to our innovative character (first cork skateboard in the world, first surfskate with suspension, etc.) we always found it easy to appear in TV news, which helped us a lot in the initial promotion.
The biggest difficulty is, without a doubt, the dissemination and reaching our community with our product and philosophy.
Only with ingenious creative thinking, innovation and a quality product can we overcome these difficulties.
Q: From your point of view, what is the secret to success?
A: Success is relative and is closely linked to happiness. Not with the size or revenue of a company.
So, my answer is to do something that really makes you happy and fulfils you.
No illusions that the path is not easy but at least we have a purpose, and, in the end, everything is worth it.
Q: We know that you organize many skateboarding events. How did you manage to reach so many people? How does it feel to see your work being recognized and rewarded?
A: With consistency and resilience, the years go by, and Bio Boards continues to be people and our community trusts us more and more, friend after friend, and we have been growing.
Another thing that helps a lot is partnerships with other brands, it is undoubtedly a strategy that gives a lot of long-term results.
It is without a doubt very gratifying to see our community grow. I have no other word but gratitude. By our client friends and partners, but, actually, it turns out to be a natural result of all the work we've been doing.
Q: We know that you have traveled many places in the world to take your brand further. In this experience, what was most rewarding for you?
A: I could really give a long answer, but I will be very succinct.
When I said at the beginning, do something you really love that's right. Having Bio boards allows me to do what I like the most, knowing the world, creating things, accumulating experiences, and with this we are bringing value to the us as individual and to the brand.
The most rewarding of all these trips is getting to know people and cultures and realizing that in everything, in life and in business, people are the most important thing.
Q: Recently we have had the opportunity to get to know each other better. What do you think about Barbeau project?
A: Brands companies around the world have a responsibility to help in this transition to a more sustainable, greener and less consumer-oriented economy.
Barbeau is a company whose values we identify and share, and with which we had the pleasure of working and is a partnership that we want to nurture and maintain over time.
For all its philosophy of sustainable production, Barbeau is an example that we hope to be the new trend in products and services.
Q: How important is it for you to see a product with the "Made in Portugal" label?
A: There is a lot of quality in Portugal. It is no wonder that so many brands from all areas choose our country as production centers, and nowadays, this is really recognized around the world.
It is a certificate of quality, of the product, and of the way the product is produced.
Q: To learn more about your work, where can they find the Bio Boards and how can they reach you?
Thank you for your time Ricardo!