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Invented From The Ground Up

About Whirly Board

Whirly Board, LLC is a startup company founded on the belief that time spent riding a board is directly proportional to quality of life. A startup company and family business that originated in a small-town Wisconsin garage in 2014. Every board is hand made with care in the USA and comes with a Lifetime Manufacturer Guarantee.

Invented from The Ground Up

About Whirly Board

Whirly Board, LLC is a startup company founded on the belief that time spent riding a board is directly proportional to quality of life. A startup company and family business that originated in a small-town Wisconsin garage in 2014. Every board is hand made with care in the USA and comes with a Lifetime Manufacturer Guarantee.

Our story

I’ve always been passionate about the outdoors, splitting my childhood between Wisconsin and Florida, I naturally picked up on boardsports which became my favorite thing to do. There is something about being able to connect with nature on its level and trying to master all of its greatest challenges. I began to snowboard and wakeboard at a very young age and eventually wanted to learn some tricks. I found out my height combined with a lack of spatial awareness made it challenging to learn how to spin without getting the wind knocked out of me. After years of learning things the hard way, I wished I had something to help me practice spinning safely, but I couldn’t find the exact training tool that I needed.

A friend of mine introduced me to a roller style balance board but it just didn’t do it for me. It got easy quickly and I never really felt that the roller simulated real life board riding. There is a lot more to board control than rocking back and forth. The roller board was lacking the three-dimensional aspect that you feel when carving or spinning through the air and searching for your landing. I knew that I could create something better that added more dimensions of use. So late one night in my garage with a bowling ball and a dremel tool, I began to create what became the first Whirly Board.
Play Video

Erik Olsen | Creator & Owner

We're Creative
We're Innovative
We're Team Whirly

Erik Olsen | Creator & Owner

I’ve always been passionate about the outdoors, splitting my childhood between Wisconsin and Florida, I naturally picked up on boardsports which became my favorite thing to do. There is something about being able to connect with nature on its level and trying to master all of its greatest challenges. I began to snowboard and wakeboard at a very young age and eventually wanted to learn some tricks. I found out my height combined with a lack of spatial awareness made it challenging to learn how to spin without getting the wind knocked out of me. After years of learning things the hard way, I wished I had something to help me practice spinning safely, but I couldn’t find the exact training tool that I needed.

A friend of mine introduced me to a roller style balance board but it just didn’t do it for me. It got easy quickly and I never really felt that the roller simulated real life board riding. There is a lot more to board control than rocking back and forth. The roller board was lacking the three-dimensional aspect that you feel when carving or spinning through the air and searching for your landing. I knew that I could create something better that added more dimensions of use. So late one night in my garage with a bowling ball and a dremel tool, I began to create what became the first Whirly Board.

Our Story

Play Video

Erik Olsen | Creator & Owner

We're Creative
We're Innovative
We're Team Whirly

Mission

We want to encourage people to get outside, be active, and chase their dreams. Try new things and have confidence in yourself. If you want to do something then find a way to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, the rewards are always better that way. Say less I should have, and more I am glad I did. Humans have so much potential we can literally do anything we put our mind to don’t get stuck in a rut.

Vision

This is our 5th year in business and actually a very exciting time for us. We have officially outgrown our garage and basement and just completed construction on a new facility that will greatly increase efficiency and production capacity. We are also planning on bringing on at least 1 or 2 employees later this year as well. The popularity is increasing rapidly and we have exciting plans for the future which definitely involve more inventions and innovations.

An interview with Erik Olsen.

It started with wakeboarding for me. I was about 12 years old and had been water skiing with my family since I was 6. When wakeboards first came out, I had to have one, it was a directional board with sandle bindings, a huge nose and huge fin! I got up my first try and loved it immediately. It’s amazing to see how far the sport has come in my lifetime. What I love about board sports is you can always challenge yourself to improve, weather its learning a new trick or adding a new style to an old trick. Board sports allow you to be creative and express yourself through your riding. It’s also really fun to go big and land something you have been working on for the first time is about as good as it gets. There is always more to learn and if you’re not falling you’re not trying hard enough!
Yes! I grew up in an environment that helped encourage creativity. My mom has been a full time artist for most of my life. When I was young we used to travel to art shows and I always had a little corner of the booth where I sold my “shell dudes” little creatures I made from shells with a hot glue gun. I have always known deep down that what I really wanted to do is make things. I have had lots of ideas for new products over the years but never really saw them through, its generally not very easy or practical to bring something to life and have it make sense. Its much easier to find a reason not to do it. But I never stop thinking about new ideas. When the idea for the Whirly Board came along, I thought to myself, I can make these! So I did! I also hated my job, so I quit to make sure I had to get serious about WB haha! I never worked harder in my life than after quitting my job!
I went to college because that is what you do after high school right? I started out majoring in Mechanical Engineering, because of my interest in design and creation and inventing. I guess I planned to get a degree and get a job and work for some company. My aspiration was that I could help them design and enhance their products or create new innovations. It turned out I wasn’t great at math, so Mechanical Engineering didnt work out. I changed my major to biochemistry because I liked science and figured there would be some good jobs and innovation in the medical field.
No. job searching was a horrible challenge and I got burned out on it. I actually ended up selling commercial insurance.
After a few interviews for medical sales jobs I was advised to get any sales experience I could. I had a friend in the insurance business who got me an interview and I figured I would give it a try.
No I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t for me and I could never do it long term. That said, I was there for almost 10 years. I did my job, and I did it well enough to help my customers and save a little money. But I wanted to create, I just had to keep plugging away until I could figure something out. One positive that came from the insurance job is I worked with a lot of businesses in the manufacturing industry which helped me learn about how things are made and kept me thinking of my real dream. I actually ended up working with some of my old insurance customers to manufacture the components for the Whirly Board.
I had an indo board at one time and some friends in college had a bongo board so I was familiar with the concept and had some fun with each of them. But after getting the hang of the roller I felt limited and got bored with the 2 dimensional side to side action. I also didn’t really feel like it helped my skills much for real boardsports. My favorite trick on the roller board was to spin the board 180 on the cylinder and land facing the other way while maintaining balance. I thought it would be fun if the board was designed with a half sphere in the middle so you could keep spinning. So I made one and said, wow this is really fun, this is it, the thing I can make and sell!
I remember the first night I tested the bowling ball creation it was really sketchy because it sat so high off the ground and I didn’t have anything on the nose and tail to touch down with so I could hardly stand on it for more than a few seconds. To test, I attached some old skateboard wheels sideways on the nose and tail, it helped but I needed something better and more spherical. I recruited a friend to help me cut a couple pool balls in half on his table saw. It was a scary cut but we got it done and it worked. The coolest part was that I could transfer my weight to the nose or tail and also spin on the pool balls.
I made 11 real originals out of bowling balls that I handed out to friends and family to get feedback. Then when I had a mold made to replace the pool balls but to save money on more tooling I made the first 250 or so using pool balls I cut and shaped by hand. If I saved all the dust I could probably build a jump out of it.
I think the best part about it is its versatility. It works more effectively and is more fun for just about every possible use. From standing desks to fitness routines, to practicing skills for learning new tricks. The fun factor is the difference it’s simply more fun. The other best part is that there is no limit to how far you can progress. Once you can spin, how far can you spin? Then how many transfers or creative variations can you add in? I know I will never fully master it but I will always get better at it and learn new things.
It was in one of my early whirly sessions in my basement with the first bowling ball board. The firm carpet was perfect down there so I would move the couch and coffee table out of the way and really get after it. When I started figuring out the nose and tail transfers and walking the board I knew it was legit. I was amazed at how much fun I was having as I kept getting better, and it would almost always leave me wanting to go out and rip some turns on my longboard.
Since my target customer was board sport enthusiasts I figured what better place to get into the hands of board riders than in the mountains so I loaded up with about 75 un-assembled boards and headed west. I was going to hand out a few samples to board shops in each town and the orders would start rolling in! That didn’t happen but the positive feedback I got definitely helped me gain some confidence that it could work. I guess getting in as much snowboarding as possible was definitely a big part of it too if we’re being honest though.
I definitely learned it would not be as easy as I imagined it. Even though almost everyone thought it was cool, not many people actually pulled out their wallet to buy one! I think a lot of people are skeptical about buying something new. Especially from a guy in snow pants! Some people did though, they would say “I’ll take one” right away and they usually really excited to get it too. That was a great feeling and also helped keep gas in my tank on my travels, but it was clear there was a lot of work to be done to get the message across. We are still working on that actually haha, it’s a work in progress! Get outside and be active.
The hardest thing for me is the office aspect of the business, from marketing to book keeping, to building website content It’s all a challenge for me. I like to be in the shop making things, coming up with new ideas and making them happen. Building and testing prototypes is exciting stuff. This is what I am good at and where I belong! Joanna helps out a lot with that stuff but we are both struggling to learn in a fast paced automated world where nothing seems to work right and everything is expensive!
Originally I thought board sports people would be the only ones interested, but it has become so much more than that! The increasing popularity of standing desks has been a huge benefit for us as it is the perfect accessory to help keep your body active at a standing desk or workstation. It offers so much more than most of the other standing desk balance boards that keep you limited to one specific spot. With the WB you can twist, shift, and move around. Many non board sports people have also enjoyed using the board as a fun workout tool for more than just lower body balance!
That’s a good question, things are going well right now and I am excited to see what the future holds. We are getting a ton of positive feedback and people seem to be loving their boards so I don’t think its going to slow down. What I really hope to do is continue to invent and create things but ultimately go more in a broad direction of outdoor products rather than being limited to just balance boards. I have a lot of new ideas I just need to find some time to create them. Lately as I get older and am forced to tone down my lifestyle, we have been into paddle boarding and kayaking and most importantly fishing from them. I am working on some inventions for these activities under the brand Paddle Fishing Systems.
Marketing. I hate advertisements as much as anyone, so its hard for me to try to tell people to buy my products through advertising. Thankfully the board is enjoyable enough that people generally tell their friends about it. So we have grown to this point pretty much by word of mouth
More than just a balance board- it’s a lifestyle.

Whirly Board is a small family run business where everyone is willing to lend a hand.

Paxton Olsen

Chief Fun Officer
Paxton joined us in 2019 and almost immediately entered our rigorous corporate ladder training program. Lander quickly taught him the proper techniques of product development and testing as well as communication skills and customer care. Paxton’s energetic spirit and fearless approach to all that life has to offer has earned him the title Chief Fun Officer. Paxton always wants to try new things and charges at them without hesitation. He enjoys being outside, sledding, snow skating, wake surfing, water skiing on a saucer, bikes, hikes, scooters and skateboards. We are also very excited to have Pax join us for his first season on the slopes this winter.

Lander Olsen

Chief Excellence Officer
Lander joined the Whirly Board team in 2018 specializing as a quality assurance consultant to help maintain a positive customer experience. Lander is prone to surprise inspections and often calls mandatory board meetings to discuss new products and overall direction. He enjoys sledding, hikes, biking, fishing, skateboarding, sorting, pulling “his guys” around in a sled or cart cross country skiing and is looking forward to his first season on downhill skis.

Joanna Mortensen

Assistant to the Boss, PR Director, Accountant, Marketing Executive, Social Media Coordinator, Digital Analyst, Website Creator, Creative Director, Graphic Designer, SEO Specialist, Foreman

Aside from managing the daily affairs of our Boss Lander, (a full time job in itself … including overtime without pay) Joanna manages a plethora of digital headaches related to maintaining our presence online. Growing up in northern Wisconsin she developed a passion for the outdoors. Joanna enjoys camping, hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, horseback-riding and many other recreational activities. Erik and Joanna first met and dated in high school. They reconnected in 2014 right before Erik took the leap to embark on the Whirly Board adventure. Enticed by the challenge of making it on their own, and her own entrepreneurial spirit, she chose to join him on the journey. 

Erik Olsen

Founder/Inventor, Whirly Board Salesman, Customer Service, Global Logistics, Assembly Line Worker, Box Taper, Janitor, Quality Assurance Supervisor, and Problem Solver

If you have seen a Whirly Board, there is a 100% chance that Erik had at least some part in building it. Erik is a fun loving adrenaline junkie with a passion for outdoor activities. If he’s not building Whirlies, or inventing other new products, he is most likely riding a board of some kind, mountain biking, water skiing, or chasing big fish from his paddleboard. More recently, he spends more time being a dad, changing diapers, and teaching Lander to have fun outside. Erik’s creative tendency and entrepreneurial spirit, encouraged him to quit his “real job” and embark on a full-time journey creating new products for active lifestyles. Whirly Board is the first step in that journey, with many more new creations to come.

“I’m not in this to get rich selling cheaply made products that I never even see. I just want to make cool new stuff to help enjoy this awesome world. Products I believe in, that make people happy, and stand behind them.”

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