We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Peterson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Adapt and over come. There’s a lot of people who will say things can’t be done but, if you put your mind and heart into it you can accomplish anything. Also it’s big for our company because we started in a backyard with limited tools, supplies, and knowledge. But after awhile you can make it work and get what you need. You’ll make mistakes along the way and you can either let it bog you down or you can overcome it take it as a good lesson learned.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My wife and I own hillbilly surfboards and repair. My wife is a full time 5th grade teacher and I am a full time wildland firefighter.
I’ve been fighting wildland fires on and off since I was 18. Every r and r day after a fire you would find me out surfing my 10ft nose rider. During my college years in between fire seasons I would be back to school at CSU Channel Islands and while running a mobile carwash I would work for Back Nine or Ray Lucke up in Camarillo. Sadly my senior year I had to sell all of my surfboards to help pay for my senior thesis which was a motorcycle trip across the United States. But even though I sold my boards I got a free BMW motorcycle and some fantastic sponsors out of it. I found my self graduating college and back on a hotshot crew busting my butt and saving up for surfboards and planning a surf trip. It wasn’t until two years ago I finally decided I’m going to shape a board for my wife in the back yard. I had a few junk boards and couldn’t find wax, a leash or ding repair kit anywhere locally. So when I started shaping in the back yard I thought I can’t be the only one who needs surf supplies or ding repair locally. So it started with my wife’s board for her birthday then some ding repair for guys I work with. Finally I got my llc and sellers permit, but quickly found out we needed a store front instead of my back yard. We searched around and found the perfect store in old town Murrieta. Everyday off I was in the shop building furniture and setting up with my wife and a week before our grand opening with a lot of stuff still needed to be done I got called away on a fire assignment. This is where my wife totally knocked it out of the park and got the shop all finished and with help from our friends my wife had the grand opening. I can’t thank my wife and our friends enough I’m forever in there debt. If you look in our shop you’ll see boards from local shapers such as Chris Samaniego, art work from family friends, and wood from my friends reservation house (wood was really expensive then).
The hillbilly’s name came up from two people. One was a term I heard from an uncle when he was over seas. He used to say they would use hillbilly armor (scrap metal) to up armor their trucks. The other was my buddies joking around about where I live and shape out of. We’ll here at hillbilly’s we may not have all the fancy new tools and sure our shaping room doubles as a laundry room, but it’s that mental of attitude of get it done.
Over all lessons learned for others is that if you want to do something it doesn’t matter if it’s a new business or a motorcycle trip. Set a date and say on this date come hell or high water I’m doing it. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, that speaks volume to starting out. You’ll never open with all of the product you want. We still don’t have everything but we will eventually will. Also just get out there in nature and enjoy life.
Lastly again I would to thank all my friends and family who have supported my wife and I through this. And our new friends we meet everyday at the shop! Without you guys we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’ll Thats a tough one. Obviously we would head out and go surfing. I would take them to every restaurant in old town Murrieta. I’ve eaten at all of them and I can’t say enough about the food. We’re kinda an off roading family so if we weren’t going surfing everyday or camping after old town Murrieta I would head out to old town Temecula for some dancing. Every night of the week would end at a bonfire at our house.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s three people who have helped me out greatly. First off the man who gave me a start and a job in between fire seasons, the great Ray Lucke who has been shaping and glassing for I want to say 40-50 years. Next would be my great friend and one of California’s greatest shapers for the last 40 years Chris Samaniego. Chris also gave us a few boards to raffle off when we first started. The best for last and the only reason our shop stay open, is my wife Rae Peterson. She teaches 5th grade and runs the shop when I’m gone in the summer time. Without her support I would still be daydreaming about owning a shop. So at the end of the day I would be no where without her.