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Published: Monday, November 7, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Super Kid: Sherman Belfry, Kamiak's longboard entrepreneur

  • Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, founded DenAli Boardshop in Mukilteo.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, founded DenAli Boardshop in Mukilteo.

  • Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, operates a custom longboard business, DenAli Boardshop, in Mukilteo.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, operates a custom longboard business, DenAli Boardshop, in Mukilteo.

  • Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, operates a custom longboard business, DenAli Boardshop, in Mukilteo.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Kamiak High School senior Sherman Belfry, 17, operates a custom longboard business, DenAli Boardshop, in Mukilteo.

  • Belfry hand-builds custom longboards with help from his brother and sells mostly through word of mouth.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Belfry hand-builds custom longboards with help from his brother and sells mostly through word of mouth.

Q: You're in high school and you're in business. You run DenAli Boardshop, a custom longboard shop in Mukilteo. When did you start making longboards?
A: I made my first board when I was 14. My dad and I went to Home Depot for Baltic birch. My dad is kind of a jack-of-all-trades. He's got all the tools.
Q: How long have you had the shop? And how do customers find you?
A: I've had the shop about 10 months. I have a website and the shop is on Facebook. I sell online, but with most customers it's word of mouth.
Q: Do you make the boards yourself?
A: I have help from my brother, Sam. He's 27. And my parents have helped with the business, Marge and Paul Belfry.
Q: How does school fit into an entrepreneur's schedule?
A: I'm in school from 7:20 a.m. until 12:58 p.m. I have early dismissal to work. I've taken AP (advanced placement) and honors classes at Kamiak, and I'll have all I need to graduate. I'm taking AP senior English and AP human geography right now. But I'm more into manual labor than homework.
Q: Tell me a bit about the board-making process.
A: You have to press the boards, laminate them in a press, draw the shapes and trim them. We're putting a lot into research and development needs: a CNC (computer numerical controlled) router, concrete molds and a hydraulic press. The hardest part is cutting them out. If you're a little bit off, there's a lot of sanding.
Q: Have you had favorite subjects in school?
A: English and DECA. In DECA, I went to nationals in marketing. I did a technical sales challenge: How to sell the Wii to retirement homes.
Q: So business is fun for you?
A: It's really about selling stuff. In grade school I was making jewelry out of rocks and selling those.
Q: Do you plan to go to college?
A: I hope to go to Spokane Falls Community College -- my girlfriend lives in Spokane -- or to Edmonds Community College and learn materials science, composites. My brother and father both work at Boeing.
Q: Snowboarding is another passion. How long have you been snowboarding?
A: Since I was 11. I used to live in Spokane; I did urban snowboarding in Spokane. We moved over here at the beginning of high school. Now I snowboard at Stevens Pass. I've been hoping to hear back on some snowboarding sponsorships. It goes hand-in-hand with longboarding. It's all about balance.
Q: Do you use your longboard for transportation?
A: I'll be 18 this month, and still no driver's license. I longboard rain or snow. I go to school on a longboard, it's advertising.
Q: What's the worst injury you've suffered longboarding?
A: Probably a bruised elbow. But snowboarding, I had a spiral fracture of my ankle.
Q: Why do you love longboarding?
A: It's just kind of a release for me. On a bad day, I'll just go out and surf.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.
More information
Sherman Belfry's DenAli Boardshop: denaliboardshop.com
Or check out DenAli Boardshop on Facebook.


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