Age: Born in June 1981
Born: Edmonton, Alberta
How long have you lived in Vancouver? I have lived in Vancouver since 2002
Occupations: I attended the University of Alberta where I studied electrical engineering. I later switched to biomedical engineering. While at university I was also involved in entrepreneurial design competitions. I led a 40-person team project that made self-driving vehicles. From these two experiences, I learned business planning and organization skills; I also had access to engineering machine shops with its many resources. During this time, I got around on a skateboard and worked at a ski and snowboard shop. Eventually I combined the three, looking at building a better skateboard utilizing modern ski and snowboard technologies. I explored wood bending techniques for making skateboards, and was smitten with the process. Eventually I bought enough wood to create 100 boards, quit my summer job in a research lab and devoted myself to making skateboards. In 2004, I started the Vancouver company Rayne Longboards, which currently employs about 35 people.
Passions and Interests: I am passionate about my business and solving the many problems that crop up. It is the small wins that make us successful. In my free time I go longboarding, skiing, biking, motorcycle riding and I’m trying to learn how to surf. Two years ago I competed in the downhill longboarding World Cup circuit, I was the 6th fastest competitor at the circuit’s fastest race in Teutonia, Brazil. I also woodwork and am involved in architectural design.
What do people know you for? Rayne Longboards and downhill longboarding.
Thoughts on Vancouver? From the moment I arrived in Vancouver, the city has provided me with opportunities in business, sports and the outdoors. This is the place where my dreams came true. I like the diversity of the neighbourhoods and the many transportation options. In the past three years I have visited more than 20 countries and nowhere have I seen mountains, hiking and swimming in fresh mountain creeks so close to the city. It’s the best! The thing I dislike about Vancouver is the extreme house prices.
I was intrigued to hear about a young Vancouver entrepreneur who not only runs his own longboarding business but competes in the World Cup circuit in the longboard division. Downhill longboarding can easily reach speeds of over 100 km per hour on paved roads, so not for the faint of heart. But it was more than that: Graham is constantly trying to improve his business by developing new product lines as well as things like zero-waste policies. Last year, the University of Alberta presented Graham with an alumni award for outstanding achievement.
The photo shoot took place on the roof of Rayne Longboards in Chinatown.