Profile : Andrew Johns
Article and Pictures : Carlo / iKiteboarding.com
Two years ago Andrew Johns moved down from Jeffreys Bay and started Xelerator Kiteboarding in Cape Town. Facing intense rivalry from a relatively small kiteboarding industry, Andrew just stuck it out and did what he does best : Shaping boards and enjoying the sport.
Whilst people started noticing his boards, his rivals were knocking on his door. His boards instantly became popular for their tough construction and scratch resistant duraglide bottoms. Soon he was making boards for Flexifoil. But all the hard work came at a price. It wasn't all easy though. Andrew recalls confrontations with certain industry players knocking on his door, and even going as far as threatening him.
Today he is the owner of IEST (Integrated Epoxy Sandwhich Technologies). He makes boards for Flexifoil, Cape Doctor, Town & Country Surfboards and Xelerator to name a few.
Andrew has a pretty unusual character. He's intense. He takes his work very seriously, but he's also flat out the funniest guy I have ever seen in my life. When he hits the water he's just as intense. Everyone notices. Being a ex-pro windsurfer he is an experienced waterman - preferring the likes of Misty Cliffs or Cape Point in 8 - 10 foot conditions as apposed to Dolphin Beach on a crowded day.
I remember the first time I met Andrew. I ordered a board from him and he came to drop it off on the beach for me. Waiting on the beach, I saw a scrawny looking character approaching me with what was obviously my new board. The guy extended his hand and said : "hi, I'm Andrew from Xelerator." Andrew was wearing a T-shirt with a couple of holes and black boardshorts with some paint on it. His glasses were all bent and skew. Looking at him, I would never have thought that this guy could kite, let alone shape a board or even be the owner of a company that makes boards for the likes of Flexifoil.
If there's one thing Andrew taught me it's never to underestimate anyone or judge someone by appearances. Even today when Andrew goes to the beach people have no idea who he is. He doesn't boast about the boards he makes or have any sort of attitude at all. But when he hits the water everyone notices. There's something about that you have to respect.