JOHN WEST – CEO, FOUNDER & CAPTAIN
BomBoard was founded by John West who has had a lifelong passion for all things watersports (especially if it has an engine on it!).
As a kid growing up in Chicago, he took every opportunity to visit Lake Michigan, gaze at the boats in the harbors, and dream of someday, owning a boat of his own.
Even as a child, his love for marine life was strong – he and his friend would take the bus through a bad neighborhood, just to attend the Chicago Boat Show.
After ending his tour as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Vietnam, he spent the rest of his Marine Corp. career in San Diego where he was fully immersed in the surf culture.
The Military Experience:
John’s military experience taught him the value of persistence, how to successfully motivate and lead people, and that the right decisions are made by those “close to the action” – all of which he applied to running his businesses.
The Serial Entrepreneur:
After the military, John got a job running a $400,000 mail order business that he grew to $5 million over four years.
He was the first to see the opportunity for customers to shift to computers and grew that business to $28 million. His company became the largest commercial user of Intel single board computers and John Doerr was assigned his sales rep.
John was also the first to see the need for engineering workstations and got Doerr, who by that time had joined Kleiner Perkins, to lead funding of his next company, Cimlinc.
John was successful in this endeavor as well, and quickly grew Cimlinc to $35 million – in just two years! He eventually sold Cimlinc to Boeing and retired.
“After selling Cimlinc and moving to a hobby farm in Wisconsin, I quickly failed retirement and decided to start another company. This time it had to be something I was passionate about.”
He was finally able to achieve his dream of having a boat on Lake Michigan and shared a lakefront home in Wisconsin.
“Jet skis were great adrenaline pumping machines, but thinking back, I had more fun on the early generation, smaller jet skis then I did on the newer, 2 – 3 person “couch” jet skis”
“I wanted to have a jet ski back in Chicago as well, but living downtown and with only a one car garage, I didn’t have a place to store both the jet ski and trailer.”
The Untapped Market:
John had noticed how PWCs had become 800 – 1100 lb “couches on water”, powered by enormous gas guzzling engines and selling for an average of $12,000.
“They just weren’t realistic”
He figured there would be a large market if he could just break the affordability and size barriers. He realized he needed to develop a high performance “jet ski-esque” watercraft that could bare a $3,000 – $4,000 price tag and was practical for city dwellers to own.
This all led to the crumbling of a few more barriers, including the elimination of the need for a trailer, resulting in the world’s only portable action watercraft.
John gained great respect for his fellow marines during his time in service and found that most veterans he hired in his companies, performed very well.
Over the years, he supported a number of veteran’s causes, which led him to the decision to donate 10% of BomBoard’s profit to the cause.
“These soldiers put their lives on the line and often don’t get the right amount of support they need when they come back (as the VA Administration fiasco recently brought to light).”
The BomBoard Support:
In addition to John’s personal support, we are also committed to doing our part by contributing to these efforts monetarily and through the hiring of our valued Vets alike.