Nineplus was started in 1996 in the small town of St. Agnes on the North Coast of Cornwall in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Richard Balding when he was 19 years old although due to his surfing sponsorship commitments it was kept as a side project until 2000 aged 23, 2019 will mark the 23rd anniversary of the brand.
Between 1996 & 2000 these early years were spent driving around the UK and through Europe while attending surfing events, sleeping in his car which included the annual pilgrimage to the ‘Biarritz Surf Festival’ held each summer at the ‘Cote de Basque’ in the pursuit of both customers and suppliers in equal effort. Trying to establish a business based around the sport of longboarding, something Richard had fallen in love with over the past 10 years, Richard would drive an old VW full of products and literally not take no for an answer. His relentlessness paid off & Nineplus was soon making deliveries to the numerous surfing shops scattered up and down the coasts of Europe whilst employing youngsters back in St Agnes, Cornwall deep in the South West of the UK after school to fold and pack the orders as they rolled in.
Along the way Richard started working with Kevin Connelly from California making surfboards, 30 or so would come in during a single delivery and as it was based out of a small house called ‘Hidden Byway’ there was often no-where to store the boards while being sold. Wire used to be wrapped around the boxes in the garden, up through the bedroom window and around Richards ankles just in case someone tried to take off with them in the night. Had that happened the company would have been gone bust overnight!!