John Chenciner, Founder and CEO
John Chenciner, Chief Executive Officer, Founder
John Chenciner is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Surf 9. A lifelong entrepreneur, John brings constant innovation to the sporting and consumer goods industries. John has over 40 years of experience in design, global manufacturing, private labeling, sales, and marketing.
No stranger to hard work and persistence, John developed his first successful product as a teenager in Montreal, Canada, which he then quickly grew into Canada’s largest skateboarding company. Focused on creating innovative solutions, he was determined to make a better roller skate. A natural collaborator, John worked with engineers at DuPont to develop and patent the first composite chassis for roller skates. This new experience with injection molding led John into the footwear industry, creating Canada’s largest direct injection shoe factory until off-shore production shifted the global market and he moved production to China.
John relocated to Florida and in 2005 launched Surf 9, recognizing an opportunity to combine his lifelong passion for paddling and problem-solving. Since procuring the Body Glove License in 2005, John has amassed multiple patents, for design and utility for both sporting goods and footwear. He has led the company to become the third largest retailer of paddleboards worldwide and to be listed as #2439 on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list in 2018.
John has fostered a company culture that's a perfect balance between relentless work ethic and enjoying life to its fullest. Building a team of experts, John leads by example and demonstrates persistence each day, encouraging his team not only to give their best, but to constantly raise the bar and identify new ways to do things better. It is this team culture that John attributes as the “secret sauce” to their competitive advantage.
John resides in Florida with his wife and has two adult children. You can find John and his family “product testing” around Florida or at his lake house up north each summer.
Luke Hopkins, President of Watersports
Luke Hopkins is the President of Watersports at Surf 9, responsible for the Body Glove watersports brand since its introduction in 2016. Luke is an ambitious product developer, whose achievements as a champion paddler help him to create incredible outdoor experiences that inspire customers to do the unexpected.
Before joining Surf 9 in 2013, Luke played an integral part in the creation of an entire category in board sports, as Sales and Brand Manager with OneWheel. Proud to bring the product to consumer viability, Luke was also responsible for manufacturing relationships and inclusion of the product in over 130 retail chains.
As a professional athlete, Luke has won the Freestyle Kayak Nationals, the Go-Pro Mountain Games, and placed second overall in the World Championship for Freestyle Kayaking.
Luke resides in North Carolina with his wife and two young daughters. In his free time, he can be found on the water with his family, teaching his daughters to imagine the unexpected.
Brad Gruber, President of Footwear
Brad Gruber is the President of Footwear at Surf 9, responsible for the evolution of the Body Glove footwear brand. Brad is an approachable leader and retail partner, who lives and leads by the slogan “do what you love”. Brad’s expertise in product development and his love of the outdoors are the perfect combination to drive the future of this dynamic brand.
Before joining Surf 9 in 2018, Brad spent more than 20 years working in Marketing and Sales at Grendene USA, as a Director for multiple footwear brands. Most notably, Brad oversaw the launch of the Rider Sandals and Melissa footwear brands. Brad’s leadership and experience in brand strategy extend across all product life cycles. Brad’s extensive retail portfolio includes experience at Foot Locker and the Banana Republic.
Brad’s mission at Surf 9 is to continue building the legacy of the iconic brands in the footwear category. Brad and his team display strength in reliability as a partner and supplier of choice, which together, continue to elevate Surf 9 brand partners.
Brad resides in Florida with his wife and daughter. Brad is passionate about the outdoors and loves to downhill ski at the Canyons at Park City or boat around Florida.