Jeff Hull is a world builder, and his universe is the water. He cares not for the hustle and bustle of a career-oriented lifestyle. Instead, he wants to be available to stay afloat and fulfilled by the community aspect of boat life. Jeff cut his teeth as a snowboard and surfboard builder; boats were never meant to replace this work. Instead, he saw it as a new avenue to create and connect. “Once I was introduced to fiberglass, resins, epoxys…it just opened this world to things you could build.”
As the owner and operator of Jeff Hull Custom Boats out of Ventura, California, Hull has been committed to building the type of boats that he would want to be on. Regardless of your craft, these boats keep only a deep passion for the sea in mind. Less work and more play, Hull thinks of boats as toys. He explains that his desire to build things has been part of his life since he was a child, approaching each day on and off the water with youthful excitement. Hull sees the design process through from start to finish, getting to engage in all the whimsy once it hits the water. Although it’s technically his day job, each moment on a boat is a vacation for Hull. It’s his way to get away, like playing adult-pretend out on the water. An entire fantasy world exists at his fingertips.
Not only is building Hull’s favorite activity, but it is a full-on art form. He feels all aspects of the craft Not only is building Hull’s favorite activity, but it is a full-on art form. He feels all aspects of the craft viscerally. The boat builder cites the specific smell of fiberglass and resin as the sign of relief that you’re one step closer to getting the creation on the water. To Hull, having time on the water is of the highest value. His company is his passion, but not for any other reason besides his deep love for the time it gives him out in the ocean.
The Santa Barbara channel that Hull builds and breathes is quite unique, making it perfect for the head-clearing community of which he is a part. Beyond freeing, the Santa Barbara boat life builds deep connections, bringing so many together despite their different motivations for getting on the water in the “You feel like you’re going to Jurassic Park,” Hull explains when reflecting on the Channel Islands. It is in the Channel Islands that Hull found his head clearing community, being the perfect playground and testing site for the boats that he builds and breathes. Just across the sea from Santa Barbara mainland, the Islands bring so many together despite their different motivations for getting on the water in the first place. It’s its own little world, outside the normal boundary of perceived obsession with career and success. This is what keeps Hull going—the ability to create things that invite more people into this world.
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