Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Outsourcing Your Stoke

Good friend and neighbor of mine wrote this:

A strong Pacific storm drops out of the Aleutian Islands and heavy rain batters the Oregon coastline. Small steams swell to flood levels and muddy banks erode until ancient redwood trees fall and are carried out into the open seas.

Pacific currents relentlessly move the logs across thousands of miles of open seas until they are encountered by a lone fisherman in his one-man canoe. He spreads the welcome alarm throughout the village and every able bodied person heads out to sea in search of the valuable redwood logs. The logs are superior to any wood grown on the islands because of their resilience and longevity when exposed to salt water.

The best of the wood is gifted to the king for his personal surfboard. This is the point where we have our first glimpse at the value of high-quality surfboard manufacturing material.

Fast forward to 1956 when Grubby Clark and Dave Sweet are inventing and producing the first man-made surfboard foam. Grubby Clark dominates the foam market for about 50 years before shutting down production in the face of environmental and employee health concerns.

Businessmen around the globe grab the opportunity to fill the void by producing surfboard foam of various qualities and opening the door to overseas board manufacturing in China and Thailand. These varying qualities of boards built by workers who have never seen the ocean, let alone participated in the sport of kings, threaten our local shapers and manufacturing professionals who have contributed to the history and folklore of our sport for many years.

The sport, as we know it, has changed forever.

Bob Dylan said it best, "The times they are a-changin’."

So now I’m asking the surfing public to remember your surfing roots and support local builders when you can.

There is no better stoke than communicating with the man that is building your next board and then enjoying the fruit of your collaboration in your favorite local surf spot.

Thank you for listening and hope to see you next issue.