Mega discount surfboards

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by DB, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. slosurf

    slosurf Active Member

    1,128
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    Sep 1, 2004
    USA Maryland
    I simply don’t know how all of these manufactures aiming at discount retailers will stay in business. I don’t think they will in the long run. The market for surfboards is not that deep. That being said, I think the outlook for technology-driven pop-out manufactures like Surftech, and possibly Firewire, is better than the Chinese hand-shape assembly lines. Quality, American hand shaped boards are not going anywhere any time soon. I am sure that a lot of the lower tier, lesser quality shapers will be/have been pushed out, but that is not a bad thing in my opinion. There are production-oriented shapers like Matt Calvani (larger volumes for stock boards in shops) and custom order shapers (Tyler) who seem like they are enjoying pretty darn good times. And the future looks pretty darn bright for custom shapers. Look at the next generation of younger, up and coming shapers like Hunt, Austin and Crème. Whether it is a super light and strong vacuum bagged epoxy longboard hand-shaped by veteran shaper Steve Forstall or a retro heavy volan log from young talent like Austin, it sure is nice to see longboarding being as much about the future as it is about the past.
     
  2. njrider

    njrider Active Member

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    Jan 18, 2006
    USA New Jersey
    I think you have a great point in the fact that the high end custom shapers will be fine. I think the up and coming shapers, that don't just shape volan, resin colored boards will struggle and possibly go away. It seems that the beginner and/or funshape market is going to the China made boards. Most new (regardless of quality) shapers need to shape some lower end, no frills boards to make a living to mix in with the higher end boards that take longer to shape (profit vs. time spent).

    I own a surfshop that specializes in longboards and retro boards, most of which are higher end. In the summer, I need to sell some funshapes for beginners as well as guys getting back into surfing along with the guy that wants an extra board and can't go high end on all of them. I choose to NOT sell pop-outs as well as Chinese boards in fear that it will kill the newer U.S. boardmakers. I sold 3 or 4 funshapes all summer compared to 30 or 40 in a usual summer. Is it going to kill me? No, but it still sucks.

    I think the idea of beginning surfers, soon to be golfers, using the lower end boards makes sense. The real problem is that you can go into a 'reputable, hardcore' surf shop and purchase a pop-out piece of junk from China or Thailand that will save you $100-$150 and last half as long as your average U.S. made board. Most of the time, the shopworker doesn't let the customer know that the board was made in Thailand or China, not allowing the consumer to make an educated decision. If these style boards were sold in Costco and Walmart, rather than surf shops, the correct customers would be buying them. If this happens, the sell out shops carrying this garbage SHOULD have their credability cut in half (not in the real world though!).

    "I'll have a Volcom t-shirt, Billabong trunks and a Blue funshape". I bet this happens every day in the big shops. I don't honestly believe it's just the wanna be surfer.

    Sorry for the rant, it was not meant to belittle or refute anyones opinion. It was just meant to let you know a real life example. I've had way to many shaper buddies have their business either cut in half or go away.
     
  3. weberrider

    weberrider Member

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    Mar 18, 2006
    Anyone who has met with a shaper and had a board shaped for his or her skill level, home break and surfing style will never buy a board at a superstore. The whitewater will fill up with these guys early every summer, and like Benny says, they will loose interest quickly and take up golf. If we get up early, we can be home before the masses arrive at noon with their pop outs. When winter hits, the big summer purchase will be in the rafters.
     
  4. slosurf

    slosurf Active Member

    1,128
    10
    Sep 1, 2004
    USA Maryland
    It's interesting to hear your perspective, njrider. Many of us here, myself included, are just pontificating from the armchair. While we may have valid insights, it is always good to get the perspective of someone like you who is actually participating in the industry. Not a rant at all - good insights - thanks for sharing them.
     
  5. slosurf

    slosurf Active Member

    1,128
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    Sep 1, 2004
    USA Maryland
    unforgiven wrote: Unforgiven, no disrespect meant whatsoever, but that article is just flat out wrong.

    Myth #1:[/i] The End Of Custom. Wrong. Pop-outs are flourishing but so are customs. The end certainly doesn’t seem near for Calvani, Tyler, Forstall, the Campbell Brothers, Pavel, Mandala, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. Get on line if you want one of their boards.

    Myth #2:[/i] Slows Innovation. Come on, that’s silly. Innovation is being driven by companies like Surftech and Firewire, as well as from the backyarders. It may be innovation that a longboarder who is happy with the glide of a retro shape isn’t interested in anyway, but there is tremendous amount of innovation coming from this area at the present time. It is not as though our heads are all spinning from the dizzying pace of innovation from hand shapers from before the resurgence of pop-outs. There really hasn’t been all that much. The customer is very preoccupied with the retro thing at the moment anyway– not innovation. The true innovators are the mad scientists and backyard shapers. Just spend some time reading the treasure trove of dialogue on Swaylocks. Pretty amazing stuff. Oh yeah, a couple of these guys were just hired by a well capitalized pop-out manufacturer.

    Myth #3: Disrespects The Shaper. Yater, Takayama, the Velzy Estate, Jacobs, Walden, Haut, McTavish, Brewer, Robert August, Munoz would all beg to differ, I am sure. These guys are not being “pissed on” as a result of pop-outs. They are happily clipping a coupon from Randy French’s Surftech. It is the 401(k) they never had.

    The only piece I generally agree with in the article is about the ride of most, not all, pop-outs.

    I am by no means an apologist for pop-outs. Hand shapers have ended up with far more of my disposable income than Randy French has and they will continue to do so in the future. I own a nice quiver of Bings, Carsons, Oles, Anderseons, Coops, McCoys, and a smattering of other very desirable hand shaped boards. I would consider myself a pretty obsessive collector of hand-shaped boards. I am also open minded enough to own a few pop-outs. I personally prefer the hand shaped boards over most pop-outs, though my Boardworks Walden Magic is one of my favorites. The bottom line is that I just find most, certainly not all, arguments made against pop-outs are hollow and bandwagonesque.
     
  6. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

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    Mar 11, 2004
    USA Delaware
    yea, i don't think the custom shaper will disappear, but not sure i'd compare innovation by your local artisan/surfer as quite the same as what surftech does. the only innovative R&D surftech does is cost based, rather than what works in the water- they just buy that from the shaper. surfech is all about finding the cheapest method to produce, and the most effective way to market- what's the art in that?

    i think the product babble you see in their ads about technical specs, construction techniques, space aged material whatever is diversionary. who cares. there will always be a modicum of quality in popouts... but just to keep selling, not piss off everyone, and make money for the stockholders.

    of course everyone needs to make a living, but the local shaper/surfer motivation is quite different than the surftech motivation.
     
  7. unforgiven

    unforgiven Member

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    May 10, 2006
    slosurf I get your point.only in part.

    bottom line:every pop out sold takes a sale away from a shaper.

    designing,shaping riding re designing and shaping another has always been a tough way to make a living.but lucky for us people did it and continue to.

    Is the next generation gonna even try to compete with big buisness?I hope so.

    what happens 5-10 years from now?

    Here in Maine our surf shop only sells pop outs.I know a shop in Rhode Island that does the same.these are surf shops not wall marts.the sad thing is the beginners dont know any better.the scary thing is these shops are telling buyers the pop outs last longer and the manufacturing process is safer for the envoirment.I hear this over and over again around my town.I dont get it.most older pop outs I see look like crap.and i dont get the clean earth angle either.there are so many more toxic chemicals in a pop out.not to mention the oil burned to ship the boards across a massive ocean. they are made overseas because labor is cheaper but also the governments dont regulate the waste like here.If Clark foam was locaded in thailand they would still be in buisness.

    buy american...if you can
     
  8. joeblackuz

    joeblackuz Active Member

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    Apr 15, 2005
    njrider wrote:
    I Want Shane Dorians trunks with the different colored circles on them. But I dont want the Blue, the shape on this Modern looks much mo' better.

    Joe
     
  9. njrider

    njrider Active Member

    507
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    Jan 18, 2006
    USA New Jersey
    joeblackuz wrote:
    Joe, Not my point, or maybe my point exactly. Enjoy your 'Modern' before trading it in for a set of clubs.
     

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