What are you seeing with the pace of board sales in your neck of the woods?

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
2,220
4,363
California
i was looking at board source in carlsbad, they have all boards 10% off and 20% off firewires and thunderbolts. And - they arent taking trade ins...
It's up to the consumer what they decide to buy, I still have less than warm 'n fuzzy feelings back to when FW flooded the U.S. (& other) market(s) with product.
Even with those discounts, they are making a healthy margin regardless of their past education insisting on how expensive it is to build their surfboards.

The technology evolved from the sailboards we built thoughout the 1980's & improved ever since. Surfboards were caught in the "40 year bubble" until that hapened. FW's & other offshore products represent a cost effective (cheaper) per unit build that leaves lots of room for slick aggressive marketing & distribution.

In contrast, the few true remaining domestic craftsmen building high quality, one off custom surfboards should IMHO, net at least $1500 per surfboard if they are building the entire surfboard start to finish. At three per week that would earn them $216K before taxes. That's $142K to $158K per year for a single individual depending upon which state you live in. People in CA making less than $100k per year are struggling. Probably not the same scenario in LA. AL, or Kentucky.

Regardless, that's a fair living for investing years into learning & mastering a craft where the expectation level runs very high. How much have individuals spent on college & business set up or training to get hired at comparable paying jobs/careers offering benefits and 401k's?
 
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shapewright

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2006
1,193
2,329
USA California
I'm not lowering prices becuz I didn't (and have never) jacked them up to be comparable to the diva shapers out there.

I've always been a proponent of pricing my boards at a fair price & making them widely accessible to all prospective customers.

There is no 'sliding scale' becuz they are being ordered by a celebrity, hedge fund baby, pro surfer, or for Japan. Everyone that deals with me knows this, the price is the price based on being a professional that went to college and bases pricing and margin on sound business principles.

Yes, there is always the possibility that prices will change due to Supply & Demand, but with the advent of Reverse Engineering, an increase in using Offshore Labor, and extraordinary situations like Covid and subsequent Supply Chain disruption, for the most part, life goes on as usual.

Glass shops hope for and rely on higher volume versus doubling or tripling glassing prices. However, the impact Putin's war and increases in petrochemically based products (resin, fiberglass, foam....) can have an indirect affect on pricing whether it is in the making of (cost of goods) or getting those products distributed and to market (shipping from abroad, trucking domestically, etc.).

I have been building a large "Buy Now Inventory" using dollars I acquired before all this sh-t went down....... "pre-inflation dollars" which are now being utilized for my "Build Ahead" stock versus those same dollars netting an anemic 2% to 4% in traditional economc mechanisms like ladders of CD's, T Bills, Bonds & Money Market accounts. I have watched my EFT/Stock/Bond portfolio ride the rollercoaster this year as things remain volatile, and I did manage to grab I Bonds at the most opportune time when they were offering 9.62% interest (exempt from State & local taxes, Fed. only)....... but for the most part, it
made the most sense to invest in something I know........... ME.

This also helped others by providing Haakenson Fiberglass a steady flow of work during 'dead periods' when everyone else had no orders. I put 5 other shapers to scrubbing & filled the glass shop keeping everybody in place earning by the piece. I sent nothing offshore. The only venture I have done offshore was to have Clyde Beatty build my "Premium EPS/Epoxy Softtops" and they turned out incredible. Unfortunately during that same period, the container prices went from $2k to $10k inside of one month. The margin on that product was further negatively impacted when the State of CA levied incresed tariffs/fees on imported goods while the Longshoreman increased prices to land the piled up deliveries sitting offshore. The trucking companies picking up in San Pedro also jacked their prices. The combination of all those factors barely made it worthwhile to even bother going offshore for the soft tops.

At the end of the day, I'd rather help fellow local shapers I know & can trust & (if needed) can mentor while enabling them to pay their monthly bills & further their own respective labels. I'm still passionate about the craft and our domestic industry surviving. I have put my money where my mouth is & have consistenly been an advocate for other deserving shapers and surfboard craftsmen (and women). I think it is very important for Americans to make things, and I don't see my attitude toward this changing anytime in the future.

Footnote: As far as the soft tops, we used 99% American made materials. The only product that was Chinese was the EVA decking that was vac bagged onto the decks of EPS/Epoxy boards per my design that had extensive amounts of hand labor. In fact, those boards have more construction put into them than a conventional EPS Epoxy custom.
As a working man, i:e laborer, I’ve always tried to balance the pricing of my surfboards on how hard it is to put money away for the working / family man.
I would be hard pressed to dump upwards to 2 thousand dollars for a surfboard, speaking with Surfore yesterday on the need for a price increase.
Glassing is up over a hundred $ per board, shop rent went up, house rent has increased over a thousand a month, blank increase, gas ???? Over a hundred a week.
I hate the thought of being corralled into the Gucci cool kids brand that only the Rancho Santa Fe folks can afford
 

Bruce Fowler

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
2,220
4,363
California
As a working man, i:e laborer, I’ve always tried to balance the pricing of my surfboards on how hard it is to put money away for the working / family man.
I would be hard pressed to dump upwards to 2 thousand dollars for a surfboard, speaking with Surfore yesterday on the need for a price increase.
Glassing is up over a hundred $ per board, shop rent went up, house rent has increased over a thousand a month, blank increase, gas ???? Over a hundred a week.
I hate the thought of being corralled into the Gucci cool kids brand that only the Rancho Santa Fe folks can afford
I get what you are saying, and I understand the hesitation, but in some ways the "diva" or young guys have done us uh, 'oldsters' a favor.

They show what the market will bear. Perhaps they have a better sense of what things cost than us. Maybe they realize that Joey Surf will try to get his HPSB for cheaper becuz he's spending a fortune on some other gadget he wants.

Remember this: Inflation is cyclical and happens when THERE IS TOO MUCH MONEY in the mainstream. Our current situation has been compounded by Covid, which created supply shortages, lotsa money being earned or handed out from governments (Australia went really crazy doing that), and low unemployment.... in fact, many people leaving jobs in favor of higher paying ones. Low supply, high demand, $ abundance........ the stage was set........ and this has happened globally. Be glad you don't live in Turkey whose government strategy was to run counter to traditional thinking, lowering the continuing to lower interest rates even though they have hit 83% inflation. Howz that working for you guys?

TBH I'm probably out of touch with what people really need to make if they have a family or live in a rental that isn't in some god forsaken location or run down trailer park.
The figure I threw out was based on taking into account a person who has spent most, if not all, their working lives cultivating a business after having to learn
many facets of a craft that is, or can still be, built on a one off custom basis. How many items today are available as custom? Surfboards can be beautiful pieces or art, and should be treated & priced as such. That's just a part of life...... crap tract home, or do you have a custom home? Look at the difference in price for custom homes, boats, cars, aircraft, jewelry, artwork, furniture, clothing.....

If you are making something truly custom like that, who says where the price becomes prohibitive? $2K....... hey, what about those Lightning Bolts for $3500 to $5250? You and I know what goes into them. It's not the material cost at that level, it's the level of craftsmanship. Opaque pigment glass jobs with superb color schemes, pinlines, gloss & polish..... who knows what the foam or stringer looked like underneath.

In fact, it's never been about how much a blank, some resin & cloth costs...... it's the labor. Surfboards are labor intensive, and they were even more so back when ALL of them were Glossed & Polished and 9, 10, 11 ft. long....... "how much can I get a discount for it you do it the same except a foot shorter...."

Really?

A clear sanded No Frill Surfboard can be X amount cheaper than the one with all the Bells & Whistles...... and, depending where you buy your surfboard, the price will be determined by the operating cost of the shop selling it. Take Mollusk, Icons, Bird, Mitch's or other shop prices and put their margin in your pocket for selling direct or carry some saving thru to to your customers..... this is
a slice of the pie you can control or not. It's your call. This approach creates more work for the builder that he/she may not want to be burdened with. Please don't get me wrong, surfshops NEED MARGIN to cover the many operating costs to afford the customer the convenience of buying off the rack. I am supportive of the ma and pa shops that continue to dedicate themselves to personalized service.

However...... yes, costs HAVE gone up. Rents, material cost, shipping, a needy state government that can't seem to stay on budget. Let's jack up Workers Comp again until you move to Florida, WA, Kentucky or Texas with everyone else. Nine states with no State Income Tax. The migration is growing....... cya.
 
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Surfy Surfy

Active Member
Mar 15, 2017
38
177
Leucadia, CA
In my little world surfboard sales are still pretty strong. We are now entering the part of the year where people need to focus dollars on x-mas gifts for family and snowboarding stoke is running really, really high, so maybe it will be kinda slow in December?
But people love surfing and surfboards!
 




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