Board of education, apprenticeship

l would like your feed back on the idea of creating a 3 year apprentiship for the surfboard industry, covering theory and prac. Maybe this is a way to save our industry from outside markets by creating a system of entry to gain your ticket, no papers no job. Tradesman quality tradesman prices. Union bosses, the lot? I believe that a program can be developed for a minimum 3 year term what about you? KR

Sounds like you want to formalize the worker end of things… essentially, unionize the worker masses. I don’t know if there are enough persons in the industry who would buy into this to make a formal program economically feasible. While it would be “good” for the workers who participate, they’d have to pay to support the program (union dues) then there would be all the other hassles that come with organization, maintenance, certification and so on. Ergo, increased cost. Think about a shaper strike… Think about Grubby Clark coming close to cutting off major producers when they complained about blank quality some years ago. The possibilities for mischief in an organized industry are many. I’d rather let market forces (competition) effect price stabilization. Organization such as you suggest is counter to the creative energy, individualism and spirit of innovation that gets most of us into shaping and glassing our own boards. At a time when the US industry is facing or will very soon face serious price competition from abroad, which I will neither support nor challenge here, such an effort to organize the shapers and glassers can only have negative consequences for all. My hope for the future is a product of substantial quality and strength at a reasonable price. Sadly but not unexpectedly the market is saturated with hype, outright bullshit and “lifestyle” marketing (it really gripes me to see all the shoe and sandal ads in a magazine, WTF is that anyway?). Though I am completely, now, in the past and in the future a backyard/garage board maker, I believe the future of shaping lies with machines due to the repeatability of shapes and ability to reliably change a single variable at a time. I don’t presently support that a shaping machine has to run 70,000 clams. I hope that costs for machine shaping will eventually come down as the initial cost is amortized. I hope that the backyard Joe average will realize that to develop his own product he’ll have to follow a design progression that allows careful, sequential changes and assessment, requiring repeatability in the next design. It may well be that technological advances produce stronger glass jobs, but I don’t see that soon. There will always be a fringe of home builders like myself and experimental types such as many who frequent this board. We will likely not have an effect on the major market juggernaut, but the skills of doing boards by hand should not be lost.