This is exceprted from an E-mail I’m sending out to people in the surf industry. My commitment is to find solutions to the challenges facing us domestic board builders. The biggest problem locally is the lack of qualified production glassers. I wanted to share this with Swaylockers to get your feedback.
I’ve been hitting the message boards posting up my
thoughts about the negative effects of outsourcing
surfboard production to overseas manufacturers. My
message is resonating with alot of the general surfing
public. But it’s not enough to just bitch about
problems, I have to do something about them.
I understand the frustration that the large board
brands face in trying to get the volume of production
done locally to meet the massive demand in the surfing
market. I’ve been in the same position as Al Merrick,
Rusty, and Matt Biolas in struggling to get orders
done in time to keep customers happy. CNC machines
have addressed the problem of creating enough shaped
blanks, now our biggest challenge locally is getting
boards glassed. The problem is that there are not
enough trained airbrushers, laminators, hotcoaters,
and sanders to meet the demand.
So I’m just throwing spaghetti on the wall here hoping
something might stick, like getting the giant brands
to promote the Cerritos College composites program on
their websites. This would encourage local surfers and
workers who want to learn how to build surfboards to
take the class. Further information could be posted on
the big companies websites about which local glass
shops are hiring and would continue the training.
Glassing shops operate on tiny margins and struggle to
get by while the clothing brands have much bigger
profits and a marketing staff that could spend a very
small amount of time giving back to the local
community that spawned the original culture that they
are profiting from. As the construction trade is
slowing locally, there are guys out there who have
tool and hand skills that could work and make good
money in the glassing shops. Quiksilver, Volcom,
Billabong, Rip Curl, Rusty, Channel Islands, and
Lost/O’Neill could all put banners on their websites
about the program at Cerritos College, and the
magazines should get involved with this as well.
I’m going to sign up and take the Composites Class on
the next go around to see how good the program is. If
need be, I can offer real working insight and guests
to come in and help with the class. I want to see what
the program they present is like and see if there are
ways to improve it and help promote it.
Through dialog we can find solutions to the issues
facing the surfboard industry. My commitment is to
find a way to train more qualified workers to meet the
local demand. This will keep more jobs and money here
in the US and allow the authentic tradition of
surfboard building to remain here in Southern
See ya in the water, Byron
New US Blanks we have in
stock at Basham’s.