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    Before getting into surfboard construction, it important to note that the most important aspect of surfboard technology is the shape. The shape is what determines how it works in the water, and the materials of construction only add nuance (I say this with the assumption that we are talking about a good glass job; a bad glass job can ruin a good shape). If the shape is not right, it really doesn't matter what it's made of or how long it will last. The other side of the coin is that if you get a magic board and it dies in two months, you'll be sad and wish you would've gotten a better glass job. What you want and need is a board that you love to ride, encourages you to spend more time in the water, and gives you at the very least a solid year or more of service. We want you to have that, and will work with you to make sure you get it. Read on to learn how. It's not that hard, but the market largely misses the target by producing either disposable, domestically made polys or mass produced asian imports that may be durable, but don't perform. Armed with a little knowledge, you can get the right board that will serve you for a long time, even though it might not be the one for sale at your local surf shop.

    Having produced over 20,000 surfboards since 1989, I have a fair bit of experience and knowledge about the different ways to make a board. Like everybody, I started making boards with conventional polyurethane cores, polyester resin and fiberglass. In 2001, after having shaped 8,000 boards by hand, I got my own CNC machine and was designing boards on the computer and cutting boards in-house. Later, in 2002, I collaborated with Surftech to make sandwich construct epoxies, followed by C.I., Rusty, Carper, Byrne, Xanadu, etc... Then, in 2004, I opened the first zero emissions, zero V.O.C., dustless sanding, all custom EPS/Epoxy surfboard factory. Today, I believe that the market is full of gimmicks, and know that traditional construction methods using premium materials is where it's at, i.e. polyurethane or EPS cores with hand lay-ups using polyester or epoxy resin. There is a reason that the top professional surfers on tour still ride conventionally constructed boards; they work better than anything else.

    The hardest thing to get right is the shape. You might not fully know what is best for you, and trying to translate that to a shaper can be a challenge. Our boards are not cheap, and we stand by the quality and design. If you get a board and don't like it, we will fix that. A history of ordering custom boards, and learning what works for you, stacks the cards in your favor. If you don't really know, you might be best to find a new or used board at a shop that looks and feels right to you, or go to a reputable shaper whom you trust and think you can work with. I get good results with surfers who give me some general guidelines and give me the liberty to do what I do best. In surfing, and as a life philosophy in general, the best results are often met with open expectations. That said, if you are tuned into what works well for you, it is important to work with a shaper who can listen to you, understand what you want, and build it. The worst is a shaper who does what they want and doesn't listen. I take two-way consultation seriously. 

    It is important to work with a team of shaper and glassers who know about what you want to do, because they do it themselves. At the core of our heritage and tradition is that surfboards should be made by surfers. The evolution of what we ride today in terms of shapes, glassing and fins is the direct result of surfer engineers making boards in shops near the beach, riding, analyzing, and improving them. As a surfer, you are part of a subculture that has always embraced creativity, ingenuity, freedom and innovation while rejecting the societal confines of corporate greed and materialism. It is a shame to see the purity of our pursuit polluted by outsiders trying to make money off of us. A good rule of thumb is to only buy a board with the handwritten signature of a person whom you can call on the phone and can communicate with you.

    A note on imports: surfboards are classified as sporting goods and are imported into the US from Asia with a ZERO tariff. This has changed a little with a tariff having been levied against Chinese imports, but not Thailand, Sri Lanka or anywhere else in Asia. In the last 14 years since the closure of Clark Foam, imports have flooded into our country in a magnitude that has devastated our cottage surfboard industry and forced many board builders into other lines of work. Costco has become the world's largest surfboard seller and mass produced brands have dominated the market. You can do your part to resist this trend by buying local.

    Again, the most important thing is to get a great board that you can't wait to ride every day. Constant use will test its durability, so there is a certain responsibility on the part of the owner to take care of it and make it last. An eco-friendly board is about getting the right shape for you, spending a little extra on quality materials, then you the surfer treating your magic board with the same care taken by the skilled craftsmen who built it (promptly fixing your dings, keeping it out of the sun, and storing it in a board bag). You have to take care of your board if you want to take care of the environment.

    The board starts as a blank. There are several core materials available, but we only offer what we believe is the best: traditional polyurethane (PU) and expanded plystyrene (EPS). Again, these are the core materials primarily used by the world's best surfers in competition. The properties of these foams are great, natural feeling flex pattern, maintenance of speed (inertia), easy shape-ability, and limited water absorption. Different densities are available, but we tend to use the lighter ones. On the environmental side, while polyurethane is a petrochemical product, at least it is biodegradable; EPS blanks are not. They literally last forever.

    Next is Fiberglass. There are three main types that people are generally unaware of: "E" glass, "Direct-Sized E " glass, and "S" glass. "E" glass is what you get from any poly board off the rack in a shop, or what you get if you don't specifically ask for something better. It is of poor quality. Direct-sized glass (DS) is cleaned using a chemical process instead of heat. An analogy could be dry cleaning your clothes over washing and drying them. The chemical process preserves the fabric better, and in the case of fiberglass, leaves it stronger. S glass is stiffer and stronger than both. We prefer to use a combination of S glass and Direct-Sized glass.

    Fins are obviously a key component. For removable fins we offer Futures and FCS2.
    Finally, the resin. Polyester has been the gold standard for many years. Epoxy is stronger.

    What does all this add up to in terms of longevity and durability? That really depends on the habits of the surfer. If you surf twice a month and religiously store your board in a cool place in a board bag, your board might last forever. If you surf for a living and log in six hours a day in the water, you will not expect your boards to last so long. The key is having more than one board, so that you can repair them as they accumulate wear and tear, and build a collection of boards that you love while selling off those that you don't.

    One last thing, I would like to talk about weight. Too light or too heavy are not good. But a little weight is not a bad thing. Even surfers who regularly take to the air do not want too light of a board, as it will fly away in the wind. The balance is very important, which is something you feel when you hold the board under you arm and rock it. Consult with your shaper to come up with the ideal core density and glass layup to suit your individual needs.

    The top pros ride regular boards made by their shapers and glassers with whom they have working relationships to constantly hone and improve their equipment. You can do the same.