About 8 years ago Greg Mungall (hes a big GregLhor fan) had a tiny glasshop around the block from my shop. He was doing all my top teamriders p/u glassjobs (At the time I was well under 30 years old and had 4 of the top 10 surfers in the WCT riding my boards allmost exclusivly)Greg was doing all types of tricks to the glassjobs .He also turned me onto epoxies for small surf. We started making both styrofoam and extruded foam epoxies together (my shapes mostly, his glassing).
Most everyone liked the boards...but not on WCT waves...mostly on the wqs. Cory Lopez, AI, Dino Andino and others were winning heats on them, and we were having alot of fun with the boards. The issues were they turned god awfull yellow really fast and the guys tore them apart quickly and they didnt fix the dings so they would call me from another country and complain the board was now 10lbs after one ding and the "judges dont like ugly yellow boards" No one really seemed interested in buying them, They cost so much more and there were no consistent other glassers doing them and no real suppliers of blanks. I began growing my normall board and clothing buis at an alarming rate and just became over it basically. A few years later javier started pushing me to do XTRs and we did a bunch for the pros and they all liked them as well for small waves. Both Bruce and Andy qualified for the WCT on the backs of XTR epoxies I was making them . Dino Andino made about 12 domestic pro contest finals on 1 board that lasted 3 years and we beagn to build an underground buis for XTRs. Through all this Greg M pulled a Greg M (anyone that knows him can understand this, and he disapeared)I had basically discarded styrofoam surfboards.
About 6 years ago , I began to go to Brazil to make a hundred boards a year to support our clothing company which is doing really well there under licence. I would go and do boards for "VIPs" Shop owners, magazine guys, pros, locall hot shots etc etc. Our boards were not and are not commercailly avaiable in Brazil. They are basically a loss leader to sell clothing. This way we dont get a soft image for letting a brazilian ghost do "mayhems"...Any way,
They have pretty much 1 main foam supplier , Its the "Bennett" raw materials imported and blown in Brazil under licence. the blanks are 50.00 in Brazil! The guys were really exploiting the monopoly (unlike Clark here)this is over 25% of the cost of a retail board down there (200.00) So the surfers began to refute and they created some really creative ways of doing Styro boards. They do wet lams and flip them on to wax paper so there is less down time and all sorts of little tricks (See Keahana epoxy surfboard systems). the generall small surf and warm air make for a great place to make and ride epoxies. I made myself a couple each of my first 3 trips down and liked them all. they are in my gargage ...More brown than P/u boards I made in 1987. I am notorious for not fixing my dings and they gained so much poundage I was once again "over styrofoam surfboards" really so, because this is the time my XTR work was starting to kick into gear.
So......Fast forward 4-5 years. Clark closes. I order 6 containers of p/u in 24 hours from 3 suppliers, dont sleep for about 5 days, make agreements, contracts, Refy my house, lines of credit, hustle and scratch and manuever to make sure my buisness rides things out better than nay other major boardmaker in the USA (Ensuring my employees stay buisy through the black winter).
Then I crank up the XTR buis about 100% or more. I let the Styro reps come see me and start dabbling. I had made a dozon styro boards post clark before I ever made the "Buckwheat" quote in this forum. I was obviously working on epoxy resins and alternative blanks when I made it because I was bragging about my new chemist buddy who was telling me hes gonna have a UV curing epoxy soon! we will see.
Then I open a big can of worms and have 100 people in Forum land tell me that styro is the best , they are the lightest, safest, strongest, healthiest, recyclableest, and if done correctly not even I could tell the differnce at retail. So Faark! Betterstart making them again.
really, it comes down to relatinships...
Hank Johns from Graphite masters (I like and respect) brings a few blanks.
Clay from Marko foam (who I have had incredible Heliboarding (snow) trips with in the past brings his steam molded blanks.
Matt Barker (who was rad on the show "Dirty Jobs" brings me some really cleanly merchandised and professionally presented blanks. But still has me back ordered on the big gun blanks MATT!
My best glasser tells me he is converting part of his shop to accomodate RR resins.
And prob most of all Jeff Johnston (the North Shore shaper that Griffin was talking about (and his brother Don) brings me a few boards he and Eric Arwakarwa had done and AI told me he liked the boards. Jeff, you see, turned me onto AVISO and introduced me to John Omo who makes the Avisos. Jeff and I used to powershape side by side in the 90's in Europe (he was a TnC shaper, thus the Griffen connection).
There are others, but the main thing is, I dont lay around and let things happen w/o at least understanding the whole deal.
Saloman...made a bunch before any other US mainland shaper.
And about 6 years ago I actually made a ...Lost plug for Boardworks (like surftech) I was molded in The former Check rebublic We recieved two orders of test boards , we rode them (the team ones were so light they worked and flexed pretty good, but broke easily. The standard weight ones were dead in the water) and decided ...no, gotta wait on this deal here. We scrapped the whole program quickly.
At the same time, I now have my own shop (Catalyst) to fill with whatever the heck I want and I dont need to wait for other shops to order the damn things.
So we have a bunch of RNF styros going in with Barkydogs DPS foam that are made with a conservative 2lb foam and I am stoked to offer it for those who desire.
So , I dont really have a gameplan. Its just to do it.
And Its like my own little reality show for all you to follow along.
Plus, its fun to give all my shapers headaches from the pantane fumes... cus they (the shapers have given me so many) thats prob the real reason.
I guess I will call Greg L and invite him over (glad I publiclly apologised).
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