Most surfboards are still crafted by human hands. People with masks and
power tools and dust-covered radios physically manipulate foam and resin one blank at a time – All for for razor-thin profit margins, questionable working conditions and often impatient and/or unappreciative customers.
Its actually amazing that in such an automated and modern world that
making a surfboard is still as labor intensive as it is.
Channel Islands have definitely stepped up their production game since
Burton bought them a few years ago. But they’ve somehow been able to strike
the right balance between massive expansion/growth and maintaining core
integrity. They’re the only truly global surfboard brand, and essentially
the exception that proves the rule.
Sure, you can buy a mass-produced epoxy board. I’ve tried them. It just
doesn’t feel right. It’s something that you experiment with, but then grow
bored with and move on – kind of like clove cigarettes or when girls make
out with other girls in college.
Although there may not be any reasonable excuse for your shaper to take 5
months to shape your new custom board, there is a very valid reason why it
costs as much as a new flat screen TV – It’s handcrafted by people that are
knowledgeable and passionate about surfing. Every element of your board’s
design is steeped in historical expertise and is built upon the successes
and failures of all of the shapes before it. You are holding a piece of
surfing’s DNA. It is a piece of art.