What are some trends that are driving the surfboard market and why?
One of the current trends in the market at the moment is called “free lapping.” This is when you perform the normal wet lay-up of a fiberglass mat but you don’t trim the lapped edge back. Most guys are coloring the resin on this side of the board and leaving the other side white, allowing you to see the colored rough edge under the final coat.
There seems to be a lot of resin tinting and coloring going on, and a general rough or worn look to new boards from boutique surf shops. I think it’s great that this trend is happening and the stigma of the “pure white surfboard” is fading away. I can get my boards to look white using Entropy’s bio-epoxy clear resin. I would rather tint up the higher bio content with Entropy’s 100/1000 amber colored resin and make my customers boards really customized, but the majority of the boards I’m selling at the moment are the traditional white looking boards. Another trend is vacuum bagging bamboo veneer to the deck of the board because of its strength and beautiful wood finish. And of course, there’s the trend using carbon fiber instead of glass fiber, but that’s been going for a while now.
How do you use different composite materials to enhance your surfboards?
I use different combinations of FRP/CFRP all with Entropy resins bio-epoxy. I use wet lay-up for my boards and vacuum bagging for bamboo and flax versions of my boards to remove excess resin, making the board as light as possible. I use fiberglass on my lower end boards and I use combinations of materials for the higher end boards. Customers can pick certain material options like using bamboo mesh fiber cloth from Greenlight Surf Supply in the U.S. or fiberglass with a Biotex flax-reinforcement. I also have resin tints and colors that I add to spice things up.
Where do you see the most room for product growth, and why?
I see market growth in board design and construction continuing to evolve from influences in the composites industry like Biotex flax. It’s a great product and gives my boards a distinctive look! I don’t have to change my manufacturing process to use it. There‘s a push for companies to go green around the globe, so why not take advantage of new green products? Other companies outside the surfing industry are developing new eco-friendly supplies, and if they complement my products then I’m willing to try them out. Who knows, it might mean the difference between someone picking my board over another.