Surfing teaches us to be in the moment and live spontaneously. The ocean not only educates us. It brings us together. Without it, no one would have been at the Quality vs. Quantity debate. I arrived not knowing much about imported boards, where they are from, who makes them, or why shapers choose to manufacture overseas.
Before this one, I hadn’t been to any debates. Instead of suits with white wigs like how envisioned, there were men in Hawaiian T shirts. It was like a group of school mates re uniting. Casual people getting serious. The debate saw a heated crowd, just a couple of fans kept us cool at the Surf World Museum.
Whether or not each shaper was for or against getting boards manufactured overseas they all knew that it’s about the surfer, if the surfer is having fun on their board then that makes for good surf, good surf makes for a good day “and if everyone has a good day then that makes the world is a better place”.
A good shaper puts their all into each board they create and take to it like an artist would a painting. Because a well-made board is a piece of art. But like a lot of artists, it isn’t always affordable and practical doing it all on our shores. When there’s a high demand for their boards it’s understandable that they would chose to manufacture abroad. I thought all boards mass manufactured overseas were made by machines but the shapers at the Quality vs. Quantity debate who have chosen to take their businesses abroad are doing things the right way.
It’s ensured by these shapers that the boards they get made overseas meet the high standards they set. They teach the overseas workers how to craft boards and the work environment is clean, safe and environmentally aware. Not all boards from across oceans are done this way.
Unless the person learning truly knows the complexity of a board, waves, and surfing then it’s likely the board will be of lesser quality then one made here. Do the research; find out the back story of your new board. Ask it questions like you would a new friend, where are you from? How did you get here? Why are you here? If it can’t tell you then the person trying to sell it to you should be able to, if they don’t know move on. Or source those making the boards locally, you can have personal input into your board and it’ll be made specifically to suit your taste and what you want to achieve while riding the board.
A board is something you will cherish and have with you for as long as you can. It’ll be going on many adventures with you so make sure you get along. It was a neat way to spend my evening. The debate didn’t drag on and I was most certainly not bored. People that are willing to share their thoughts and wisdom are something I appreciate. The night was a good balance, like school, fun times with friends while learning too. Bring on more nights like it.
Words by Cassandra Nevin
Cassandra Nevin in the Gold Coast
Cassandra takes others on journeys discovering new places, cultures, surf, people, food, local music, festivals, and art.
Having grown up in the small coastal area of the Coromandel Peninsula NZ, community has always been a key factor in her life. Cass strives on keeping that spirit alive.
Now based on the Gold Coast, Cassandra has been incorporating her passions and sharing her experiences by producing and presenting videos, writing, photography and getting involved with local events.