This week's slated closure of Clark Foam is sending mega waves through the surf industry.* After 44 yrs of producing blanks that become 2/3s of the surfboards made in the US, "Grubby" Clark is calling it quits.* He's claiming persecution by environmental regulators, a position with some historical merit.* He has also been involved in an extremely costly lawsuit over an ex-employee, cancer and the alleged improper handling and storage of toxic chemicals.
Immediately, hoarding of new sticks has been occurring.* At Jack's Quickimart Surfshop, prices went up $100 the first day after the announcement and another $50 the second.* The winners appear to be Chinese and Thai manufacturers, whose mass produced "soul-less" surfboards can be purchased on the internet and at such well known surfer hot spots as Costco.
Shapers and riders alike are freaked.* Blanks could double in cost.* Surf shops already use boards basically as loss leaders to get people in to buy accessories like apparrel, where the real mark-ups lie.
One bright spot for the industry is that participation in the sport has been expanding, and cheap pop outs from Asia are likely to attract even more kooks inlanders into the lineup.* Oh yeah, that's the ticket. :P