1. Stretch Carbon / Cork Standup Board
Stretch is one of the most progressive individuals in the surfing industry. The reason is that he hasn’t closed the door on any related industries. He does windsurf boards, kitesurf boards, standup paddleboards and tow boards too. Everything that he learns from all those different sports feeds through him and back into his board building for all of the different sports.
As an example: if you look at photos of surfers towing in at Teahupoo, most people are riding his boards. All of those boards came from the input that he put in to Stretch kitesurf boards in the early days of kitesurfing. He needed to understand how to make kitesurf boards work well on waves at high speeds and that’s why his boards work so well for tow surfing.
Stretch is always ahead of the pack, designing and building all his boards in Santa Cruz, CA. His carbon / cork standups are a shining example of the quality and next level construction that he applies across all of his board building.
2. Slingshot Twintips
Three years ago Slingshot moved their twintip kiteboard production over from China and set up base next to their HQ in Hood River, OR. Moving to the USA allowed them to keep a really close eye on quality, develop their own production/design techniques and to really stand behind the products they make.
All of their twintips have full wood cores made from “Columbia Gold” and custom graphics that really set Slingshot boards apart. Led by Tony Logosz, board design is a collective effort from the whole Slingshot team and having the factory in Hood River allows Slingshot to continually tweak design and test the resulting prototypes. The team at the factory is able to finish 60 boards per day and each one only takes 3 days to make from scratch!
Not surprisingly, Slingshot are really proud of their production process. I asked Bryan Trullinger (COO at Slingshot) about the whole process: “The level of quality and continuous improvement we can put in is amazing. That just can’t happen if you have to send information to China all the time and wait for them to send boards back! The whole process allows us to make products that we’re really proud of.”
3. Lib Tech Waterboards
Lib Tech Waterboards are built at Mervin Manufacturing, which is the longest running board building factory in the USA. Based out of Carlsborg, Washington, between the rugged Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges, Mervin is a direct link between riding and manufacturing. Having been manufacturing snowboards for years, it was the obvious location for Lib to manufacture their Waterboards.
The main man behind Waterboards is Mike Olson. Mike’s been involved in surfing for 30 years (he used to work as a ding repair guy in the early 80s) and waterboards are a culmination of all of his experiences in board building over the years. Each Lib Tech Waterboard is made up of 31 different pieces that are unique to the surfboard industry. In fact the only similar piece you’ll find in any other surfboard is the stainless steel fin screw! We won’t even go in to the insanely technical names of the materials and technologies these guys are using but the important thing is that every board is made in the USA – from start to finish.
Perfect for both surfing and kitesurfing, Waterboards are light, strong and flexible! Find out more about how these boards perform for kitesurfing.
4. Lost Surfboards
Matt Biolos of …Lost Surfboards has put in a significant amount of time into fine-tuning board design so that he can take full advantage of CAD programs to create the best boards available. Having spent the time dialing in his design technique, the machines are now able to shape 90% of the board and have him finish the last 10% by hand. This allows Lost to produce thousands of boards per year – each one produced to the highest possible level!
The biggest advantage of this system is that it allows him to recreate his best shapes more accurately and also duplicate people’s favorite sticks using their board number as a reference. With that many amazing boards being produced – surfers in the US are able to have a sick quiver year round!
Biolos surfs with his team riders every day and that allows him to continue testing new product and getting a wide range of feedback. Matt has always been a strong proponent of “made in the USA” and every one of his boards will tell you that it’s made right here!
5. Roberts Surfboards:
Surfing Magazine’s shaper of the year – Robert Weiner is based in Ventura, CA where he makes all of his boards. As we have got to know Robert, we’ve found that he has a really wide spread of designs and design targets from recreational cruiser to standout pro. Robert loves the process of working with that wide range of surfers and his passion translates into phenomenal boards!
No question the best thing about Roberts surfboards is that he can achieve amazing turn around times on boards to deliver reliable sticks when you’re on a time constraint. With all of his production based here in the USA, we’ve seen him turn round a custom board in just 3 weeks in time for a big trip (including delivery)!