Overseas boards flood Coast market

10 Jul


By Blaze Edwards and Andrew James, Bond University journalism students

Gold Coast surfboard makers have had to adopt new business practices or face being pushed out of business by cheap, overseas imports.

Owner of Stuart Surfboards Stuart Smith said  there use to be 50-70 shapers on the Gold Coast but now only about 20 were left.

“A lot of small players were deeply impacted,” he said “When they (overseas surfboards)  came that pushed a lot of people out of the industry.

“The boards that are coming out of China are using lower end materials, that has a bearing on how long a product lasts.

“People don’t care, they just look at the price.”

Companies such as Stuart Surfboards, Mt Woodgee, Boardline and others have had to make cheaper lines of boards to be able to compete with the Chinese boards.

Mt Woodgee sells a line called Movement, which is cheaper than their other boards and aimed at beginners.

Chairman of Gold Coast Surf Industry Taskforce John Neilsen said that many popular local shapers have had to take on other jobs just to be able to support themselves while crafting surfboards.

“Glen Winton, Mr X, for example known for bizarre shapes has had to work security at the airport,”  said Mr Neilsen, a surf industry stalwart who once ran the Brothers Neilsen empire on the Gold Coast.

“They do that because they want to be surfboard shapers.”

Local surfer James Hynes said he bought an overseas surfboard due to the price.

“The board I bought is made in China but with Australian products,” he said.

“Eventually I would like to buy an Aussie-made board, but for now the overseas boards are within my price range.”

Caption: Stuart Smith with a few of his Stuart Surfboards


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