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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow Is Outsourcing the Magic Bandage to Lower Stand Up Paddle Gear Costs
Is Outsourcing the Magic Bandage to Lower Stand Up Paddle Gear Costs PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Friday, 27 February 2009

bill_leland_letter_image.jpgWe received an interesting letter to the editor the other day which brought up a topic that has probably come up in conversation among stand up paddle surfers on more than one occasion. The topic that we’re referring to is that of outsourcing board production overseas.

In a day when food prices are on the rise and job security isn’t as secure as it used to be, does sending business production overseas really benefit the industry as a whole? Is outsourcing the magic bandage for building equipment at a price everyone can afford?


In this article we’ll take a quick look at some of the issues so you can come to your own conclusion. We invite you to register or login and the end of the article to share your comments and thoughts on the topic.

How might outsourcing to China, for example, be of benefit to the stand up paddle industry? Let's start the discussion.

Usually the first explanation in favor of outsourcing is that it lowers the production costs of equipment so the manufacturers and retailers can offer their product at a cheaper price. Labor is cheaper, they don’t have strict environmental laws to work around, and production materials may be cheaper. In theory this should translate into a cheaper board.

Another reason why keeping production here is more expensive is because of the need to dispose of the waste properly. It’s expensive to dispose of the waste properly. On the other hand, in many foreign countries, there aren’t laws to regulate and in some cases energy is free.

How might outsourcing to foreign manufacturers have a negative impact on the industry?

One school of though says, that yes, we are outsourcing to make things cheaper for the consumer, however, if the employees are now out of jobs, they don’t have the money to buy the equipment even if it is discounted. Thus, we end up with a world of inexpensive stuff and nobody with the money to buy it.

Is it worth the bucks to enter the sport?

Absolutely, 100%! Your board and paddle is your lifetime pass to the lakes, rivers, and oceans around the world. It’s your pass to total fitness and emotional tranquility. Tax return season is just around the corner and you can bet your biffy that many of the refunds will be going toward new boards.

As we open up this article to your questions and comments, here are some excerpts from the letter we recently received from Bill Leland which sparked up the conversation of foreign manufacturing.

One of our readers, Bill Leland said, “I really enjoy your e-mag… I notice we are in the middle of a world wide recession… I buy my custom sticks and paddles from Indonesia. I’d put them up against whatever you bring to the challenge. When you pay your workmen/shapers less than $6.00 USD a day that is for a 10 hour day, your cost of goods drops rather dramatically. Successful businesses were made by $5 and $10 sale items, not for pushing the HOG BUTTON. Bring more users into the fold before you try and retire on one sale. I started and ran my own C Corp. in Costa Mesa/Huntington Beach for 25 years. I have been there and done all that.

We encourage you to login or register below to share your point of view on this important topic. Need help, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Register or login below to comment. 


feed3 Comments
Colin Twycross
March 03, 2009

Raymond Kuntz dropped the bomb of a question"How are are all the custom SUP and Surfboard Builders avoiding the health problems........"
Therein lies one question no one wants to answer.
With most production being done in Asian countries it is plainly killing people. there are plenty of labour and little regulation. We buy cheap $500 for SUP and the retailers sell for $1999.00 plus deck grip and extra $500 for apaddle the get from Asia for $150.00.
Epoxy kills just ask those who glassed those sail boards years ago.Why can,t you .easily get epoxy out of Asia?, Because the laminators that have survived liver cancer have all gone back to Polyester.
Why buy from outsourcing? can't be to save because their is not a SUP $1400.00 or is that three times the price.
Surfboard industry is going the way of the rest of manufacturing,Asia.
80% plus of the food on the grocery shelves are O/ are ploughing there produce back in the ground.
We comment then go out and buy off the shelf.
To all the people who still buy Local Thanks,I build local and am sick of people complaining about prices for one local made product then go out and buy multiple Imported products real cheap and sell for more than the Custom made equivalent.
We have the answer in our own buying decisions.
Colin Twycross

March 03, 2009

Just because something is not made in the USA dosent mean that it is made in China. I agree that China is not the best place to take your business. Thailand on the other hand is completely different. They have labor laws ,environmental laws and treat there employees better than we do here. I know Surftech and a few others are made at the Cobra factory there. Also keep in mind that customs boards will always be part of our industry but to supply the demand of this sports growth companies will need to build overseas. Plus if you are spending thousands of dollars on a board a molded board will be lighter and last much longer.

February 28, 2009

It's a problem. Don't confuse low cost with efficiency. Had an Econ Prof who once said that a Nobel was guaranteed to the person who could explain in three paragraphs or less why it was better for nation A to outsource production to nation B for things that nation A can always make more efficiently. This statement tells me that much of free trade / globalization advocacy is based on faith, rather than scientific (measurable experimentally testable) fact. Could be wrong here, my Econ is 25 years old, but a lot of younger folks world wide with more current educational backgrounds than mine are opposed to globalization.

Then I look at what he Chinese have done. In 10 years they've gone from producing junk that we'd look at and say who'd want this stuff, to providing that same stuff including shipping costs to US distributors at less than the costs of materials for a US Mfgr. and the quality is 1st class (if you keep your eyes open). Sweat equity is part of the differential but so are deferred potentially catastrophic health, safety and environmental costs. Subsidies are an interesting animal, in that they're not free, someone pays for them i.e. the Peters out there have to be shorted something in order to pay for Paul's subsidy.

If I can insert an Off topic question here. How are the custom SUP and Surfboard builders avoiding the health problems associated with the use of the toxic substances that wrecked the health of two generations of custom US Windsurfer builders?

-Raymond Kuntz

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