At least one surfboard shaper in Southern California has asked the Trump administration to consider levying tariffs on imported surfboards.
Now, it seems the movement, started via petition by Hermosa Beach-based Spyder Surfboards founder Dennis Jarvis, is gaining momentum.
For years, local surfboard shapers have complained they’re at a competitive disadvantage because imported surfboards — unlike other sporting goods produced overseas — don’t face import duties when shipped to the U.S.
So, large-scale production facilities — in Thailand, for instance — can take advantage of much cheaper labor costs and mass produce surfboards that end up flooding into this country and finding their way into retailers of all sizes, from the mom-and-pop surf shop to the chain mega surf stores.
The only significant expense for these producers, which include major-brand surf labels we all know, is shipping. Lower production costs enable the big brands to enjoy large profit margins on each board they sell while under-cutting local board builders and squeezing them from the business.
Jarvis is hoping the Trump administration will assess a 50 percent to 70 percent tariff on imported boards as a way to level the playing field for domestic board builders to compete in the marketplace. His online petition has already been signed by hundreds of like-minded people who believe that tariffs are the best approach.
Of course, the idea does come with some trepidation.
At least one local board builder said that because of the proliferation of imports, many local surfboard shapers have gone belly up in recent years. He’s concerned there aren’t enough domestic board builders still in existence to meet the demand for local products once the import prices skyrocketed.
“It will take a few years to turn this around, if at all,” he said.
You can read more about Jarvis’ initiative at http://americanboardbuilders.com.
TGSA NAMES ALL-STAR TEAM
Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Texas Gulf Surfing Association All-Star Team members who were named earlier this month, with selection based on leading the season-long ratings in each division. They include Ann Rogers, menehune girls; Kason Wells, menehune boys; Phi Pecore, boys; Mia Marr, girls; Ian Appling, juniors; Aransas Blaha, junior women; and Andrew Leal, junior longboard.
Special mention to Isabelle and Connor Kryger, who dominated their respective divisions but opted to forego their All-Star team roster spots because they’ve moved to California.
OHANA’S SURF DOG COMPETITION
The sixth annual Ohana Surf Dog Competition will take place Saturday, July 21 on the beach at 27th Street and Seawall Boulevard.
The event, which benefits the Galveston Island Humane Society, takes place from 8 a.m. to noon and features many activities. Plus, the chance to see canines surfing or even surf with your own dog. Registration for the competition is $25, but otherwise, it’s free to attend. Head to http://ohanasurfandskate.com/product/2018-surf-dog-competition/ for registration information.