Manufacturing stoke: emergence, transformation and consolidation in the surfboard industry
This chapter traces the emergence, transformation and consolidation of the surfboard manufacturing industry. With historical antecedents in ancient Polynesian cultures, surfboard making has evolved from a small-scale do-it-yourself (DIY) activity into a formalized commercial industry. Since the late 1950s surfboards have been manufactured in industrial-style workshops located adjacent to popular surfing places. In these settings surfboard making combines a unique range of human skills: an eye for design, knowledge and application of hydrodynamics, manual crafting; and close relations between workers, tools, materials and local customers. Drawing from cultural economy theory, we focus on 33 workshops across three global hubs of surfboard production: Southern California, O'ahu, Hawai'i and east coast Australia. In these three regions surfboards represent functional products utterly necessary to pursue surfing.