Photos: Chris Kimball
SUPERBrand Surfboards might just be the best kept secret when it comes to rad office spaces that TransWorld has ever seen. The spacious, warehouse style building is tucked away in the back of the same business park that houses Black Box and California Skateparks headquarters. Although it may be easy to miss from the outside, once you step foot through the double doors, the tour really will throw you for a loop, along with learning that SUPERBrand is the first surfboard company to have an officially licensed manufacturing facility in Carlsbad (We know—we were shocked, too!)
The crew of about twenty employees, including shapers, glassers, designers and art directors, make their home throughout this thoughtfully designed workspace, that integrates playful pops of colorful walls and creative nooks in the front showroom, with down and dirty shaping bays and sanding and glassing rooms in the back, which turn out close to 65 boards per week, and a warehouse from which all U.S. product is shipped. SUPERbrand consolidated its entire operation into the Carlsbad headquarters two years ago, and was previously based out of Cardiff with a factory in Oceanside, California. The company also has a global headquarters on the Gold Coast in Coolangatta, Australia, and through what it calls its Shapers Collective, the surfboard manufacturer reps shapers across the globe, from the two full time shapers in Carlsbad—Jason Koons and Ryan Sakal— to shapers such as Adam “Sparrow” Fletcher, Matt Kinoshita, and Nuno Matta who round out the collective in Portugal, Australia, and Hawaii.
“It’s cool to have guys making boards for different areas and for the team riders in those regions to be able to try them locally,” says Marketing & Design Director Paul Brewer, explaining that all the shapers work with similar templates that they share and collaborate on to make tweaks depending on the team rider and the waves they ride in different areas of the world.
Because SUPERBrand was able to gut the building prior to coming in and set up their surfboard factory entirely from the ground up, the work flow of boards coming through its facility is easy and efficient, explains Brewer. The company also had to meet the city’s requirements for manufacturing boards, which was the main catalyst behind the new equipment and air ventilation fans that suck up dust from the shaping and sanding bays to create cleaner air quality.
The company is also working more closely with Sustainable Surf’s Eco Board program to use completely recycled blanks, according to Brewer. “The last batch of boards we made for Clay Marzo were all that [recycled blanks],” says Brewer. “Clay breaks boards like crazy, and he was stoked on them.”
As TransWorld took the tour through the production facility, several shapers were working in the shaping bays, while two glassers were steady at work, and one sander was buzzing away in the very back room. Brewer says on any given day there could be up to 9 people working throughout the production facility depending on the amount of projects, but that workload is capped at 12 boards per day, or about 65 boards per week. “Even if we had a bigger factory, we couldn’t do more than that without sacrificing quality,” he explains.
The surfboard manufacturing process aside, the company also is in the beginning stages of making a name for itself in the apparel market, with an ever-growing line of both women’s and men’s lifestyle clothing, boardshorts, and accessories—all while remaining, a small, tightly run private company, with a casual, non-corporate atmosphere. All in all, Brewer and the entire crew at SUPERBrand couldn’t be more stoked on their relatively new, well-hidden home, and we really don’t blame them.