Ok, so a small exaggeration on the 101 but there are countless reasons supporting your local shaper is better, and quite a few of them have an ecological slant.
Purchasing your stick from a local dude or dudette is infinitely kinder on the environment and ultimately our ocean. Historically, regardless of the toxic nature of traditional and mainstream surfboard manufacture the simple fact that most boards were produced by local shapers to service their local markets made them better than the supply chain we are seeing in today’s world. Although on one hand the surfing community has become so much more educated on how harmful surfboard manufacturing is and the impact it can have on both the ocean environment and the people entrusted to shape our revered guns, on the other hand the nature of global trade and the ever increasing popularity of surfing worldwide has resulted in mass produced imitations being churned out at an alarming rate from our Asian counterparts.
What’s so bad about this you say? Now everyone can get a board cheap as chips and enjoy the stoke just like us. Well, besides the fact that the local break may be much less crowded, there are a few ecological reasons for stemming the flow of cheaply produced boards… 1) developed countries have more stringent environmental and safety standards which result in much less emission of toxic chemicals into the general environment and better treatment of workers (although the average shapers apprentice may dispute that one); 2) the energy used by developing countries in general is way higher, resulting in a more pollution-intensive manufacturing process and 3) outsourcing board manufacture offshore results in lost local jobs, a diminishing of the local community structure and a high energy toll from transporting worldwide.
Above all else, purchasing cheap alternatives is not only hurting your local shaper, it’s ultimately hurting your local break. And we’re sure that’s a travesty we’d all rather avoid. If only we could think with our hearts and not our wallets next time we purchase a new ride.