Business

Surfboard shaper is a success story

GOING STRONG: Madness Surfboards owner and shaper Chris Henry (right) and his son Byron have adapted to challenging market conditions.
GOING STRONG: Madness Surfboards owner and shaper Chris Henry (right) and his son Byron have adapted to challenging market conditions. Trevor Veale

SURFBOARD shaper Chris Henri can recall a time when the demand for his profession was at its all time high.

Thirty years on, he is one of a handful of shapers remaining on the Coffs Coast competing in a flooded market of imported computer-aided design boards from overseas.

But having cornered the niche market of producing custom hand-shaped boards, Chris is a rare success story within an industry that's fallen to the effects of a global economy and the rise of the Australian dollar.

"Because of computer cutting there is a mass of people on the market and that's hurt a lot of the established makers," he said.

"I used to make boards in Sydney where we had a 75% wholesale market - that's now gone," he said.

Eight years ago, Chris relocated to Woolgoolga and set up Madness Surfboards that specialises in quality boards and workmanship.

"Specialising in custom boards has turned out to be the best decision," he said.

"Because so many boards are machine cut, I think you'll always have that demand for the custom hand made board that can be tailored for the surfer."

In a market dominated by imports, DMC surfboards owner and shaper Danny Cougle has faced similar challenges over the years.

He runs his business from home and is sceptical about the future for young people looking to make a career in the craft.

"You use the best materials because you want a board to last - so a board you're selling for $250 costs you $300 to make.

"Unless you can produce with low overheads, it's a challenge for young people to get that start."

He said the industry should introduce regulations to label boards with their country of origin to ensure people know what they are buying.

"Unfortunately so many little businesses are suffering so labelling is an issue that needs to be addressed," he said.

Both experienced shapers said what keeps workshops going is the connection to surfing, to surfing culture and above all - loyal customers.

"I have seen a swing back to local or Aussie made boards," Danny said.

"There is still a demand for custom boards and Australian boards."

Topics:  better business surfboards surfing woolgoolga



Diner reimbursed after finding steel in his burger

Simon Towler claims he had been seeking reimbursement from McDonalds' insurance company for almost a year.

McDonalds to foot the dental bill of diner injured by burger

Rescuing Coffs Coast food destined for the dump

FEEDING MASSES: Loaves and Fishes' Benjamin Critten, Wayne Crowther, Ray Webb, Phil Hannaford and Russell Jones show some of the charity's food produce.

Tonnes of food given a second chance instead of being dumped

WIN acquires rights to Southern Cross Media television

WIN network coverage

Changes to take effect at end of the month

Local Partners

Rescuing Coffs Coast food destined for the dump

WHILE tonnes of food may go to waste, many more thousands of kilograms are spared from ending up in the landfill.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Petula Clark delighted to sing live for Australian fans

STILL TOURING: English singer Petula Clark is coming to Queensland.

English star Petula Clark still puts on a great show, even at 84.

Do you really know your road rules?

Cars travel around the roundabout at Villiers and Fitzroy Street. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

List of the top 10 most misunderstood road rules in NSW.

Hervey Bays to star in international horror flick

A great white thriller that had scenes filmed on the Fraser Coast has been picked up by a major US movie studio.

Cher, 71, and Celine Dion wow world at Billboard Awards

“I’m 71 yesterday and I can do a five-minute plank, OK.”

Judah's return to The Voice stage is a knockout

Judah Kelly performs during his knockout round on The Voice.

QUEENSLAND singer nails Adele hit.

WIN acquires rights to Southern Cross Media television

WIN network coverage

Changes to take effect at end of the month

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis: "I was born a boy"

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis has revealed she was born a boy

Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hanks announce White House bid on SNL

Dwayne Johnson is “officially” running for president in 2020

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Close to everything, yet blissfully private

SNEAK PEEK: This private and elevated Coffs Harbour home is on the cover of this week's Real Estate Property Guide.

The Real Estate Property Guide is online now.

The hardest place in the state to find a rental property

RENTAL SHORTAGE: Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific Highway Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Not enough supply to meet insatiable demand

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!