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Stoked Surfboards - Worth It or Worthless?
There's a lot of propaganda out there today surrounding surfboard companies and the surfboards they provide. Questions like: Are your surfboards made in China?, Are your surfboards popouts?, Who shapes your surfboards?, are just some of the common issues being brought up.In this article I will attempt to answer some of those questions for the company Stoked Surfboards.Stoked Surfboards started in late 2006 out of the frustration that owners Luc and Holly Stokes felt when trying to buy surfboards when they came to California. Overwhelmed and uninformed they searched the internet and surf shops trying to find an inexpensive surfboard in new or barely used condition. This was not an easy task evidently and and thus Stoked Surfboards began.Stoked Surfboards, as stated on their website, provides, high quality, hand shaped surfboards and a fraction of the cost. Let's look at this statement.Can you define high quality? I think it means that the quality of materials, and construction of them, meets or exceeds that of the industry standard. Fair enough? I called Stoked Surfboards to ask them some questions about their materials and construction and here is what they said.Stoked Surfboards said that all their foam comes from Australia, and all their fiberglass and resin comes from the United States. This is key, because you can get much cheaper materials from places like Mexico or China, but to hear that Stoked Surfboards materials come from Aus. and the U.S. is a good thing.Next I asked who shapes Stoked Surfboards. They said they have a team of shapers that shape for them but they're all overseen by a master shaper. This is neither good nor bad. Most surfboard companies have a bunch of shapers that shape for them, and they shape to the dimensions and template of the original. The only exception to this would be the small independent shaper who shapes out of his garage and has for the last 30 years.Here's the moment of truth though for Stoked Surfboards. I asked them where their surfboards are shaped. They said overseas... now at first glance this could be a negative but if we dig... well, I'll let you draw your own conclusion. Here's what I will say about it -Surfboards being shaped overseas is VERY common these days. Rusty, Firewire, Surftech, Stewart, Hobie, Ben Aipa, Bruce Jones, Dewey Weber, just to name a few, are all shaped overseas. I think we can all agree that some of these companies are legends in the surf word and in some cases pioneered it. So to draw a conclusion that a surfboard is crap because it was made overseas is not only unfair but completely inaccurate.Another common misconception surfboards get that are made overseas, is that they are popouts. First lets define a popout surfboard. A popout surfboard is a surfboard that that was made on a production line or molded, not shaped. This is typically so that the manufacturer can have many, even thousands, of surfboards all the exact same. Most of the time they are made out of a super heavy foam or plastic. Companies like: Bic, NSP, and Southpoint are all considered popouts because they are made out of plastic.I asked Stoked Surfboards if their surfboards are really hand shaped or if they are made on some production line with a machine. They said that this one thing is what sets them apart from other "low cost" companies... they really are hand shaped surfboards made with quality materials. There are no plastics involved and they are shaped by hand... doesn't sound like a popout to me. Here was the clincher though. If a company is mass producing surfboards and they are popouts they wouldn't be able to make me a custom surfboard. So I asked if I could get a custom surfboard, just to put my mind at ease. Stoked Surfboards even does custom shapes... although I do have to wait awhile. This definitely means that Stoked Surfboards are not popouts.So the last question someone could have is this, how do Stoked Surfboards ride? Well, I have had my Stoked Surfboard for almost a year now and I must say, I am impressed. The surfboard is a little stiff (I got epoxy), but other than that, I would buy again from Stoked Surfboards.So to the team over at Stoked Surfboards, let the nay say-ers nay, I think you have a quality product and are serving a niche that the majority of surfboard manufactures have refused to serve. Keep up the good work.To visit Stoked Surfboards website click here