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Stoked Surfboards - Worth It or Worthless?

Updated on July 4, 2012

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


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      it's totally legitimate to question any industry "disrupter." Anyone taking claims at face value is just another dummy prime to get ripped off.

      D33 showed up on my radar just recently from a friend getting into surfing and looking for an "affordable" board. As we all know, surfboards have always been anything but cheap and so anyone selling at near half price of industry standards is bound to get some heat from the so-called surf community.

      It somehow never felt right why boards are so expensive. I mean those mass-produced boards shaped by a minimum-wage worker but adorned with that trendy logo. I can see spending $$ on a custom shaped board from a local shaper; but that's a different industry altogether.

      For one, I'm so glad to read so many positive reviews on D33. I'm definitely going to check them out and give them a try.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      after reading these comments...I for one am a beginner and am more interested in learning to surf as many of you are and have ...beginner to expert! one question? all the experts started as beginners (KOOKS) I guess? so, if am am learning a new sport... who really cares what I surf on til I am proficient enough to ride a more expensive (quality) board....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      To all who think that Merrick and other similar companies arent out to make money, please take time to view the URL below.

      No where on the CI website does it say that their boards are made in the US, I would sure want that to be known if it were true.

      "Channel Islands has grown from a local grass-roots operation to a cutting edge organization",

      I guess that means outsourcing is the way to go when moving from operation to organization.

      Cheers to the downfall of overpriced surfboards

    • profile image

      frank bonebreak 

      6 years ago

      Every sport has elitest and newbies. Every sport has entry-level and professional grade equipment. Every person has different preferences. The fact that the elitest feel that by the rookies buying entry-level, they are killing the sport is entertaining. I honestly could care less if a stuck up snob has a board twice as expensive as mine and catches half the waves. I love watching them paddle and kick their feet and complaining all day. But, I'm a kook (never heard that term before). When you're in the G-Town brown in texas, everyone is a kook! I had a Weber Performer and a Con Wingnose and I'll probably give D33 a try. If I don't like it, Ill post a review and sell it to some other kook on craigslist.


    • profile image

      John H 

      7 years ago

      Thumbs up Monk and Matt . . .

      I have been surfing SoCal for the past 7 years, have won 4th Place in the KROQ surfing tournament in 2009 Shortboard Division. I currently own 4 boards (my first Longboard, D33 Funboard, JS Industries 6.7, and Custom Hydro Flex 5.8) Yes I purchased a Degree 33 Board a few years ago, I didn't have much money and I heard good things about them. All I have to say is I still surf my d33 board today after 4 years of use and comparing it to my friends boards it is as good as them all. Who cares what board someone owns as long as they respect our oceans and other surfers. I see surfers all the time surfing local made boards that seem like blank pieces of foam without much time and effort spent into really shaping it properly, and they spent fortunes on them. Don't be pissed because Luc and Holly are taking advatage of the internet, shame on the other guys for not taking advantage of the internet. Times change and so do you.

      P.S. if you do buy a D33 board ask for thicker glass on the deck if you are a heavy footed surfer like me, the only complaint I have is I notice my D33 board pressure dents easier than my other boards, but it is fast and turns great.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      +1 for Matt.

      I'm constantly amazed what total assholes 'surfers' tend to be. WTF happened to loving the ocean and the magic of the wave?

      I smile at everyone I see in the line up. It's not that I like everyone out there, it's just that surfing is my favorite thing in the whole world and I'm always happy to be out there. There's always a couple fuckheads that try to ruin it for others to thin out the line up. A few of them have been commenting on this post. They use aggression and threats to make themselves feel better about the fact that they still mooch off their parents(even at 30+years), and can't figure out why women keep leaving them. I hope some of them decide to repeatedly snake me/drop in on me out there. I will beat them, drown them, and go right back to smiling at everyone else. Seriously.

      I grew up surfing NorCal, spent years surfing Santa Cruz (east and west side, and north), but had to move out to East Florida a couple years ago. I've been exclusively a 'shortboard' surfer, but the waves in the Palm Beach County area were too crappy 80% of the time for a shorty. I ended up buying a 6'8 Degree33 hybrid (so I could paddle like a mad man but still pretend I wasn't on a longboard). The board has been great.

      I moved back to the Santa Cruz area last year and I think the ultimate indicator of how much I've liked the D33 board is that I brought it back from FL with me. It's held up great, very few pressure pocks and still looks shiny and new after 2 years of frequent surf. (I surf about 3xweek and 80% of that was on the D33 while in FL)

      It's not my favorite board, in fact I haven't ridden it yet in 2011, but it's solid and well worth the $. I broke my ankle (surfing) a couple months ago and will be going out again for the first time in 2 days, and I'll be taking the D33.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Ok, I just read this entire thread and I'm DYING. Oh man... I needed a quick break from work and this was perfect. Thanks to Surfhard for his enthusiastic product review and to everyone else for their hilarious (if often biting) comments> Fantastic!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am 54. I have surfed from age 11 forward. At one point in time or another I have had short, long, wide, narrow, fiberglass, epoxy, carbon, single, twin, tri, quad...

      A year ago I wanted to teach someone to surf. They enjoyed the experience so I went looking for an inexpensive board for them to learn learn on. I bought a D33 for them. They are extremely happy and learning rapidly. I took the board out for a session and had a very productive session. I liked it much more than I expected to.

      High product quality coupled with a reasonable price lead me to assert that D33 represents an excellent value.

      I am going to buy another board from them. This time it will be for me!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Luc may be more businessman than craftsman, but Degree33 is not NSP. I got a "NextGen" epoxy model that has the flexibility of fiberglass but weighs much less.

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      I was relatively new at surfing and wanted a board that was not a soft top. I turned to them because I did not want to invest on another hobby I was going to give up after the summer. After a year I went to a real shaper. The surfboard I got for twice as much was no better than the one I bought from them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      After readin this, I am def. gonna buy a d33 board

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I got a 9' epoxy longboard from Degree33, after righting all shapes and sizes of fish and shortboards for 9 years, this thing is waaaayyyy fun, wwaaaayyy rigid/durable, and wwaaayyyy cheaper. It's like the best-of-both-worlds. Also, they beat ISLE surfboards for me because they had a wider selection of the material layers and rail design I wanted to combine, that ISLE could not do.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      All Y'all crack me up. Degree33 offer both epoxy and traditional glass boards. If you have questions, call them and talk to them. See if they do or don't know what they are talking about. Its one thing to act like a spoiled child or to jump on the bash wagon and it is expected from ignorant posers who don't totally understand the stoke. You will find Degree33 and stoked surfboards all over...east coast, west coast and yes...even in Hawaii. I personally have a 6' quad retro, and 6'2" fish, a 7' hybrid, an 8' minimal and a 9'6" log. I am on the east coast and am not an affiliate of the company. There new line is even more awesome than the earlier models. I understand the want to get a custom board. It may be a friend of the family or a local who has been around forever. Even locals may have a quality issue once in a while. The thing is it's easy to call names and speak about what you yourself don't know about when you are virtually anonymous. I have lived long enough to remember similar problems in the 50's and 60's and on up regarding the prejudices you are showing here. Times change, people change. Remember when the first aluminum bats came out?? Color television? Buy an RCA not a Samsung, Buy a chevy not a Honda or Toyota. Chill...Luc and Holly are awesome people to deal with. Try them out and you wont be disappointed ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      If your boardshorts, wetsuit, board bag and shoes are made in China, why not your surfboard? Oh, I forgot, the hand-shaped surfboard is holy ground, for Americans, by Americans. LOL.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i don't live close enough to invest an a** load of money into a board to go out 3 -4 times a year to learn so if you can buy a new board for what a used rusty or stewart why not ? its bringing the sport to the masses .. wo knows if i get better ill be layen out the bucks for a name brand but for now it surves its purpose

    • profile image

      Michael A 

      9 years ago

      Just purchased a used ("surfed once") 10' Stoked epoxy. Very light, stiff---the vee on the bottom at the tail is about 1/8"-1/16" assymetric. Other than that the rails, rocker, bottom, etc. look fine. Glass job is great. Great bang for the buck--I wanted a parade float for those small sloppy Texas days (we have a few). I surf, windsurf, have shaped/made my own. I remember when "popout" was a dirty word. I own several EPS/Divinicell/Carbon/Epoxy sailboards that would qualify that are feather light and you can take a baseball bat to the deck and not know it. I've wondered for how many years the surfing industry would stay in the dark on these advanced construction methods. The main issue is cost and marginal benefits on short boards. The youngsters (excuse me---shredders!) probably haven't gotten their engineering degrees yet---everyone cut the criticism and rage on!

    • profile image

      the rat 

      9 years ago

      my best friend just bought a stoked surfboard and i was skeptical so i took it out yesterday..... its a 6'2 retro fish and it was surprisingly fast and easy to drop in on....... the downfall was that the board was really stiff and difficult to duck dive but for 350 bucks as a poor college student i think il prolly buy one

    • profile image

      tim m. 

      10 years ago

      I just bought a 6'2" retro fish from them and all i have to say is that they're great honest people who would spend all the time you need without pressuring you to buy something you don't want to buy . and if you had the pleasure to meet the owners you'd know that this company is here for us the consumer. plus with how many other companies do you actually have the opportunity to buy your board directly from the owner and it actually be a top quality product . honestly it would be your loss not to at least meet with the owners and decide for yourself . i'm never buyin from anyone else again. now only if they could make snowboards i'd be set!


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