So, I was thinking to myself the other day….”why custom boards?” Why would anybody in their right mind dedicate their livelihood; their life to such a vast, time-consuming, labor intensive effort of the mind and body….
Then, I looked around out at what is the typical approach to industry; the opposing view to that of a customized, quality, personalized approach….and what I saw was an industrialized money model whose pillars of character traits included “automate”, “standardize ‘em’”, “punch ‘em and pop ‘em”, “move ‘em on down the line”, “turn and burn ‘em!!” With the modicums of minimum effort, maximum output, highest gross…..all the while they claim ‘go green’ and ‘protect the environment’. But then I look around and see that this kind of system breaks down. Markets become glutted, people don’t want anymore of the same thing….the same old thing. Tremendous waste and not matching the product to the person is the outcome of this mindset.
And just then, I saw a vision, yes a vision….of Native Americans riding their horses across the plains. Noble, with bow and arrow in hand chasing down the buffalo. And I was back in my second grade classroom listening to Mrs. Lucadam teach us of the ways of the first Americans….and what we can learn from our past to guide us today in the ways we think and act in our world, our environment and with one another.
They shot, not to amuse themselves; although I’m sure the thrill of the hunt was exhilarating. They shot to provide for their families; food to eat, pelts for warmth in winter, the hooves fashioned into cutting tools….they used every part of the buffalo and shot only what they would use. A specific plan, a specific purpose for their efforts….and a good and noble objective that provided for and blessed the tribe and considered the delicate balance of the environment they lived in.
So how does all this relate to Surfboards. Well, I guess it’s in the purpose of focus; two paradigms in an industry. One objective being – “how do we get the most boards into the market?” The other objective being – “how do we make the best boards possible custom tuned to specifically match the unique requirements of each individual surfer.”
The first paradigm will build, build, build and then try to create a demand. Fill the shops….consignment….pay next year….whatever it takes. The second paradigm first recognizes a need, and then builds each board to specifically meet that need. Which one do you think has less waste? Which one do you think is better for the environment? Which one do you think matches with what will really bless the surfer’s experience? The one that targets strategically what will actually work for the individual working class surfer….or the one that tries to tell surfer’s what mold they ought to fit?
Vision number two – Now I see gamesman aboard a moving train with rifles in hand, shooting from the windows at as many buffalo as they can take aim at. Reload, keep shooting till the bullets are all gone. Leave the carcasses rotting in the sun. It’s just a game. Who won?
You see what I’m getting at? If it’s money you are after (which in itself never satisfies or brings happiness), or expanding your ego, or fame, or even the attempt at a life void of struggle…. then your goals change your motives, and your priority becomes “how many more?”….
But if your goal is to bless, then your goals change your motives, and your priority becomes “where is there a need?” …
Indians and surfboards; it’s actually about you and me and who we will be, what mark we will leave.
– Todd Proctor