Plans to fill the gaping hole in the American surfboard manufacturing industry following the closure of the Clark Foam monopoly in December of 2005 are well underway. Foam suppliers showed up enforce at the recent SURFEXPO and ASR tradeshows in January; all hoping for a piece of the pie. King Mac Enterprises, a consortium of businessmen out of America, looks set to play a major role in the North American recovery process.
King Mac has signed a multi-million deal with South African Rod MacDonald and Australian Graham King to begin blowing blanks in Tijuana. The deal, which is a multi-level contract, will call on the expertise of MacDonald and King to initially set up a manufacturing plant in Tijuana.
According to Peter Lawson, the South African shaper who brokered the deal for King Mac, "The initial stage will take place from the 7th of March till about May or June which will hope to have the plant up and running and to have the capacity to build 10,000 blanks a month."
For the creation of the plant, King and MacDonald will receive a portion of the multi-million deal where after the option to purchase the intellectual property (that being the specific chemical formula used to make the blanks) will be considered.
The estimated end result is that King Mac is looking to supply the world market with roughly 20,000 blanks a month. They hope to not only snatch up a large part of the mainland U.S. market but also to cater the Hawaiian and Japanese markets as well. The European market, in the meantime, is still going to be serviced by King Mac's plant in South Africa, which is still owned and operated by MacDonald.
"It's nice to see a South African setting the pace in selling this type of business," says Lawson. "[This Deal] has set the standard on what these businesses are now worth. And collectively, [Macdonald] and Graham King, are one of the smaller foam building businesses in the world."
One advantage that King Mac has is that they don't only have one specific formula for their blanks, but rather a variety of formulas that allows the company to use different chemicals in different parts of the world. This effectively means that they have the ability to adapt to any conditions. Another advantage they have is that the response from some of the larger shaping houses has been a positive one. With names such as Channel Islands and Rusty showing a definite interest in the product, King Mac's prospects look more than just a little rosy.
"Admittedly" says Lawson, "they (the shapers) are sitting with a big question mark above their heads. They are asking, 'Is this going to happen?' Are they going to achieve their objectives?"
Time will tell.
However, if all goes according to plan, the new deal could make King Mac Enterprises the global forerunner in the surfboard manufacturing market. Not only will they be catering to a huge percentage of the European and Japanese markets, King Mac hopes to take care of a large section of the market share here in the United States.
This time however, let's hope the market place doesn't put all of its eggs in one basket.