Biz Briefs: The Hole In the Pipeline

On Dec. 5, known as Blank Monday in the surfing world, the $4.5 billion industry's core snapped like a board caught in the Banzai Pipeline. Reason? The closure of Gordon (Grubby) Clark's four-decade virtual monopoly on polyurethane blanks, the raw material for most surfboards. (Shapers then customize them for surfers.) Clark's Laguna Niguel, Calif., company produced 80% of blanks worldwide, and his sudden exit (encircled by rumors of pressure by environmental regulators) left surfers treading water as board prices doubled and deliveries were cut off. One man's wipeout, though, could be another's dream wave. Harold Walker, a 47-year industry veteran with...

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