Surfing's New Wave

A component maker's wipeout has sparked a wave of innovation

They may come across as defiers of convention, pushing the edge as they slice through walls of water, but surfers are traditionalists by nature. For more than 40 years, as many as 9 out of 10 American wave riders have relied on one supplier of blank or unfinished boards: Gordon (Grubby) Clark. Last December when the old man slammed shut the doors of Clark Foam, in Laguna Niguel, Calif., he unleashed a tsunami. Some small businesses that had been shaping and finishing Clark's polyurethane (PU) boards simply wiped out; panic over supply swept the industry. But Clark's departure may turn out to be...

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