Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Action Sports Retailer show, held Jan. 17-19 in San Diego.
Advances in polymer science have led to the creation of a soft surfboard for the rental and surf school market. A board of 8 feet or longer costs $400-$500.
Southern California Sports Industries began working on the concept with well-known surfer Mike Doyle in 2001 and, in December, commercialized the board under an exclusive global license from Doyle.
``Doyle and Tom Morey invented the soft surfboard about 25 years ago, but it was only in the last few years that the technology and construction of materials have caught up with the vision,'' said Dave Rubin, vice president of operations with the Irvine, Calif., firm. ``We think we have produced what the original vision was.''
The board has core of a dense polystyrene composite, three stiff wood stringers in polypropylene wraps, a PP top deck skin and a high density polyethylene back skin.
``It won't hurt you if you fall off and it smacks you in the head,'' Rubin said. ``It has lines drawn on it to give learners an idea of where to keep their head when they are paddling and taking off and where to place their feet. It is thin enough on the rail that a kid can grab hold of it easily.''
Sets of three fins each are molded of polyurethane or nylon. They are produced in Zhuhai, China.
Subskate Inc. of Brighton, Mich., has launched a $19.95 underwater skateboard that is compression molded of ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers.
Owner Jerry Fielding Jr. developed the product expressly for his two sons, ages 9 and 12. ``We spend a lot of time in the pool, and they do a lot of skateboarding, so I had to bring the skateboarding culture into the pool,'' he said. A prototype was shown at an Orlando, Fla., show in September.
The board measures 31 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches and entered the market Dec. 15.
Fielding, a pilot for Northwest Airlines, is having the board manufactured and packaged in China. A network of domestic sales representatives is marketing the product, and ``we have talked to distributors from 18 countries,'' he said.