Another California surfboard blank company has suffered a major setback. This time, though, a fire is to blame. Thanks to our sister magazine Urethanes Technology International for alerting me to this story: Just Foam, an Oceanside, Calif., company that makes polyurethane surfboard blanks, burned to the ground on March 27. Just Foam is one of the startup companies that jumped into the PU blank business when Grubby Clark unexpectedly closed his Laguna Niguel, Calif., plant in late 2005. At the time, according to our coverage, Clark Foam had supplied about 90 percent of all PU surfboard blanks globally. UTI has a story about the fire on its Web site, but since it's for subscribers only, I'll also link to this story from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Scott Saunders, co-owner of Just Foam, said he planned to relocate to another space in Oceanside and rebuild the business with his 23 employees. Saunders, a surfer and lay minister who lives in San Clemente, said his company is part business and part ministry. As part of his work with the nonprofit Prison Fellowship, Saunders started Just Foam about two years ago to provide employment for former convicts and people in rehab programs. He said Oceanside officials contacted him yesterday with a list of five vacant buildings that he could move into immediately. “We'll have to see how many molds are still good and order the material, but we anticipate delivering foam blanks within four to six weeks,” Saunders said.According to the Union-Tribune story, damage to the 11,000-square-foot building was estimated at $1.5 million, and the lost equipment and inventory could cost as much as $1 million. This sounds like an interesting company, and it's nice to see someone trying to make a difference for a group of people who need a break. I hope Saunders is back in business soon.