South Africa has the best deals for custom surfboards....

South Africa has a long, rich history of master craftsman, gurus who have been mowing foam for decades and passing invaluable knowledge on from one generation to the next. Add to this the fact that world-renowned shapers from Australia and America used to come set up shop here and mix it with our best, creating a fibreglass gene pool that still runs through the boards you find under your feet today.
As a result, South Africa boasts a number of world-class shapers and an exceptionally high level of craftsmanship relative to its surfing population. And we’re getting it all at a steal.
A quick investigation was undertaken to get an approximate cost price of what goes into the average shortboard. The result, as you will see below, is that we scoring the best deal in our lives.

Blank: R410
Cloth:R30 per meter=R150(Approximately 5 meters needed)
Resin: R35 per=R105(Approximately 3kgs per board)
Total: R665

After investigating a few avenues, the lowest average price for glassing and sanding a board by a reputable outfit comes in at a minimum of R800. So you are in for approximately R1450 absolutely bare minimum before you get going. This does not include fin plugs, fins, leash, plugs, masking tape, solvents, sandpaper, tools, and overheads like electrical costs and rent. I calculated a conservative estimate of another R500 per board to fill the gap, making a grand total of R1950 cost price per board.

A cross-section of ten shapers around the country were asked what their approximate cost price for materials was to compare notes, they did not want to display exact details. But pushed a little further, every shaper without exception estimated the overall cost price of an average board – including materials, glassing, overheads and secondary labour – to come in at around R2000 (exc vat).
Most SA shapers sell their boards for around R2 900-R3 000 with fins, so that’s not even a bare-bones 50% mark-up. And this does not include costs like paying themselves a labour wage, or insurance for their business. As anyone in the economic game will tell you, a 50% mark-up is peanuts compared to other businesses, especially for something as labour-extensive as shaping, were boards take an average between eight to ten hours to make. To draw an analogy, we compared what the guy who unblocks your toilet and fixes your sink gets paid for getting his hands dirty.( Thanks Dad lol) Most plumbers come in at an average of R300 to R400 an hour. And justifiably so, it’s hard, professional graft.  But at that rate you’d be paying R7 500 minimum for your next stick, factoring in a modest 50% mark-up. Shaping machines do help reduce labour, but shapers still pay on average R200 to have a board cut, and then there is still all the fine-tuning, glassing and sanding to be done. We haven’t even begun to take into account yet the huge wealth of specialised skills and expertise many shapers carry, which you pay for dearly in most other professions.
We then cast our beady eye around the world to see what the average going prices for surfboards come in at. And here’s what I found, working out on average from a minimum of five different boards per country:
1)      USA - $652 = R4 586
2)      Australia - $755 = R5 212
3)      Japan – 125000 Yen = R10 520
4)      UK – 440 pounds = R4 876
5)      Indonesia – Indo Rupiah 5 000 000 = R4 047
Average global surfboard cost = R5 848,20

THE OUTCOME: We’re paying around half the approximate global surfboard price for quality shapes in SA. The bottom line is that shapers rely n our business to keep the most vital cog in this industry turning. Without your local foam guru, we’d be nowhere, surfing rusty old logs that could barely float us and we’d probably end up doing something like golf or cycling. And you don’t even want to start talking about how much they cost.