A Conduit of Mostly Non Mainstream News / Information – without Political Correctness…
Neil Rech, who opened Sedition Surfboards yesterday, said he had been threatened at least three times in the past week by local surfboard manufacturers because he was selling the imported boards for $250.
Locally shaped surfboards start at close to $600 with top-end products fetching more than $1000.
“I had one guy abuse me and say he was going to kick me in the ass and that they would get me,” said Mr Rech, of Murwillumbah.
“And then another guy came around and was very angry and was saying I shouldn’t be doing this.
“I think there’s a very good chance I’ll be getting a trip to hospital soon.”
Mr Rech maintained he was not trying to compete with shapers, instead stepping into a niche market for cheaper boards.
But local surfboard shops were not shy about their disdain for the man who they say is being “greedy” and hurting the local surfboard manufacturing industry.
Michael Hamilton, of Coolangatta Board Store, willingly admitted he “tore strips” off Mr Rech this week.
“We are not happy … I went up and had a go at him and said when there’s no jobs for your kids, it’s because you’re bringing in this cheap Chinese s…,” said Mr Hamilton, who manufactures his surfboards locally.
“It’s taking manufacturing jobs away from the next generation and is un-Australian.
“Have a bit of moral fibre.”
Mt Woodgee Surfboards Australia co-manager Filip Battley said Chinese boards had flooded the market but other surfboard shops had not passed on the cheap price like Mr Rech is.
“It’s taboo what he’s doing,” Mr Battley said.
“Surfing is Australian and it’s what keeps us together.”
The angry reaction comes from a long-running concern that cheap Chinese imports are killing the local manufacturing industry.
In October, a last-ditch effort to save popular surfboard manufacturer BASE failed, with $3 million in debts sinking the iconic Burleigh company that supplied surfing greats Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore.
At the time, Gilmore’s father Jeff said it was hard for local companies to compete with Chinese imports.
Australian Surf Craft Industry Association president Michelle Blauw said they were pushing for more regulation on Chinese imports, including proper labelling so customers knew the board was made in China.
“We are not fighting against cheap imports, because that is a fact of life,” she said.
“But we want customs to really clamp down on it and customers to be aware of the difference between a $250 board from China or a $750 quality one made in Australia.”