The HK surfing community this year is contributing to progress, discussion and change about marine trash. There are many surfers individually active and distinguished in various NGOs and green groups. Historically, 3SoulSurfer hosted an impressive BWB beach cleanup
this Oct (2016) in which surfers showed their concern for the ocean and their willingness to take action by clearing up ALL THE DEBRIS on BWB back beach by hand. WTF? That’s not easy.
3SS’s beach cleanup showed the HK community the power of a group of surfers coming together to pool their talents and get things done. The HK Surfing community has flexed its muscles and the surfers looked good in the limelight (they deserve it). Search them up on @3SoulSurfer FB and media for photos of the cleanup and of the various surfer crews looking fly and going hard in the water.
To me, this means that there is a potentially large market for an industry player (or hopefully plural in the future) to make and sell high-quality surfboards that compete with the HK surfing status quo of generic China-shaped/Indo-shaped HPSB – boards which are largely wasted on HK waves.
I argue that you can go a step better by getting hand-shaped boards made for your specific needs and wants – in HK – from a shaper who knows what they are doing and loves what they are doing – great value for money and a steal for the little bit of extra coin it costs compared to another CI/AL IMO.
And so, long note about Makara Surf Company – not only Hong Kong’s only active surf Brand, but in my opinion, also a pioneer and contributor to HK’s surf history.
There have been a handful of HK shapers and makers throughout the history of the local scene, some still active today (maybe I’ll write more about it later). Common practice is to outsource their designs to be made in China (nothing wrong with that – probably the only pragmatic way to get it done given the state of HK’s barely-existent surf infrastructure.
Makara? Not so. According to my understanding, CNC in China is how they started out a couple years back, but what impresses me is that Chris’s brand is constantly and actively evolving, and taking the initiative to do what others won’t, or can’t afford to. He’s willing to try what hasn’t been done before, and determined to do what it takes.
I’ve said to Chris that his boldness to innovate is and will be Makara’s differentiator as a surf brand and shaper choice – even more than the esteem of actually finding a way to shape commercially in HK (don’t believe me? Try shape a board here whilst keeping the material costs below what it would take to buy new). Not to mention that by and large Chris does this all as a one-man band.
I had my doubts about Makara at first. Just another surf brand – trying to claim a stake in an niche not yet occupied? Just another CNC-shaped brand of white-labeled surfboards plus a fancy logo slapped on top? Is Makara just another brand among the environmental bandwagoners trying to benefit and reap easy attention by participating in the ocean’s pigsty rhetoric? So with cynicism in mind I made the effort to visit.
I think Chris is building something legitimate here, and I can’t be the first to see it, either.
Correct me if you disagree, but this here to me is the face of real change, real progress, real effort, happening incrementally in front of your eyes to realize a vision of a better surfing future, and a better surfing industry.
At this stage, green thinking is still being spearheaded by market innovators.
It is obviously not profitable to recycle and “think green” in 2016 – the market doesn’t tend to reward those who do. So the least I think I could do as a surf consumer, if I want to support the direction that I’d like to see the industry players take, is to back those willing to take the risk, who have given me confidence that they can and will deliver on their promises. Because I want to contribute to change as an individual and not “change”, the fashionable bandwagon. As a consumer and a surfer, I see how the power of my choice can have very direct and noticeable effects on the tiny surf community and industry in HK.
Companies and businesses investing in sustainability often do so out of their own pockets and deserve our support – why not put our money to work to make the changes we want to see in the world happen…instead of another Al or CI straight off the production line!
All I can see is hand shaped with love. And in 852? That’s priceless! 🙂
#hksurfer #3soulsurfer #surfturtles #makarasurf #rotkneeopinions
In the coming year I resolve to post less about my shitty quiver and start writing more opinion pieces on the HK surf scene and culture for your enjoyment and more importantly- debate. No one gives a **** about it if no one is talking about it, so talk about it more!
Jokes aside you’re a kook if you don’t like my quiver though.