Zalida is the new Glass House Darren Handley has put together post Base. The name for those who are curious contains the initials of his 3 children.
During the second half of the last decade Asian imports have put pressure on our local glassing houses so much so many skills are drying up. In Western Australia over 60% of the glassing workforce threw in the towel and went to the mines .It is common knowledge that fibreglass tradesman are never going to retire with a bundle and this cheap labour threat has perhaps permanently cemented this dismal outlook.
Thankfully in the surfing industry, but in particular the surfboard industry, there is an undeniable passion that exists for the product they produce. I am sure that the little women, who are industriously stitching away in their Chinese sweatshops, are not admiring and hugging the garments on completion.
One does not deal with fumes and dust for the long term if he is not passionate about what he does. Well in the Zalida glassing house we have more than a few.
There are many glassing shops around that are doing big numbers for some of the top labels, but with numbers; comes a lower price. They are less than interested in doing anything different or more labour intensive because, literally- “time is money”.
This year I have put more emphasis on the glass integrity of my models. I have witnessed the dumbing down of the glassing process the last 10 years mainly due to the ever increasing cost of labour and also the margins retailers are gouging. I would have to say that I would be far stretched to find another factory that for one could do what I need and if so- wouldnt even bother.
Head of the creative team is Guillaume a passionate Frenchman who will take on anything that I come up with. He is currently laminating all my carbon reinforcements, diagonal glass jobs and Epoxy Scarpers that any normal tradesman would run a mile from. He also does some fibre flexes when requested. And he is up for more! He knows the day will come that I will be coming up with something impossible and asking for it to be made possible, and he is ready for it. His back up Dan and Anthony are less than keen for the creative but are the spine of the standard.
In the aesthetics department we have another ace. For all the theory and marketing around the surfboard, the fact is, if it does not look good it will not get the chance to get wet. Todd the builder (not Bob) is a guy that has done the lot in the building industry but has developed a passion for making surfboards look really good. Gone are the mural artists who have beenreplaced with the printed inlay, and in retrospect, were probably overqualified for this sort of product anyway. I have always maintained that there is a curvaceous beauty to a shaped blank which can easily be destroyed by an overzealous artist trying to make a name for himself. Todd knows this and shows respect for the shape, and in turn enhances the lines I draw which magnify the beauty. I guess I am a little old fashioned, but I would almost cry when one of my team riders returned from a lean boat trip having filled his time letting loose with a boska on his surfboard. That shit is for the inside of a dunny door would be my response!
Perhaps the most pressure in the process is put to the sanders who are in essence- the finishers. The days of the sprayed on protec finish are long gone, so one mistake by a sander is his last; the poor buggers have to be spot on- and 99.9% of the time they are. Jigger, who previously had his own glassing company, is one of these guys and also has a passion for the finish coat and full mirror polish which adds a retro arm to the Zalida outfit. I have reintroduced the Pipedream label as a limited edition product and Jigger is my man. We all know how skilled the Balinese are with their hands and Gidday is no exception. He is married to an ozzie lass and lives and works permanently here on the Gold Coast, and I might add- with a work ethic second to none. Simon Massy an ex competitive surfer, also knows how long to run a tucked edge, and he makes up the third sander in this department of specialists. There is fine line to a sanded finish; the board needs to be grip able in the water but silky enough to be sexy enough on the floor.
These boys have got it down. I gotta warn you board huggers out there, wear a professionally made jock strap when you run your hands over these well rubbed curves.