Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jim Banks on Coffee

Jim Banks is a surfer, traveller, muso, shaper who needs no intro over here. If I could squeeze another couple of boards into the quiver I would include his big wave board and his keel fish. Have a read of the following from Jim Banks' website about the coffee x surfboard value proposition (oh and not only has Jim logged more Indo barrels than most of us have had coffees, he also makes a deadly guitar amp!)
Pic from Jim Banks' webbie
"Why Surfboards are Such Amazing Value and Cheaper than Coffee
Surfboards are incredible value and owning 3 or 4 surf boards costs less per day than a single cup of coffee.  When you factor in how much enjoyment can be experienced from a surfboard, this is incredible value. Especially when you consider that a cup of coffee is going to last all of 15 minutes, while a surfboard can be surfed for 6 - 8 hours a day. Even when a surfboard is not being surfed, a reasonable board continues to be a piece of fine craftsmanship and art to be admired as it stands in the corner of your room."
Pic from Jim Banks' webbie
"Just say for example, you bought a major production label board and payed $750 for it. You keep it for a year, look after it and sell it for say $400. The cost to own that board is $350 a year. Less than a dollar a day! For the same price of one cup of coffee a day you can own a quiver of 3 boards. If you drink 2 cups of coffee a day, for the same price you could have a quiver of 6 boards that you changed over every 12 months!"
"Let’s say you bought a top line 7’4” gun from me. The full deal - polish, tinted resin, glassed to last. It’s going to cost you $1725. This is not just a high performance machine, it’s also a fine piece of art that a whole team of very experienced craftsman have put many hours of skill and knowledge to create. Most of my customer keep their guns for many years. Take the example that you kept the board for 3 years and then sold it cheap for $500. The board has cost $1225 over the 5 years. It works out at just under $1.12 a day! For the same price as a cup of coffee you could own three of these and change them all over every 3 years."
"Many customers keep my boards for 5, 10 or 15 years. If you kept the above board for 10 years and gave it away for $200, it would have cost you a total of $1525. In this scenario this comes in at just under 42 cents a day. It’s less than 1/7th of the cost of a cup of coffee….."
Pic from Jim Banks' webbie
"I have been making surfboards for a long time. A massive amount of time and energy goes into ensuring that my boards surf well. I don’t make many boards and my current R and D costs are more than $300 a board. At the end of the day, even with my new prices and assuming I still mange to sell a 100 boards a year, I’m only going make around $200 a board or $20K a year. Twenty grand a year doesn’t go very far and there are many of us who have been doing it for such a long time now and really wondering why do we keep bothering….."
Pic from Jim Banks' webbie
"The answer is simple….. we love surfing and are passionate are about creating surfboards to maximise the pure incredible experience that surfing is. My advice is to take advantage of us while you can, because many of us are waking up to the fact that apart from the satisfaction of knowing that someone's’ loving the surfboard we just made them, there’s bugger all in it for us and we’d be better off doing something else.
Surfboards are incredibly cheap and amazing value. Even if they were twice the current prices they would still be amazing value and I don’t see how anyone could possibly say otherwise."
Jim Banks - surfer, shaper, traveller, musician


  1. Great Post! Very well said. And for the price of one of Banks' fine guns, someone could get 8 hand-made surfmats from either of the two maestros of matmaking. Also consider that every mat I've ever purchased still holds air and still gets surfed regularly, some after nearly 5 years of daily abuse. That's pennies a day for the simple pleasure of sliding air over water. Long live the few worldwide that continue to produce quality hand-made wave riding vehicles for the enjoyment of others. They surely aren't getting rich off it...

  2. Hand-made stock models are NOT the same as hand-made customs. Custom is always the best.


  3. Hey thanks for the posts. Always keen to learn some more. I do have a query about the two maestros of matt making? Who and where are they? Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.

  4. Many things claim to be "handmade." The term has become almost meaningless in advertising. Handmade is not a synonym for superior quality, or art, or even something actually made by hand.

    But all true custom products are handmade. Custom means "bespoke", "made to order specifically for the buyer."

    As surfers become more educated and experienced, they tend to prefer custom equipment because it can offer advanced performance on a personal level. The decision to own custom handmade products is a statement of support for the inspired creative freedom of master builders.

    The most significant innovative design always comes from custom one-off experimentation; never from pop-outs
    and production knock-offs.

    Not all handmade products are custom.
    If something is handmade in advance for sale, ready made, off the rack, available quick and cheap, then it is probably not a custom product.

    "Caveat emptor"

  5. "the guys that can make magic for someone on a custom basis, are good listeners and translators of what the customer wants. To make magic for an endless string of surfers desiring different designs is completely different from someone designing a model for the masses and then throwing it out there: two entirely different approaches."

    Bruce Fowler in