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The Gudauskas Brothers Launch New Soft-Top Surfboard Line to Benefit Favorite Charities
By Jake Howard
When it comes to soft-top surfboards, there is no shortage of options in the market these days.
And if you’ve spent much time reading this column, you may have noticed that I’m much more in favor of supporting our talented local shapers and craftsmen and craftswomen than plunking down $100 on a new Wavestorm from Costco.
But true to their nature, Dane, Patrick and Tanner Gudauskas are looking to turn a soft-top paradigm on its head.
The San Clemente trio, who have done a world of good via their Positive Vibe Warrior Foundation, recently launched a new line of soft boards. Their goal is not to just sell a bunch of boards, but to share the stoke of surfing to those who maybe haven’t dipped a toe in the water yet.
“We’ve started small with just three different models—a longboard, a fish and a boogie board. It’s been a process to nail everything down, but hopefully now, it’s onward and upward from here,” Tanner told the San Clemente Times.
Just finding the right manufacturers to partner up with took some time. Eventually, the boys stumbled onto a company in Utah that makes closed-cell foam blanks out of recycled materials.
“A lot of the soft boards out there today are made with open-cell foam, which means that as soon as the skin of the board is pierced, it’s going to suck in water. The closed-cell foam doesn’t do that and, hopefully, will last a lot longer,” Tanner explains. “You can also upcycle the blanks if you get tired of them and pretty much shape a new board out of it.”
One of the main motivations behind this project is to stop the flow of soft boards into landfills. If you’ve ever walked down the beach after a busy holiday weekend, you’ve undoubtedly seen broken boards sticking out of trash cans.
“We thought it was important to close the loop on that, so all of these boards can be recycled … and if you send your board back to us when you’re done, we’ll take care of that,” Tanner says.
For a little added motivation, those who turn their boards in to be recycled will receive 20% off the purchase of their next PVW board.
The other main driver of the new soft boards is to help those less fortunate get into the water and enjoy the benefits of surfing.
The brothers have teamed up with three different charity organizations, with 10% of all proceeds from sales benefiting them. They’ve partnered with the City Surf Project in San Francisco, Juju Surf Club in Capetown, South Africa, and the Nigeria Surf Team in Lagos, Nigeria.
Each organization will eventually receive donated PVW soft boards, as well as funds to support their program, raised from each PVW board sold. The idea is basically an evolution of the wildly successful surfboard drives that the foundation put together in years past.
“We learned a lot from all the board drives we did and have been able to apply that here. It gets complicated quickly, so this taps right into the pipeline and will, hopefully, have a similar effect,” Tanner says.
The idea now is that each board sold is basically like a mini board drive. Boards and funds are donated as needed and go directly to established surf programs that can make good use of them.
The PVW soft boards are just starting to hit shops and get out there. At the moment, the only local spot you’ll find them is at MOTU in San Clemente.
So, if you’re looking for a fun, safe surfboard to teach your kids on this summer, or just something to have around to keep things fun and loose, these new boards might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Jake Howard is local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. A former editor at Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, today he writes for a number of publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.