Surfboard manufacturing for a modern planet
Our vision is for a thriving surfboard industry were everyone has the opportunity to surf a locally made quality board
To bring surfboard manufacturing back to Australia:
- by providing brands with a local manufacturing solution that delivers higher quality and accurate replication of designs;
- is more demand reactive with a low lead time;
- is a capital efficient and cost competitive alternative to offshore production.
What makes Kinaroad different?
What problem are we solving?
Over the past decade surfboard production has been steadily moving offshore to low labour cost countries that can offer super low prices. Consequently many of the brand name surfboards now sold in Australia are imported from Thailand, Vietnam and China.
Despite low price there are other hidden costs to this model. For example, lower quality, unfaithful replication of designs and long lead times. Geographical dislocation makes it difficult for the surf brand to manage quality issues. There are high working capital requirements given that boards must be paid before shipping. A long lead time means that brands must predict ahead of market demand what models and sizes will sell. This inevitably results in a portion of imported boards having to be discounted to clear eroding margin for everyone.
Furthermore, the consumer is getting a lot more savvy about the origin and environmental lifecycle of products. Does the surf community really want to purchase a new surfboard that has been shaped by someone in a far away country and who has possibly never surfed?
We believe ‘Locally Made Matters’
We are investing locally, creating employment opportunities and training our staff in lean manufacturing methodologies. We utilise innovative technology to ensure faithful replication of the designers intent. Our manufacturing solution has a lower lead time, is therefore more demand reactive and requires less capital.
How is our solution more accurate?
One of your valued customers, let’s call him Bob, purchases an identical board to his mate, only to find they are not the same? What is going on here? It is estimated that for every ten supposedly identical boards in production, only one or two come out as the designer intended. Why is this?
Let’s break it down…
Most boards are first rough cut by a simple 3-axis routers. These machines have a high ‘step-over’ (distance between machining paths) and large diameter tool. Furthermore, the board is manually turned over and re-aligned during the machining process which is extremely difficult to do accurately.
This machining process creates rough shape of the board with a bumpy corrugated surface which then needs to be interpreted and manually finished by what the industry calls a finish shaper; a highly skilled process that takes 25 to 45 minutes. Hence, unfortunately not all boards are a faithful replication of the original designer’s intent.
The world’s top shapers understand this dilemma which goes hand in hand with scaling their brand by using offshore production. Unfortunately they can not be everywhere at once to guarantee their designs are faithfully replicated. With this loss of quality control they risk their brand, integrity and credibility.
With kinaroad they no longer need worry.
What does the future look like?
Once established in Australia, kinaroad intends to expand their manufacturing foothold into California and then Europe.
Ultimately, surfboard designers will enjoy certainty that their shapes will be accurately produced in different markets irrespective of manufacturing location. Designers can be more adaptive and customer focused, innovating and deploying new products to market quickly without having to worry about the manufacturing and distribution challenges. Surfboard brands can now scale globally with the confidence that the quality of their products are consistent across the markets they serve.
TWEED HEADS FACILITY
kinaroad has deployed its first manufacturing facility in Tweed Heads, Gold Coast, just moments from the famous Kirra and Snapper Rocks point breaks.
kinaroad specialises in EPS/ Epoxy construction of high performance surfboards. Our machining technology is compatible with Aku Shaper and Shape3Dx design programs to ensure an effortless transition for designers using these platforms. If you have any interest in our service please get in touch.
We are currently developing partnerships with brands who wish to utilitise our service.
PROGRESS TO DATE
The most important thing to us is building products people love
kinaroad started in 2006 with a dream to create a more efficient manufacturing solution for surfboards. Central to this idea was a lean manufacturing system that could be deployed cost effectively into any market.
Building boards is traditionally labour intensive, which is why high volume production typically takes place in low labour cost countries. This creates inefficiencies both in lead times and transportation costs. Our mission is to develop technology that automates the process, taking the pain out of manufacturing and allow boards to be made at scale in the markets in which they are used.
Who are we?
kinaroad would not exist without a dedicated group of technology partners and a talented team. A rare blend of expertise has been brought together in order overcome the numerous challenges inherent in creating what is intended to be a ground breaking revolution in surfboard manufacture.
- The New Zealand government’s Callaghan Innovation is a major stakeholder. Callaghan accelerates the commercialisation of innovation by firms in New Zealand. They are proud to be key investor and an integral part of our journey.
- kinaroad is backed by Maui Capital, an Auckland based private equity firm with NZD500 million under management. Maui specialises in partnering with successful management teams to build and grow quality companies and is excited about the opportunity that kinaroad has ahead.