By Promise Yee
OCEANSIDE — Quiver Boardworks started two years ago, when Mark Wisdom looked into his computer monitor and wondered if he could see himself working as an IT in five years. “One day I looked at my computer and walked out,” Wisdom said. “I told my boss, who is also my friend, I’m going to build surfboards and I’m not coming back.”
Wisdom walked out of his IT job and into his new career as shaper, sander and glasser for Quiver surfboards. His new boardroom is the Pacific Ocean, where research and development takes place. Wisdom and his business partner, Chhris Dougherty, hit local beaches to try out the surfboards and ride with customers.
Quiver Boardworks is located on Via Mel Monte, an area known as the hub of surfboard manufacturing in North County. More then 30 shapers have neighboring shops. What makes Quiver Boardworks stand out from other local shapers is that the entire process from order to finish takes place in-house. “Everything’s under one roof,” Dougherty said. “A lot of people have shapers and outsource glassing. People usually specialize in one thing.”
There is no outsourcing at Quiver Boardworks. Wisdom explained that outsourcing can lead to a disconnect between the order and the finished product. “Sanding needs to follow the line of the shape,” Wisdom said. “You know from that rider whether to sharpen it or roll the edge. It’s very important to have that control under one roof.”
In-house manufacturing also allows customers to be more involved throughout the process. Eric McHenry is a professional surfer and Quiver team rider who has had several boards custom made by Quiver Boardworks. “They’re more personal and really involved,” McHenry said. “They let me be hands-on instead of just saying what I think I want.”
Another plus for McHenry is the quick turnaround time. Computer images help replicate the blank for repeat customers. And the manufacturing process is one to two weeks versus the “average” surfboard manufacturing time of two to four months. The speed and accuracy in which Quiver Boardworks produces a board is a real plus for McHenry, who may have as short as one-week’s notice before a contest. “I can leave with a board under my arm,” McHenry said.
Quiver boards are custom made to riders’ height, weight, skill level and surf spots. “There are different types of waves,” Wisdom said. “If someone rides a mushy wave I know how to shape the board for that.”
Wisdom and Dougherty are familiar with local surf spots. If a rider surfs outside of North County, they often take a road trip to test out boards.
“We have one shot (to make the surfboard),” Wisdom said. “We rely on feedback to make it right. The majority of our business is repeat customers. That says something good.”
In two years, Quiver Boardworks sales have skyrocketed to a 600 percent increase. “The business is so viral,” Wisdom said. “We hope to duplicate what were doing in North County in each surf spot in California.”
The heart of the business remains the love of surfing and sharing it with others. “Our core is our community,” Wisdom said.
Quiver Boardworks sponsors a professional and grommet surf team and supports local surf contests and fundraisers by donating its custom made surfboards.
The company also considers the customer and keeps prices within reach. “We sell boards at $375 to $400, half of what you would pay when you buy at a retail store,” Wisdom said.
See a tour of Quiver Boardworks at www.coastnewsgroup.com.
By Promise Yee