New (and Uncertain) Horizons
This chapter reflects on the future of surfboard making, with particular emphasis on the challenges, directions, and prospects for surfboard makers. It considers whether the surfboard industry is viable and whether manufactures can maintain uniqueness into the future so that surfboards prevail as finely crafted, cultural artifacts. It argues that there is uncertainty in whether hand-based craft techniques will survive beyond the working careers of current practicing surfboard makers. It discusses some of the major challenges faced by surfboard makers in terms of macroeconomics, from the persistent global economic downturn to the high Australian dollar and the competition posed by cheap, machine-produced imports. It also examines the uncertainty stemming from the surfboard workshops and makers themselves, citing poor succession planning as a key problem. The chapter concludes by highlighting some reasons for surfboard makers to remain optimistic of their future prospects.
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