Fatum has been manufacturing surfboards since 1985. We like to believe that we have learned a few things. Gero never settles for the status quo but always looks to improve the final product. It is a process that involves asking questions and looking for ways to improve things, an evolution.
It would be fun to walk you through how we make surfboards so you could understand the steps involved. This is the first of four parts that will give you an idea about the skill, dedication, and love that go into each surfboard. Let’s start with the first part – The Blank.
Surfboards are made up of blank. The blank may be the most critical component of a board. The blank is like a house’s foundation or an automobile’s chassis. The rest of the board collapses without a suitable blank.
Surf Blanks Africa
We only use blanks made by ‘Surf Blanks Africa.’ They are a family-run business based in Durban, South Africa. They have the best Polyurethane Blanks available in the current market. Gero has a close relationship with them, and we receive shipments of blanks every 4 to 5 months. A good relationship with the blank supplier allows us to be confident about the quality of our final product.
We use a variety of different PU Blanks. The colors are as follows.
Green blank is a buoyant material that is less dense and more lively. It’s ideal for performance boards. This would be used for all our shortboards—Skippa’s, Bulldogs, Fusions, Bonds, etc.
Blue blank- This is the most popular and solid of the three. It’s denser, stronger, and lighter than the green blank. However, it does trade off on flex. This blank is used on our performance longboards, minims, and crossovers—dukes, Mobys, Masters, etc. The quality of these blanks right now is simply astounding.
Blue Blank This blank is a little heavier but still very strong. These blanks are only used for traditional heavy longboards. Therapy, zeon, etc
Gero uses these blanks because they are consistent, reliable, and small enough to work well with his rocker lines. Fatum surfboards have very few pressure dings. It is something we are proud of. A quality blank builder, such as ‘Surf Blanks Africa,’ can help us ‘find the board’ in the blank. The board’s core is softer foam, so harvesting the board closer to the surface will result in a more durable and stronger surfboard. They consider Gero’s rocker curvatures, allowing them to dig out the design closer to the surface. This gives a more robust final result. We need to begin with a consistently superior product if we want all our clients to get the same quality of board. Working with a blank producer like “Surf Blanks” is our best option.
How eco-friendly is this?
It is not environmentally friendly. It is essential to put things into perspective. The production of a PU blank (Polyurethane Blank) is the process that has the most significant impact on the environment. If you compare the emissions of making a board from beginning to end to driving a car in 20 minutes, there are many other ways to get a good surfboard.
Blanks are not available in Europe.
There is currently no blank manufacturer in Europe who (in our opinion) makes a high-quality blank. It is a labor-intensive process and would be expensive to manufacture here. The blank is the board’s core, and it is vital to get this right.
It does not necessarily mean something is wrong with a surfboard that has started turning yellow. PU turns yellow. It goes from yellow to brown as a result of air. This was the reason why shapers used resin tints in the olden days. It is used to hide the fact that surfboards are yellowed after 5-6 months.
Some blank manufacturers use bleaching agents to keep the foam white, but that does not improve their boards. Fatum focuses on providing the best possible board for every surfer.