P: Ha, nice. When you came out here did you have any mentors?
M: Yea, yea I built boards, I learned how to build surfboards in the mid 70’s, I traveled around a lot went to Central America and stayed down there for long periods and then came back. My friend at PureFun surfboards was building boards. He taught me how to sand and glass, I started being a sander and glasser and then I started working in 1976 with Gary Linden. I worked with him for many many years building. First it was at Brewer, then Gary started Linden Surfboards and I was the first sander at Linden Surfboards. Stayed there for years, I did that for a long time, like ten years I was a production sander, sanded for everybody, Nectar and all these other people, did a lot of glassing and all that. When I started having kids I went to work construction but I didn’t like that and went back into the Surf industry since I knew everybody and grew up with these guys cuz I came out when I was young enough. Then we started Stay Covered, I started making board bags, I did that before and then my wife started making them, and we just built a business around that since she wanted to stay home, sew in the garage and raise the kids. And that’s how the company Stay Covered evolved.
Toresen Durkan @ Peahi
P: Yes! And you now have a solid range of gear and accessories, traction pads, travel board bags, and even a surf wax?
M: Yes, we have a really good wax.
P: I tried it out recently.
M: What’d you think?
P: It’s good, it works really well.
M: Yea, well same guy that makes yours, makes ours, the Famous guys. And he puts really quality ingredients in it I think that makes a big difference. We’re real stoked with it, real excited about it.
P: And then leashes are the mainstay product of yours?
Sewing the ankle collars in house.
M: Yea leashes have always been our bread and butter. Especially now, I started in the late 80s, and all through the 90s. There were quite a few American companies, Dakine was made in Oregon, and a lot of others were made in Southern California. And then as the whole manufacturing industry changed and moved to China, all the leashes moved over to China. They’re all made in China now. So within the last ten years because of the handwork that we do on our leashes, we have a real captivating audience, especially the big wave guys. Like if you go out at Jaws, Waimea or Mavericks. More than half the guys have my hand tied leashes now. We make real thick, handtied, real strong leashes.
Nic Lamb @ peahi
Aleks: Mark how do you source the strongest urethane- Jamie told me the urethane you use comes from a drip irrigation plant- how does this differ from other leash brands?
M: In the beginning I was trying out all kinds of cord and was finding a lot with weak points, caused by bubbles and other inconsistencies. I started asking all around for another extruder with the best product, this was in the 80s when there was still a lot of manufacturing going here in the US. I found the “guy”, a local guy here in Oceanside, the majority of his business was making hollow tubing for irrigation for landscaping, but with his reputation for making the best quality cord he started producing cord for a number of surf brands. Most of those brands have gone overseas to cut costs, so surfing is a small part of his current business. I’m stoked to still be one of the few surfing companies that work with him, his cord is strong and best of all local!
Oodles and oodles of strong colorful urethane cord.
P: And they’ve been hand tied from the beginning?