Blank pioneer Harold Walker may have turned out the lights at Walker Foam, but he wasn’t ready to pack it in. Moments later, he joined up with foam innovator Ice-9 to help them develop supercharged versions of the TDI foams that he formulated at his famous shop starting nearly 50 years ago. Walker helped spearhead the foam blank industry and now is aiding and abetting the foam vanguard as they create new, successful products for the high-performance surfboard market.
Walker Foam – Clark Foam’s historical predecessor – enjoyed a very loyal clientele throughout the decades. This kind of loyalty is a thing that is difficult to inspire and important to pass on, in the view of Ice-9 founder and self-declared Lonely Tyrant Jon Stillman. And Walker’s deep knowledge and experience is not something to be thrown overboard just because that’s what’s going on these days.
“I have great respect for Walker’s contributions to surfing,” Stillman says, “especially when it comes to the manufacture of commercially viable foam formulations and the fact that he helped usher in the Foam Age. The way I see it, by marrying Harold’s incredible experience and knowledge with our updated processing and engineering, we can create the ultimate shaper’s foam. Wouldn’t it be cool to see the traditional formulas that served surfing for decades intensified by 21st century technology?”
Walker concurs. “I’m pleased to announce that Ice-Nine has contracted with me to supply them and consult on production of the Walker Foam blank formulas,” he says. “These are the Original formula, the New formula, the Colored Foam formula, and the High Density Foam formula. I very much admire Ice-Nine’s aggressive pursuit of advanced technology in Eco-friendly foam, molding and gluing techniques, and foam mixing procedures.”
Those who have followed Ice-9 since its inception may note that the partnership is a departure from the company’s original “MDI-only” path. But it plans to implement chemical industry “best practices” and engineering controls to assure that the TDI poses no threat to shapers, surfers, or its employees. And, adds Stillman, “by including one of the historic foam formulations in our line-up, we are creating a bridge between surfing’s past and future.”
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