Surfing has a lot of competition these days when it comes to capturing the attention of kids. Video games, skateboarding, snowboarding, the bat-and-ball sports — every one of these could be viewed as an obstacle to getting the next generation stoked on surfing. While we can’t entirely change what kids are interested in, we can do everything possible to get the right equipment into the hands of young, beginner surfers. And Surf Life, a new company based in Manhattan Beach, California, thinks it has a solution.
Schooled in material science, Surf Life Founder Matthew Murasko recognized that young kids didn’t have many choices when they were choosing their first board. “From my previous work with Buzzy Kerbox and his surfing school in Malibu, I realized that the boards available for kids to learn on were just not appropriate,” he says. “A single fin longboard is the best board to learn on, and there weren’t any available in kid-friendly designs or prices.”
Approaching the idea from the technical side, Murasko first looked at what types of foam were available for beginner boards and decided to start from scratch. What he came up with was Durafoam — a compression-molded closed-cell polymer that will not absorb water even if it is dinged or dented. Encased in this foam is an internal wood stringer that gives the polymer blank the type of stiffness not found in the old-school soft-foam Doyles.
With a new material developed, Murasko went to work developing a template with Becker Surfboards Shaper Matt Calvani. Enlisting the help of a pediatrician, Murasko researched the average size of kids aged seven to eleven to determine what the best specs for a youth longboard would be. From here the six-foot, four-inch Malibu Surfrider was born. Calvani built a fiberglass board to Murasko’s specifications, which was then used to build a production mold for the Durafoam boards.
Currently, Murasko is able to make one board every five minutes in his So Cal facility and has a distribution warehouse on both the East and West Coasts. Since the company’s inception in January, Surf Life has manufactured and sold over 800 boards worldwide. The board wholesales for just 115 dollars and are packaged to include a leash, wax, and a semi-flexible Jelly Fin that doesn’t have any sharp edges. The Malibu Surfrider retails for 189 dollars and comes with a year guarantee against breakage. One-and-a-half percent of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation.
With negotiations underway with a variety of distributors worldwide and a free booth in the Dupont “Brand New” section at Summer ISPO in Munich, Germany, Surf Life seems to have found itself a niche in the beginner-board market. If all goes well, Murasko plans to add a second board to the line for adults. Until then, the Malibu Surfrider is rated for kids under 110 pounds and just might be the key to getting more surf-stoked kids in water — and in your shop.