Surfboards and mountain bike companies: Businesses skyrocketing during COVID-19

Cole Simler, owner of Cole Surfboards, in his shaping bay in the early processes of creating a surfboard. Jason Watkins/Triton Times

By: Owen Simler | Writer

September 27, 2020

Amidst the pandemic, everyone has started some type of new activity, most likely outside. Outdoor businesses have exploded with sales during the COVID-19 shutdown due to resulting additional downtime, and many have picked up new outdoor hobbies such as surfing and mountain biking. 

“There’s been loads of new surfers,” sophomore Dax McPhilips said. “The beaches never closed, and since there isn’t any school or work, everyone wanted to try it.”  Dax McPhilips is a sponsored surfer who has ridden surfboards for nearly his entire life. 

Over the past few years, the surfboard industry has been in a decline because of businesses outsourcing in China and Mexico. Due to the massive amount of cheap surfboards shipped into the US, many local shapers were undercut and struggled to stay afloat. 

Once stimulus checks hit, the tables turned for those in the surfboard businesses. Since trade between the US and China was completely disrupted a few months ago, the supply chain of surfboards had been completely shut down. This allowed smaller businesses to thrive, with a huge influx of paying customers excited to get boards, not caring that they were more expensive than the mass-produced boards from China. 

Boards were ripped off racks as people were eager to get out into the water and surf. “I literally had the best sales I have ever had since I began shaping 32 years ago,” said Cole Simler, owner of Cole Surfboards. 

Simler is shocked that his business has been doing so well while others have been doing so poorly. Another business that has been raking in sales is the mountain bike industry, as mountain biking offers wide open trails with no one near for miles.   

Just like surfing, there was a huge increase in mountain bikers as soon as quarantine started.

Zach Howard, a Senior at San Clemente High School, soars through the sky at common local mountain bike park, Mansions. Photo courtesy of Zach Howard

“I’ve never seen so many people in the hills,” Senior Zach Howard said. “At the start of quarantine, it was insane!” Zach Howard has ridden mountain bikes for almost five years, and he is sponsored for mountain bike riding.

Just like with major surfboard companies, mountain bikes are mass produced in China before being shipped to the US. At the same time as the surfboard industry shift, the supply chain for bikes broke down, causing a huge spike in demand. When they finally became available, they were instantly selling out. 

Chase Brady is a warehouse manager at YT, one of the most reputable mountain bike companies. 

“Mountain bike sales have been unbelievable lately,” Chase said. “It is one of those things we are still able to do and can get you a good workout outside of the house.” 

Chase goes on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic helped him sell the most mountain bikes he has ever sold. Since one can go to the gym for the time being, thousands of people decided to fill their need for physical activity by taking up mountain biking.

While the surfboard and mountain bike businesses are reporting record sales, they aren’t the only ones. Almost all exercise, outdoor activity, and gardening businesses are doing very well right now. As Americans have been looking for ways to spend their days, they have strayed away from their homes and ventured into the outdoors to find enjoyment in a bleak time. 

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