If you asked me back in May how the summer was shaping up, I would have said that our plates were pretty full. Along with a long list of custom boards and kits to get out the door, we had packed the summer months with weeklong classes, Board Blitzes, Fantasy camps, guest shaper classes, movie nights, events, demos and more. We knew the fall would be just as busy with our first ever West Coast class, put on with the support of Sustainable Surf and the San Francisco Chapter of Surfrider, plus Sacred Craft in Southern California.
We know we have a disorder though. We have a very hard time saying no to opportunites. It can be viewed as a real problem, however at the same time, I really think it's a symptom of simply loving what we do and wanting to do more of it. Everyone says being busy is good, especially in this economy, so I guess this means the summer of 2011 will go down as the busiest and happiest on record.
About 6 weeks ago, we received a call from Discovery Communications. They were planning a special event for producers and were hoping to give a custom board to everyone attending the evening event. The reception was just three days before the premiere of Discovery Channel's Shark Week and the perfect gift to celebrate the week. Sounds amazing I thought, but how many people were they expecting and when's the event? Somewhere around 100 people and in about a month was the answer. Holy Crap. As soon as I hung up the phone I ran back into the shop and announced to the gang that we might have some serious work ahead of us. We gave it some thought and bounced around ideas, and concluded the only board that we could produce in those numbers and on that timeline was the Sea Sled, and even a modified version of that. Luckily for us, it was exactly the one they had in mind.
Within hours, we went about planning out the job, ordering more wood (and sharpening our saw blades), pulling in some good friends who are skilled in the ways of the spokeshave, and basically rallying the troops. While our custom boards are built one at a time by one builder who sees it through start to finish, we knew that this job would require a production line type process. Mill planks, glue up panel, sand, add side runners, cut outline, shape, and so on. We worked in batches of 10 each day, 30 per week; we were a well oiled machine.
All in all we made 125 Sleds for the Discovery Channel, each one from local cedar, hand glued, shaped, sanded and branded, in just over 7 weeks. And I couldn't be happier or more thankful to our amazing crew here at the shop. That's a job I think we'll all be telling our grandkids about.