If you don’t live in Southern California, you might not have heard of the city of Costa Mesa. It’s often overshadowed by neighboring Newport Beach or Huntington Beach, yet Costa Mesa has played a pivotal role in board building and therefore the surf industry at large. And much of that board building history can be traced back to one single building. If you wander through that building today, you’ll see dozens of boards from a variety of top shapers. It’s business as usual, as it has been for 30 years. Boards that have gone on to win ASP events have been through the factory as have boards that you and your friends likely ride. We sat with Eric Scheafer to learn about the history and business of PureGlass.
US Blanks: Tell me about the surf culture and history here in Costa Mesa.
Pure Glass: Well, the industry basically started in Costa Mesa. A lot of the big companies, Hurley, Quiksilver, Volcom, they all came from Costa Mesa. And a lot of them actually worked in this specific factory. Bob Hurley worked here making surfboards. DK and all the Volcom guys got boards here. The whole Echo Beach movement was all out of this factory.
Pure Glass: The factory has been a fiberglass and resin factory for 40 or 50 years. It was a boat factory and then automotive repair and then Lance Collins made sailboards and fins, so all the permitting was grandfathered down to us. Jim (Chalupnik) purchased it 7 years ago and turned it into PureGlass.
US Blanks: What was the focus of the business at the time?
Pure Glass: We just wanted to be a user-friendly shop. I think that the 80’s evolution of board building and surf shops was a little less friendly to new comers, so our goal to be open to everyone and focus on education and customer service. We started with a focus on glassing, but have evolved into a full production manufacturing facility. We sell foam blanks, rent out shaping rooms, we laminate, glass and finish the boards and we also have a retail store that sells fins, leashes, traction, board bags, etc. Basically, we provide everything you need from the foam to the water. And we have professionals who can make the board for you, or you can come in and shape it yourself.
US Blanks: What is the percentage of “home board builders” versus professional shapers?
Pure Glass: We do have “home board builders” come in and rent a room and shape their own boards, but the far greater percentage of our business caters to professional shapers. John Carper (JC Hawai’i) rents space here, Darren Handley (DHD), John Pyzel, Hayden Shapes. Dano rents space. Rocky McKinnon has space here. We do a lot work with J7, Roberts and Pesce, as well. And then we also have a 3DM Cut machine . We get files from shapers all over the world and we cut their blanks here using US Blanks foam and then hand-shaped them to their final specifications.
Pure Glass: Honestly, it hasn’t always been easy to find a consistent foam source. But US Blanks has been reliable since day one. An order that might take another company 3 months to fulfill, US Blanks fulfills within 1 week. We’ve never had an issue. Sometimes I’ll be in a rush, but I can get orders from them within days. The foam is consistent. It’s white. It’s light. It’s strong. It glasses really well, cuts really well, shapes really well. Everyone I know is stoked on it. As far as US Blanks goes, we’re stoked.
US Blanks: That’s great to hear. Is there anything else you’d like to let people know?
Pure Glass: Well the shop is open 9-5pm Monday through Friday and Saturday’s 11-3pm. I encourage people to stop in to grab wax or a free copy of Ghetto Juice Magazine just to see what we’re all about. We have finished boards available for sale, or of course custom shapes. Swing by and we’ll give you a tour!
Visit PureGlass.com for more details.
In house shapers and boards being glassed at PureGlass include such notables as:
among many others