When Clark Foam, the world’s leading manufacturer of surfboard blanks, shut down in December, the surf world was left wondering where the shaping industry would get its blanks and why Grubby Clark, the owner of the company, shut down his business.

Many of those questions were answered for the first time in a piece this month in The New Yorker titled “Black Monday: Could Grubby Clark destroy surfing?”

The article says that Clark shut down his factory after a conversation he had with a friend about crackdowns from the Environmental Protection Agency. It says that after the conversation:

Clark flew back to California. He brooded all weekend, according to a friend. On Monday morning, December 5th, he went into Clark Foam and approached the first worker he saw pouring foam into a mold. “That’s it,” he said. “That’s the last foam we pour.”

The story quotes Tim Bessell, a shaper from La Jolla who talks about the impact that “Blank Monday” had on his business.

Bessell, who has been shaping for thirty years, had his worst quarterly loss in fifteen years during the first three months of 2006, and his second quarter was just as bad.

The article isn’t available online, but it’s a good read if you can get your hands on the magazine.

SAM HODGSON

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