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Made In Hawaii: T&C surfboards - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Made In Hawaii: T&C surfboards

HONOLULU -

Monster waves are made in Hawaii and the boards surfers use out there are, too.

"It's the sport of kings, you know.  It's Hawaii's original sport," said Town & Country shaper Glenn Pang.

Pang has been shaping surfboards for Town & Country, or T&C, for the last 40 years.  Chances are, if you've seen the professionals out on those waves, you've seen his work.

The technology has changed dramatically.  But, nothing can replace that human touch.

When Pang is pau, the board heads to Larry Yepes' glass shop just next door.

"When you cut, you want to keep it as straight as you can.  Go with the board. This is the strength of the board right here," said Yepes.

He's perfected this technique over decades of practice.  He makes it look easy...but this takes incredible precision. 

Hang out here, and it's easy to see that while the work is hard, these guys thrive on it.  It's that passion that started T&C in 1971.

"The first shop was an old barbershop, and it was a small little store.  His shaping room and glass shop was right behind. And it was just a hole in the wall," said Ryan Sugihara.

Sugihara's dad, Craig, founded Town & Country Surf Shop in Pearl City because he loved surfing and loved making boards.  The name and the logo are a reflection of philosophy and location.
 
And work he did, taking the company from that old barbershop to seven stores across Oahu today, they've branched out into clothing and other merchandise.  But surfing, and the boards, are the core of this brand.

Board making has now sprung up overseas.  Many of the surfboards you see out on the water are made in China.  But for T&C, Haleiwa is where it's at.

"A lot of manufacturers overseas don't even surf. So they're making boards, you know.  It's just a job for them. They actually don't have experience with the customer.  They probably have never been to a beach where they're waves," said Pang.

T&C employs 170 people and even more around the holidays, including Sugihara, who worked his way up from stock boy to running much of the operation. 

"I'm excited to go to work everyday, you know, and be a part of this," said Sugihara.

Sugihara calls that excitement "the stoke."  He says surfing brings it out of you. He saw it in his own son at a recent surf event for keiki.

"He gets this little prize, maybe a trophy about this big, and you just see in his eyes. His eyes light up and he has this big smile on his face, and that's that stoke, that excitement, you know, that the kid, my own son that I see.  That's the kind of stoke that we're talking about," said Sugihara.  "Even our T-shirts say, 'Stay stoked,' you know.  It's that stoke of surfing and being a part of our culture and our lifestyle in Hawaii."