The most popular surfboard in America is a foam surfboard.
Costco’s Wavestorm has become the most popular surfboard, according to Bloomberg, selling more than half a million annually.
It’s easy to see why.
The boards cost $99, which is a third of the price of competitors and a fraction of the cost of a regular board.
Costco also has a policy that allows customers to return their broken foam boards for a full refund.
The brand that produces them, AGIT Global, sells five times more boards annually than the largest surfboard brands, Bloomberg reported.
Vice President of AGIT Global, Matt Zilinskas got his start at Wham-O, where he managed Boogie Boards. He took his idea for the Wavestorm to a Taiwanese businessman and began producing the boards in 2007.
Zilinskas said selling with the big box chain is imperative to the brand’s success.
“We don’t want to mess around collecting money from little surf shops and sporting goods stores,” he told Bloomberg. “Margins are slim at Costco, but we pump out volume and get paid on time.”
Costco has other Wavestorm products, but the 8-foot foam top accounts for 90 percent of sales.
The boards have sparked the age-old debate of corporate America coming in and out pricing mom-and-pop stores, or in this case, shapers.
Yet Zilinskas said the boards serve as a gateway into the sport, arguing that many people who start on a Wavestorm, go onto buy nicer and more expensive hand-shaped boards. At tradeshows, when people have some choice words for Zilinskas, his response is ready.
“I tell them, ‘How many of the hundreds of thousands of people who bought our board have moved on to higher-end product?’ Ask any surfer in the water about Wavestorm. They probably own one,” he told Bloomberg.