Joel Zemenick inside new facility
Joel Zemenick of JZ Surfboards poses in his new Princeton facility on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Adam Pardee / Review

The inside of JZ Surfboards’ new home is awash with color. Inside the dark gray facade of the Princeton warehouse, a purple longboard dries on racks, while a dozen other boards across the color spectrum wait their turn. In the shaping rooms upstairs, a deep blue hue encompasses walls and ceiling.

Joel Zemenick has been shaping and glassing surfboards up and down the California coast for more than 25 years. For the past seven, Zemenick, ran his business out of three shipping containers in Princeton. Tired of “bursting at the seams,” Zemenick and his team are excited to move their operation into a 1,400-square-foot two-story warehouse in Princeton.

Zemenick began glassing under his label in 1997 and official launched the brand in 2003.

While he’s still making the final touches on the new location, he’s open for business and is making use of the three new glassing racks, shaping and sanding rooms. When the paint is finally dry, Zemenick and his team of shapers and glassers will have a one-stop-shop surfboard factory, complete with full-scale laminating production and international shipping. When things are fully functional, he estimates they’ll produce 50 to 60 boards a month.

Zemenick’s shaping approach combines both modern and traditional techniques. He can use a computer and plug in dimensions and have the board shaped automatically. But he is also adept at shaping with hand tools and fine-tuning designs based on customer preference.

Andi Cummings, Zemenick’s girlfriend who handles sales and marketing, explained that because of demand during the pandemic, the company’s supply chain was disrupted in 2020. It was hard to get fiberglass and chemical compounds for foam.

Surfboard in the works
A surfboard sits on a stand as it dries from a fresh coat of paint at JZ Surfboard's new factory in Princeton on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Adam Pardee / Review

“We were blessed a lot of the community got involved,” Cummings said of the team of contractors, painters, artists and shapers who worked to get the warehouse up and running. That team began renovating the warehouse in October. One of the main priorities was installing a robust ventilation system throughout the building, so shapers would not breathe in foam particles, and glassers could be safe from the toxic chemicals.

“Ventilation is everything in this business,” Zemenick said, who also has contracts to glass boards from shapers across the Bay Area.

Apart from proper circulation, Zemenick has a sustainable and environmentally conscious design on his mind while renovating the warehouse. Sections of the building have reclaimed wood and the team reuses leftover resin in furniture and jewelry.

Zemenick, like many shapers last year, witnessed growth in both surfboard sales and in the shaping industry. Zemenick noted the outdoor industry, in general, has been booming during the pandemic as people look for safe recreation options. The rapid increase in demand led to backorders on boards and shaping supplies across the world, from massive brands based in Hawaii and Australia to smaller shops in coastal U.S. states.

“It’s just been an explosion,” Zemenick said. “It’s been one of the craziest years.”

To learn more about JZ Surfboards, visits jzsurfboards.com.

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