Pro big wave surfing legend Dylan Longbottom and master craftsman Cheyne Lloyd-Sumner are turning out internationally sought-after surfboards at Port Kembla.
Creative Laminating Surfboards is the first surfboard factory in Port Kembla since the 1960’s.
The site was chosen because of its size and the central location for surfing in the Illawarra.
Read more: Dylan's risky work for Point Break remake
Longbottom has been living in Bali but is starting to spend more time in Port Kembla where Lloyd-Sumner has set up the new factory on Military Road.
“Me and Cheyne have been working together for six years,” he said. “We were in North Wollongong. Cheyne has moved and I am travelling around the world shaping now. I get all my boards made here at Cheyne’s factory”.
In the process the globally renowned boards are providing opportunities for an emerging generation of skilled craftsmen who are learning their trade from the best.
Read more:Dylan Longbottom's wave of a lifetime
Kurt Lovegrove and Jack McCosker are now as good at what they do as anyone in Australia but eager to keep developing their talent.
‘It is so good to come to Port Kembla and be the near some of the legends from here such as Paul ‘Dirty Face’ Brooks,” Longbottom said.
Brooks manufactured boards himself in Warrawong until 1967 and said it was so good to see a manufacturer back in Port Kembla after half a century.
“I built 420 boards and then gave it away. I didn’t like work so I went surfing,” he said.
Lloyd-Sumner said the new factory on Military Road was in a great location and had plenty of room to grow the business.
He now flies to and from Bali once a month and visits many other countries as well.
He has recently been to Portugal and is just about to travel to Japan with his daughter Summa Longbottom, 14, who is competing on the world’s qualifying circuit for women.
She is about to compete in the White Buffalo Pro.
“This (Port Kembla) is my Australian base and all my boards out of Australia come out of this factory,” Longbottom said.
“I am making around 500 boards a year. That is just my brand. And then you have got Cheyne’s brand which is up around there too.”
Read more: Point Break remake: Dylan scores dream role
Lloyd-Sumner said the industry was constantly evolving and what surfers wanted was becoming more diverse. So keeping up with the demand was always a challenge.
But it is a challenge his team loves because they always like pushing the boundaries and being at the cutting edge of board design and construction.
Read More: Fanning adds weight to Longbottom fundraiser
“We make boards in the style surfers are looking for and to what their ability is,” he said.
Longbottom said the big wave boards for international surfers were also made at Port Kembla. “Then you have beginners boards and we are making pro boards. We are doing it for everyone”.
I am making around 500 boards a year. That is just my brand. And then you have got Cheyne’s brand which is up around there too.Dylan Longbottom
Lloyd-Sumner said the next addition at the factory will be stand-up paddleboards. He has a team of five in an industry where there is a limited number of workers which such skills. He said his employees were at the level where he is now in now able to work more on promoting the business.
Read more: Kiama surfer breaks neck off Sumatra