On an early Wednesday morning, Signal Snowboards employee Stephen Rezendes applies a coat of epoxy resin to the board he's building, getting a head start for the company's 2013-14 season.
Gliding the scraper from nose to tail, Rezendes efficiently spreads the resin around, applies a sheet of triaxial fiberglass and another coat of the adhesive.
"We're getting ready to start production, which starts May 1," marketing director Marc Wierenga said. "We'll build from [then] all the way to October to ship throughout the world."
Signal could be considered a rookie in an industry filled with big-name companies like Burton or Lib Tech. But in just 10 years, the Huntington Beach business that handcrafts and ships their products from its factory has gained traction in the market.
Wierenga said the company sold about 10,000 snowboards last season, he said.
"It's a slow growth for us because we don't go necessarily to big box stores like Sport Chalet," he said. "We've typically stayed in a lot of the more core-demographic stores, so we're not going after the massive growth there, but the brand itself continues to grow."
Signal started when former professional snowboarder and founder Dave Lee wanted to start his own company in 2004. The problem was Lee didn't have a factory, Wierenga said.
At the same time, Wierenga and his factory were in Huntington Beach and said he was tired of building boards for other companies that didn't have a clear vision.
After meeting with Lee and his art director Kellie Talbot Wierenga took a chance with them and hasn't looked back since.
"We all just clicked together really well," Wierenga said. "We all saw a vision that aligned and [Talbot] and [Lee] were all about manufacturing here in the U.S. and I wanted to work with people with a similar vision."
There are many ways for a snowboard company to expand its name. There's having team riders film video parts for movies, entering competitions and connecting with consumers through social media.
But Signal has taken it a step further with their Every Third Thursday videos on YouTube. Every month since 2010, the staff at Signal has come up with an idea for a new snowboard, but they're far from ordinary.
The first Every Third Thursday board made was constructed by using vinyl records as the top of the board with the next board being made entirely of wood.
Now there's one made out of glass, a surfboard you can take to the mountains, another with built-in speakers and even one with a paintball marker mounted on it.
"We do them every month, so it's not like we have a lot of time to [come up with ideas]. We just have to make them work," Wierenga said. "It's not like we have a whole engineering team going, 'Let's calculate the stress analysis of this and that.' We just go for it."
Jeb Ferria, engineer and floor manager for Signal, said he's always surprised with the ideas that Lee or Wierenga pitch to him.
"There were plenty of times where I told them this isn't going to work," Ferria said. "I amaze myself that we made things work."
Ferria said he was blown away when they built a snowboard with a karaoke player and screen mounted in the center of the board.
"There's never a dull moment," he said. "I've gotten to the point where [Wierenga] or [Lee] will come to me with an idea like, 'Let's put a motor on the back of the board so we can go up a mountain or let's make the board transform into a grill.'"
Building these one-off boards hasn't been for naught. With every radical board they make, Wierenga said they've learned new methods or ways to build their products for consumers.
Signal's Epic series of snowboards were based off the board they made for snowboarding legend Terry Kidwell. It incorporates swallowtail tip and a directional shape found in 1980s boards, but is manufactured by using the current industry methods.
Signal is wrapping up their third season of Every Third Thursday and is currently in the works for their upcoming fourth season.
When asked if they had something exciting for next season, Wierenga simply said, "Maybe the one we're sending to the moon."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times