DATE 5 September 2017
ECT’s Commerce Place will enable a rising Gisborne business to service the global surf craft market while retaining its manufacturing base in the region.
Sonic Surfcraft has recently moved into an expanded unit at Commerce place and, in doing so, is one step closer to its goal of becoming a dominant force in surf craft manufacture.
Sonic Surfcraft has been manufacturing rescue and race boards for eight years, first from a small Gisborne shed, before moving to a workshop in Lytton Rd. In that time, they have developed a name for themselves as one of the leading manufacturers of surf lifesaving equipment.
“We have a massive vision for our company. We’ve worked hard to build the brand. We’ve identified opportunities for diversification and growth, and have an eye on a bigger share of the export market. We also understand the value of the Gisborne brand, and our biggest concern has been maintaining our manufacturing base here,” says Sonic Surfcraft managing director Matt Sutton.
Before working with ECT, a lack of options forced Sonic to consider supplementing its operation with offshore manufacturing facilities, including those in China.
“We couldn’t grow the way we wanted to and really felt like we were battling. But with ECT’s support, we will retain our manufacturing base here in Gisborne. We have a great facility that will grow as we do, we can create local jobs, and continue to support a local industry that has given us so much,” he says.
“Gisborne has a proud history in the design and manufacture of surf craft. And several successful watercraft businesses operating from our part of the world. Our region has a natural fit with the industry, and it’s an industry that’s growing,” say ECT’s new CEO Gavin Murphy.
According to a recent Surfing NZ survey, one New Zealander in 27 participates in a surf related activity. While Surf Lifesaving NZ statistics show 17,000 of us belong to a local surf lifesaving club.
But it’s the export potential that the local sector is and should be focused on, he says.
“On the global stage, the wider surfing industry is projected to reach $9.5 billion by 2022, driven by growing interest in surfing as a lifestyle sport, technology innovations in high performance surf craft, and demand for hybrid and uniquely shaped boards. It’s countries like the US and Australia that are creating the demand. And, while there’s plenty of big players in the game, companies like Sonic have the potential to benefit – if we can create the right environment for growth,” he says.
While the arrangement between the two is a commercial one, ECT’s in-house Project Manager worked closely with Sonic, leading the consent and construction process, so that they could focus on their existing business operations.
ECT bought Commerce Place in 2012 with a view to supporting and attracting growing businesses that leverage our unique assets. Mr Murphy says Sonic’s shift to the site is the beginning of great things for Sonic and Commerce Place.