What does Swaylock's need?

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newschoolblue's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004

Mike,

I just wanted to ask that if you do decide you need to pull the plug, please just give us enough warning that we can save info and say our goodbyes.

Thanks again for everything.

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thrailkill's picture
Joined: 05/07/2004

Rather than ''pull the plug''  perhaps ''sell the plug'' is a better answer for all concerned.     You think?

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Bill Thrailkill SHAPER SINCE 1958
llilibel03's picture
Joined: 04/21/2005

SOS  Save our Swaylocks

I have to admit I haven't been on as much as in the past.  I never experienced any of the hate mentioned because I'll tend to just walk away from such situations.  The reason I've been mostly absent is because I had settled on a build method (Greg Leohr's "timberflex") and so most of my questions were answered.  Then, recently, I came upon an EPS shortage  and couldn't get the blanks I wanted, so my build method had to adapt and all of a sudden I had unanswered questions again. Where did I go for answers? Swaylocks.

SWAYLOCKS has always been, for me, the very best place to get real board building questions answered.  The SurferMag Design Forum is interesting, but it's all about the newest model from LOST or CI or Sharpeye, etc.,etc., etc..  It is not about building boards.  I am so thankful for this place as a sounding board for ideas. I miss the heady days after Bert Burger's "vacuum bagging thread." I also miss the contributions of Greg Leohr.  I'm guessing many board builders were probably lurking here and getting R+D info.

I hope the site stays alive, because, like I said, it's the greatest board building resource I know of.

I'm sorry I can't help with ideas to improve.  I'm an absolute zero when it comes to marketing and tech. Only thing that comes to mind is reaching out to suppliers and have a "store,"  a kind of surf building shopping mall. Or just a plain old on line surf shop. You allow vendors to sell t-shirts, and leashes and wax, or whatever. Swaylocks gets a percentage. Also, I woudn't mind paying a percentage if I sold a board in the surfshop section. Unfortunately board builders might not want to support the homegrown industry. I remember ET Surfboards in Hermosa Beach began selling board building supplies in the 70's and got flack from the local board builders. He even got fire bombed. Very interesting articale about backyard board building- 

https://easyreadernews.com/et-surf-celebrates-45-years-stoking-bay-surfe...

Also I don't know how other sites do it, but if you post the most recent video clips on a regular basis (especially the ones about board building) , I wouild be likely to keep returning to watch. That way you also always have a flashy image on page one.

PS- Hey Everysurfer, we were up and down the Coast the week before Swayholics.  I reached out and Swied told me the dates but we had just passed through. I'm sorry I missed it. Who else was there?  John Mellor?  Stingray?  Keith Melville? Chris P?  I haven't been in years because of work, but now I'm retired and can do it. We have to hook up.  We will be in Ventura Sept 19-21 with the Sr. Patos at Hobsons if you can make it down.

PPS- I'm starting a new build next week and will start a good old fashioned build thread.  In fact today I'm going to start a couple threads with questions concerning the new build.

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everysurfer's picture
Joined: 09/20/2008

Hey llilibel, I live just up the road from Hobson!  Pm me your number!

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unclegrumpy's picture
Joined: 09/16/2006

                                    LONG LIVE SWAYLOCK'S! 

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No; It's not an ironing board.

mako224's picture
Joined: 12/26/2005

I wonder if the webpage ads are so over the top that it drives people away from web forums like this one.  Without adblockers the site loads incredibly slowly and the page is a mess.   I realize the ads generate a little bit of revenue but I wonder if the ads are actually counterproductive to the health of a web community that needs people to visit and post content. Here is what I get if I turn off ad-blocking.  I literally get three topics that have stickies and whatever topic is at the top until I scroll down.  Other than that the whole page is nothing but ads.  Imagine a new visitor hitting this forum and running into that.  How far are they going before they click out or move on to some other website.

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gdaddy's picture
Joined: 10/31/2008

I might be getting it all wrong, but I don't think the ads deter anyone who has an interest in this material.  With the rise of the machine the interest in handshaping is in decline (IMO).  It wasn't so many years ago that the machine operators only dealt with the professionals, not hobbyists.   

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fishnsurfn's picture
Joined: 04/10/2010

There is still alot to consider before a machine cut; then there's glass, fins, etc. 

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jeffrey's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Mike, I would just like to say thanks.

When I signed on 18 years ago I was just expanding into building as a "pro" and I loved it. Met some great people both online and off, and learned a ton.  Then kids, economics, and mostly a crazy skin cancer combination that reacted like wildfire to exposure to resin, acetone, styrene, PU dust.... you get the idea. Board building became, for me, limited to a balsa every couple of years that a friend and longtime glasser handles.

My own disconnect was pretty much based on that - not much to contribute as a non-active builder and the questions I felt I could answer in a significant way dropped off as well.

As far as keeping the site going - it's a lovely idea and a lot of us really appreciate all the time and effort you've put into it. But I can't think of a way that would generate enough income (admittedly I am clueless about internet finance issues) in the current context. People like, overall, crap content for free over meaningful content with any sacrifice, it seems. Even the "feed" format has become so ingrained that I hear people complaining about "static" websites where you don't have a constant flow of micro-bits of information with lots of pictures.

I know that doesn't help much, so I'll second what Paul said - do whatever makes you happy at this point.

In any case, thanks again for being a big part of my personal forray into board building. It was a neat time.

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wouter's picture
Joined: 04/23/2004

For me,,,

Easy to use app. This site is horrible in its use on my phone. 

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McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

I remember thinking to myself way back when I first came around here, that you could eventually exhaust all information,tricks,methods, process and even "New" info on shaping and glassing surfboards on a public Internet forum in about four years(probably considerably less).  And I was right.   It's gone on longer mostly because of some new technology, discussion, disagreement, opinion and misinformation.  Everything a "Newbie" would need to know is in the Archives. I may appear to be a "know it all "to some, but I am not.  I occasionally need to double check something or research something I don't know much about.  Use of a material that I may not be familiar with.  An example a couple of years ago was "Scaling".  Benefited from info that Stonbreaker and others took the time to patiently share.  The way it is now is about as far as I believe it can go.  You can change it up.  Charge a membership fee. More adds etc.  But I don't know that such a direction would be an improvement.  If you can figure out away too leave it as is, you're probably just as well off.   Would hate to see all the info and back and forth just disappear, but honestly Swaylocks has probably run its course.  So other than just checking in once in awhile to see who's around and contribute a little to help someone who's too lazy to use extensive archives, that's pretty much it for me.    My 2 cents.

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That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

lcc's picture
lcc
Joined: 04/24/2008

thnx for having done this,.

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

A lot has changed in this social media post pandemic world, countless businesses & websites have disappeared, but Swaylocks is still here, the site has an active visitor base, always current topics and threads.

Yes it has fallen from the level of vibrancy it once had, but IMO it stands alone in this category (surfboard  design and building forum) and has great potential with the right management.

I have contributed the best I could within my circumstances, but really I count myself privileged to be here among the really talented, experienced, creative minds that frequent the site.

If it goes down it will be a loss to this community, but the world turns on a dollar, I get that, so the focus on saving it has to be on money - generating income. I know there are people who can help with this, I hope you find the right people & the right path to success. 
 

Regardless of what happens from here, you can be proud of what you did.

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McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

Good comments Huck.  And the last sentence is especially true.  Thank you Mike.

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That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

newschoolblue's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004

Amen.

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Rnoll98's picture
Joined: 03/16/2021

Hi guys,

Finished reading all the posts above. I'm new here, been paddling all my life, but only building boards for about a year now, completed three, surf them all, love doing it and plan to continue. This site has been incredibly valuable to me. Folks here have also been very helpful. If I have a question I just come search here. I've been very active and moderated on other forums (mostly cars) in the past. Here are some observations:

  • I would happily post my builds in detail. I haven't partially because I'm not sure I have anything new to say. I use AKUshaper and have my blanks cut by a local shop. From there I do everything myself in my garage. But even then I don't want to deal with (what I think will be) people telling me I'm shortcutting or cheating or soulless or whatever. And I understand that sentiment. I was an architecture major in the early 90s. I drew houses with a pencil. CAD ruined it for me. How many architects use pencils now?
  • Shaping is changing. So is people's attention span and patience. The idea that I'd shape 10 boards all slightly different and ride each one to learn isn't realistic. Nowadays I'd buy/borrow a used board, ride it, trade it or sell it, and get another, take measurements and notes off each one, and learn that way. If I have $600 to my name I can do this indefinitely and pretty much ride every board out there. How do we support THAT way of learning? Discuss modern board shapes and what makes them tick. Someone go deconstruct firewire's lineup and tell us what makes a board feel or perform a certain way. Take away the "magic" and the backyard/local up and coming shapers will become more effective and successful. Don't suggest they toil away for decades to learn. I think I'm the only one who's posted a photo of a white shortboard. I don't think anyone cared, and I think that's indicative of the generation/culture gap here (and I'm 46).
  • I'd suggest a partnership with a Greenlight, ShaperSupply, etc. business. I would guess the business generated from an exclusive relationship with Swaylocks would justify them supporting your expenses to run the site. I typically buy local in San Diego but I'd happily mention Swaylocks for the orders I do online if it helped support the site. Some of these sites (Greenlight in particular) offer a lot of build information, so it's obvously important to them to make sales. Find one that doesn't have an existing library and they would get huge value from this site, and may even invest in helping organize the information better.
  • Old surfers are tribal, tend to be stuck in their ways, dislike outsiders, and generally do not share information freely. Who wants to post their favorite spot? All the more reason we should embrace our contributors/veterans. And all the more reason contributors should embrace those willing to learn. I think this site needs more active/sensitive policing than the average car site. There you're arguing about what some company built. Here people are sharing their art, and their artistic techniques. It's much more personal.
  • I'm not sure what points are or what they mean, but a "priority" system might help so new folks know who to trust. Promote known folks now to a high level. Those folks can submit others for promotion. Trolls that show up with no priority will be appropriately labeled and ignored. Priority can't be "bought" just by posting a lot.

Again, I really enjoy this site. All of my comments above are meant to be constructive. I did notice earlier in this thread someone posted that nobody has posted a build recently. So I'll put on my flame suit and throw some photos and videos up of my builds. Maybe someone with even less experience than me can benefit from them.

Mike, hopefully some of these comments are helpful. I think there are ways you could generate the income through partnerships that wouldn't involve charging users. This site is awesome, but I do think it needs to evolve to stay relevant.

Randy

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jackaldrich0's picture
Joined: 02/05/2019

Ok, here's a thought:

If the value of Swaylocks is primarlily as an archive, aren't there ways to archive information that wont cost Mike thousands of dollars to maintain? For example, as a static webpage, or a shared drive in the cloud somewhere that people can access, or in print?

It looks like the General Discussion board has over 37,000 topics with over 500,000 replies, a truly amazing amount of information. However, the majority of threads have less than ten replies. Would it be possible to somehow identify some of the best threads for preservation? 

I'm not a professional web developer or graphic designer, but I did take a class on html around ten years ago, and I'm fairly comfortable with Adobe Illustrator and similar. Again, it would be easy to find people better suited for this job than I am, but I have some skills that might be useful, and would be willing to *volunteer* for the cause. 

Relatedly: I just noticed there is a very small "donate" button in the bottom right corner of each page. Maybe it has always been there, and I'm just an idiot. But I know others in this thread have brought up the idea of crowdsourcing donations to keep Swayslocks alive.

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unclegrumpy's picture
Joined: 09/16/2006

jackaldrich0 wrote:

Relatedly: I just noticed there is a very small "donate" button in the bottom right corner of each page. Maybe it has always been there, and I'm just an idiot. But I know others in this thread have brought up the idea of crowdsourcing donations to keep Swayslocks alive.

I honestly never saw that until today and so I just made a donation to Swaylock's.

Thanks for everything Mike.

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No; It's not an ironing board.

swaylock's picture
Joined: 01/27/2009

jackaldrich0 wrote:

If the value of Swaylocks is primarlily as an archive, aren't there ways to archive information that wont cost Mike thousands of dollars to maintain? For example, as a static webpage, or a shared drive in the cloud somewhere that people can access, or in print?

This is the plan as of right now. 

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tsimpson's picture
Joined: 08/15/2005

I would at least start with a subscription plan. I have been a Swaylock's member for 15+ years for FREE. I would subscribe fror $50-60/per year going forward. I wonder how many others would do that? 100-200?  I login every day and would very much miss this site.

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everysurfer's picture
Joined: 09/20/2008

This kind of goes to what I'm saying.

A poster says they are willing to subscribe for the information they want.   Just like surfline...

And the successful social media platforms have ways for content creators to monetize their efforts.

And those successful platforms have a way for the content creators to block negative comments and abusive followers.

If you want success, follow success

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

1) subscriptions available

2) creators can make money on content

3) creators have control over which comments allowed to stay

These all sound like good ideas to me.

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lemat's picture
Joined: 04/17/2010

More or less what guys do on Instagram no? 

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thrailkill's picture
Joined: 05/07/2004

''IF YOU WANT SUCCESS, FOLLOW SUCCESS''

Could not be more well said.

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Bill Thrailkill SHAPER SINCE 1958
Bob T's picture
Joined: 03/10/2018

.              

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Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

How about posting is free but archives available by subscription?  Current posting continues unabated but you pay to research past threads.  Is that even possible?

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McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

Thing is;  There is already a problem with newbies asking the same old questions that could easily be found in the Archives.  In my opinion;  You've got to either pay for both or make both free.  If people post for free, they will just ask the same old question that will eventually be answered by somebody.   No need to do a little leg work in the archives.  Especially if you have to pay to access Archives.

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That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

Rnoll98's picture
Joined: 03/16/2021

Charging for ability to post makes sense. If you're going to do that then you need free content to lure people in, otherwise you get no new members. I'm not sure how then you charge for archives. I'd start with a nominal fee and increase it each year and watch the stats. I think $50/year, while fair for the quality of content, is probably going to drive the hobbyists away.

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mako224's picture
Joined: 12/26/2005

I wouldn't be too optimistic that people would pay to use this website.  You might get a few but not enough to keep the lights on and certainly not enough to have a thriving forum community.  Pros would probably rather a site like this not exist and hobbyists aren't going to pay for it.

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parthenonsurfer's picture
Joined: 02/19/2010

I agree with what mako says.

I consider  myself a hobbyist & I have posted my last few builds as  well as asked questions during builds, but the fact is I have a main business that is not related to surfboard building. While I get extreme stoke everytime that I build a new board, that has become sporadic  recently as my other business is my priority. I haven't built a board in over a year & haven't been on the site in quite a few months. I just started looking at the site again because I'm planning another board build later this winter.

With inflation so high & the prospects of a recession looming, I can't justify paying an annual subscription for a site that i'm not using much more than once or twice a year. It's a bummer I know, but the thing that will be the biggest shame is not being able to talk with the great guys I've come to know on this site like bb30; stoneburner; mcding; and huck. I value the information they've given to me over the years.

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McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

All true mako.  And Parthenon is right.  Bleak economic times ahead.  I'm old, but still working and doing pretty good with my occupation.  The one that makes me money.  

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That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

Huck's picture
Joined: 12/07/2009

I think that if you want to make it work you're just going to have to start trying some of these different suggestions until you hit on the formula that works best for your needs & circumstances

I do think there is enough interest to keep it going. And I see it filling a real need in the surfing world.

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unclegrumpy's picture
Joined: 09/16/2006

Other than Surfline, Swaylock's is the only surf site I spend any time on. And I visit every day.

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No; It's not an ironing board.

McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

It's funny though;   I mention it to one of my customers when selling them a blank or cloth, resin etc.  and they've never heard of it.   

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That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

Rnoll98's picture
Joined: 03/16/2021

Which seems crazy to me because every internet search I do with a question will almost always have a swaylocks result on the first page. Maybe those folks just don't comb the internet for answers?

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