Born in a backyard, the first Zap Skim’er was built in 1983 by Bob Smetts, in Venice Florida. At that time, Bob was building custom surfboard and sailboards. Bob grew up in Venice, where he began skimming at age 7 on some home brewed plywood slabs. At 15, Bob made his first surfboard, and in 1975 he moved to the North Shore of Oahu to hone his surfing and board building skills. He returned to Florida in 1981 and started a family with Karla Smetts. “We had five kids and built a lot of great memories.” He continued to build surf and sailboard under the “Smetts”, and “Windflight” labels.
“The first Zaps were built to supplement my surfboard building income. At first it was simply economics, but over time the skimboard design and construction process began to develop and mature. Skimboards became our only business, I call it Zapology.” The manufacturing process including many of the tools, molds, and equipment we use were designed right here and Zap grew to be a national brand. By the early 90′s, Zap found it’s way to the beaches of Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and the Caribbean.
The ENTIRE manufacturing process including many of the tools, molds, and equipment we use were designed right here
What started out as a supply stream to the entry level consumer market, turned into an understanding of what defines a real performance board and how to build it. We’ve learned to control our processes to maintain the best quality finish of any board in the industry, as well as the design parameters require by the world’s top riders. The reality is when we started out there weren’t many riders willing to pay for the pricy performance boards we build so many of today. I laugh whenever I hear the occasional smash & bash Zap takes for developing a somewhat Virgin Market. Zap struggled to fill a product void in an expanding skim culture on a shoe string budget. It’s hard for some to appreciate that contribution.
Today the wave of Asian imports has filled that void. Zap now works a comfortable 4 day week and only builds the worlds best quality boards. We always look for ways to improve our product. And we’re happy to say all of our boards are handmade in the USA.