Surfers Fear Global Board Shortage

From the north shore of Oahu to the beaches of southern California — even board breaking waves aren't enough to stoke up surfers these days. Chalk it up to raging fears of a global surfboard shortage caused by the sudden closing of a California company called Clark Foam.

"Having a perfect wave without a good board, it's like winning the lottery right after your wife died," Chris Mauro, editor of Surfer Magazine tells CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

Clark Foam was the Microsoft of surfboard makers. And company founder Gordon "Grubby" Clark was the "Godfather" according to Mauro.

Clark has been revered since the 1950's for perfecting lightweight foam blanks - the internal core of surfboards. Without blanks, there would be no "Endless Summer," no mass surf culture.

"Grubby was the first guy to sort of master the process and make it available to the masses," says Mauro.

So just why would the "Godfather" of surfboards go off the deep end and close a profitable business for apparently no reason? "Grubby" Clark's not giving interviews but in a letter he sent to customers he blames tightening environmental regulations and his reluctance to deal with them.

For now, the mystery is lost in waves of panic — to which even pro surfers aren't immune. Professional surfer Fred Patacchia Jr. ordered ten boards the day he heard about Clark Foam's closing. And at Zuma Jays in Malibu, California, prices jumped 300 dollars overnight. Shop owner Jefferson "Zuma Jay" Wagner anticipates selling out his entire inventory in a matter of weeks.

Back at beach, surfers fear the future. Surfer Stevo Durham believes foam production will now go to China.

"It's just not gonna be good because Clark's been doin' it for what fifty years and he made it perfect." says Durham.

Right now, make that a perfect wipeout.