In October the FTC published their 2009 revisions to the FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. This is the first significant guide update in the internet era and in the interest of full disclosure, I feel obliged to address their primary concerns so everyone who happens to read this blog knows where I'm coming from. Click here for a summary of the guides in lieu of the 81 page document published by the FTC.
The main area of concern is in "advertising." I have chosen to post (on the right hand of the blog) several surf related businesses whose products and services I have used and enjoyed over the years. I am not sponsored or employed (as an employee) by any of these businesses, and I want to clarify my relationship with them all.
I receive no cash compensation from any of these businesses. This blog is my personal journal of my surfing experiences. I also write about places I surf, and the equipment and services I use related to surfing. All this is strictly my own opinion, based upon my own subjective experience. This blog is not a business. It is not a money making venture. I do not use Google advertising because so many of the advertisers are unknown to me. I have no idea if the quality of their products or services is good or bad. Therefore I have no opinion about them, nor would I recommend for or against them.
The six businesses I support with logos, links and contact information are: Angulo Designs; Santa Cruz Boardsports; Freeline Surf Shop; Ward Coffey Surfboards, Rainbow Fin Co. and Del Cabo Surfboard Glassing. I have met every business owner in person. Some I know better than others. Above all, my opinion of all these companies is that they are run and maintained with honesty and with ethical business policies and practices in effect. They are not only good "business" people, they are good people.
Here is a per business breakdown of my relationship with all the businesses.
Angulo Designs: I created and maintain the Angulo blog. For this work I am periodically compensated with stuff like t-shirts, deck pads and some accessories. I have owned three Angulo SUPs. For two out of three of those I paid full price. The third was deeply discounted as a trade for hours worked on the blog. I think Ed Angulo is one of the most unknown and under appreciated world class shapers alive today. He is a man of great skill, knowledge, integrity and honesty and I wouldn't hesitate to direct anyone to him for a product. I have reviewed all the Angulo SUPs I've owned. A consumer simply would not go wrong with an Angulo product in my opinion. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Santa Cruz Boardsports: This business is the primary west coast distributor and retailer for Angulo SUPs. I know the owner well and in addition to being a great guy, he is one of the most positively enthusiastic, and funniest persons you'd ever meet. He's a good businessman and always treats his customers fairly. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Freeline Surf Shop: I've know John Mel for 36 years. When I moved to Santa Cruz in 1973 I got back into surfing by purchasing a used kneeboard from John. I have bought many, many surfboards, wetsuits and accessories from Freeline over these last many years. John is a dedicated family man and member of the community. He has donated his time and products to many, many causes in the community. Peter Mel (yes, THE Peter Mel) is his son. In addition to being a professionally sponsored surfer (Quiksilver) and businessman with other surfing related interests, Peter and his wife Tara co-own and manage the shop. I trust Freeline for all my surfing needs. Freeline often provides me with a longtime customer discount on my purchases. I never ask for one on surfboards because custom Freeline's are a huge bargain at regular price. What is 40 years of shaping experience and over 11,000 boards built worth to me? Whatever John asks. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Ward Coffey Surfboards: I've only known Ward for a couple years, having met him at Sacred Craft in Del Mar a couple years ago. He is a gifted shaper and surfer. He is also a dedicated family man, well known and respected in the surfing community. Like John, Ward's products are based on his experience, vast knowledge of surf craft, and his impeccable skills. His prices are super reasonable and worth every penny. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Rainbow Fin Co.: I've purchased many RFC fins over the years. Recently I met Glen (the owner) while surfing and he recommended some new fins the company had just developed and brought to market. I tried 'em and loved 'em. Glen and his family are a longtime fixture in the surfing community and take great pride in their products and their company. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Del Cabo Surfboard Glassing (no website): I recently met Jesus and Maria Ocaranza when I asked if it would be OK to watch them glass my 5-11 GhostBuster2. They were happy to accommodate my request and I spent a number of enjoyable and informative hours watching, asking questions and chatting with this hard working and affable couple. They are professionals with the highest degree of integrity. I would recommend them to anyone who needs good glassers. I receive no compensation in advertising.
Please feel free to leave comments or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org