Tweed Heads surfboard maker rides wave of success

18 September 2017

Employee painting a surfboard, The Glass Lab, Tweed Heads

Tweed Heads surfboard manufacturer Adam Wessell started making boards when he was 16 and slowly built his business to production of 40 boards per week.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro said Adam, now 40, employs 13 staff at his Tweed Heads surfboard manufacturing company The Glass Lab and is moving to a bigger factory thanks to a $300,000 loan from NSW Government-backed Jobs for NSW.

“The NSW Government, through Jobs for NSW, is helping this flourishing home-grown business double its capacity, creating 17 new full-time jobs and improving its export capability,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The Glass Lab now exports to Queensland and Victoria and expects to start exporting to New Zealand and Japan by the end of 2017 once the new factory is up and running.

“Jobs created include marketing and brand managers, customer service and business development staff; hand laminating staff, orbiters, admin and surfboard repair staff.

“Adam is keen to give back to the community where he grew up and expects to increase The Glass Lab’s production from 7000 in 2017 to 17,000 in 2019 and this support has enabled the company to take advantage of international opportunities.

“This is a great example of the NSW Government backing a strong local business which is supporting jobs and supplying training for the people of Northern NSW.”

“Adam has recently inducted the first group of TAFE apprentices following a pilot program to make surfboard shaping a qualified trade through the NSW Department of Industry. This will usher in a new era of professionalism in the industry.”

Wessell said he opened the business in Tweed Heads because it’s his home town and that he believes in northern NSW.

“We have been running at capacity for the last three years and this new factory will help us create more jobs for our local area, more work for our suppliers and it will also increase export possibilities,” he said.

“Business is good and the flood gates are open because people know we have capacity - so we are picking up extra clients left right and centre.

“I had the opportunity to cross the border but I decided with the help of the loan to stay put and I want to keep the money here, provide jobs and continue to grow our part of the world.

“What Jobs for NSW has done allowed us to make this happen. I want The Glass Lab to be around for the next 100 hundred years. I want to get to capacity again and make a great product and offer a better service than we’re already offering.”