Exploring Signal Snowboards Factory & Office

23 Oct, 2009

When it comes to snowboard factories in the United States there are few and far between but in southern California lies The Lodge – Signal Snowboards factory.  Built around the motto, “dream it, built it, ride it” and they do, even from the parking lot.

Signal was the third stop on my California adventure in two locations:  The Lodge that is located in Huntington Beach and their office located in Vista, I sought out both to get the full feel for the company beyond the carpet of SIA and what I found was the value and personal touch in building snowboards.

I met with Mike Akins, Marc Wierenga and Dave Lee to get the tour of Signal’s Factory and later on the next day, a stop at the Signal office.

Marc Wierenga and Dave Lee handling business

Signal currently is building 80 boards a day and getting the last boards of the season pumped out so shredders can be riding them soon.  Everything starts in the wood shop where the wood is made into wood cores that become everything about the snowboard.

Stacking the wood cores up after they go through the machine

The next part of the process is knowing the line and building it

Despite there being workstations in a snowboard factory, the Signal employees were trained across the board from wood shop to pressing so that everyone knew every component of building a snowboard.

Each graphic stacked up

Working with fiberglass

Dave and Marc have been working the late shifts in the factory to make sure all the boards get done.  Here’s Dave making an edge

Here are the workstations for putting the edges on the snowboards

Before QC it’s time to make the final product look like a snowboard

One of the biggest differences for me was the art behind Signal Snowboards, whereas other factories just pump out product…Signal has their OG series that makes everyone original and different because the topsheet is hand painted.

While I was there Dave asked how artistic I was and I definitely froze, my artistic capability ended in elementary school.  But luckily for me hand painting your own OG board doesn’t come around very often and I was praised by Dave for my design.  I set to forth with bright blue and red to make something fun and poppy behind the OG design.

At the end of the day Marc took this photo of me in the factory and tweeted it out.  Its definitely worth following Signal on twitter as you see them tweet more than daily about the inner workings and happenings of their company.

The next afternoon between stops in Carlsbad, I made my way over to the Signal office to see the final component of the company.  Here’s the back warehouse where boards make their way to snowboard shops around the world.

Mike Akins hard at work

These boards are lined up ready to be packaged and shipped.

Huge thanks to Mike, Marc and Dave for giving me the full tour of operations and letting me hand paint my own graphic!

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. JT
    October 23, 2009

    Awesome!! I’ve always wanted to pick up an OG wide and take it out.. Glad you’re having a blast on your tour!

  2. October 23, 2009

    Hell yeahs. Kudos to all. Signal is givin’er hell. Good work Shay, that is a pretty board.

  3. jamal
    October 23, 2009

    you have to get a good pic of your custom board. i want to see it

  4. October 23, 2009

    That looks- fun- Signal seems pretty ‘core!

  5. A
    October 23, 2009

    sucks that this is rare now.

    also rare: I am not angry about a shayboarder post.

  6. RvR
    October 23, 2009

    Where was Kennedy?

  7. 760
    October 23, 2009

    Awesome and so legit! Very impressive I hope we be like that someday.

  8. February 10, 2010

    Come and shred Big Bear Lake. We have more snow then the Vancouver Olympics! It’s a blue bird powder day in the southern California mountains.