An Update from John Beausang, Publisher of Distressed Mullet. Are we complicit in our purchases of copied boards and paddles?

We noticed an uncanny resemblance of a new prone paddleboard by VESL and Joe Bark’s Commander in both design and in graphics. In fact, we couldn’t see any difference. I know it’s online and not in person. But at what point as a community and an industry, as individual and store buyers, do we ignore the companies made up of the people who innovated, shed blood sweat and tears to build this industry and the sport as we know it in favor of a cheaper knockoff? PSW has taken the board down from their site apparently to give it a different paint job. This is an excerpt from our chat conversation when I checked out the board on their website. The entire string is hilarious and sad.


From the Paddle Surf Warehouse website

  1. Is it ok to buy it?
  2. Is it ok to sell it?
  3. Is it ok to manufacture it?
  4. Is it ok to have it manufactured?

Many shops will just see the price and the design and just order them. Many paddlers will see the price-point paddle or board and just buy it. It’s not like they said to a factory, “Please scan this and manufacture it under my brand.” But those who manufacture them, those who should know better, that make an obvious copy, is it right?

And where do we come in? The Paddlers? The Surfers? I know it’s been part of the surf industry to have similarly shaped boards, perhaps identically shaped boards. But has it been ok?

Check out the VESL prone board that’s an identical replica of Joe Bark’s Commander. Who wins in this scenario?

Here’s another question I asked them about knocking off the V-Drive from Quickblade’s Jimmy Terrell and Dave Kalama…


Think on it. Are we cutting off the innovation that shaped our sport and if we continue to do that, will we end up driving all the creativity in the sport away?

—The Mullet


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