Churchill Fins have been one of the most popular (and for good reason) fins over the last several decades that they have been produced and manufactured. To this day, they remain a cult classic and held to high esteem in the bodyboard, bodysurfing, swimming and lifeguard communities.
Although, along the way, this fin has definitely had some changes made to it since the days of Owen Churchill, who started all this. The fin brand has been sold to Wham-O, colors and new models have come out, materials and manufacturing has changed but more into that later…
Lets get into why you are here; Churchill going from the loved Malaysian rubber to the new Chinese rubber material (boo!).
For the longest time Churchill fins were made with Malaysian rubber. And life was great. The fin rubber was nice and firm but comfortable at the same time with 100% natural floating gum rubber.
Then you noticed the rubber was different and it got too soft. It was shinier and just didn’t feel the same. That is because they changed the rubber to Chinese rubber.
“They” meaning Wham-O, the Chinese toy manufacturer that now owns the Churchill brand. Churchill is just one of many product/brands they have under their umbrella (you can see for yourself at their website here). The point being, they are a large corporation and are driven 100% by profit and I am sure they made the move to manufacture in China based on numbers (A.K.A. money), it is obviously cheaper to get anything manufactured in China compared to anywhere else in the world, duh.
How do I know all this? This specifically and everything thing else on this website? Well, I know all thing stuff for a fact due to operating in the surf/bodyboard industry for a while now. They are a pretty hardcore corporate company so hopefully I don’t find a red laser point around my chest or head while someone is sniping me with their rifle and scope from 200 yard way for spilling the beans on this whole thing!
On a side note (and personal note, if you care) I actually visited the manufacturing faculty when I was traveling abroad in around Asia, India (great India guide pdf here) and the South Pacific. It was epic and I scored some really good waves, I definitely brought my bodyboard with me for the Cook Islands and other islands in the South Pacific.
Oh, Wham-O also owns Morey and BZ bodyboards so that is why you see the 3 brands being paired up with each other all the time if you pay close attention to that type of thing.
So that is the backstory and deal on what happened.
Fortunately this soft crappy rubber was only produced for a few years and now they have switched back to the good stuff. At that time, you were basically screwed.
You had to find/buy an old pair from anywhere you could find them;
– online private individual sellers like on eBay etc.
– retail places that had old inventory
– buy used from your buddy or something/ network
The good news is that they now produce the good rubber again. I am not sure if it is the same exact (as in, from the same manufacture and/or in Malaysia) but it’s back to normal.
I bet the market and demand plummeted when they pulled that little stunt and no one was buying so with switched it back.
So happy days, again, now!