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Wipe out for an entrepreneur

December 9, 2005

The Big Kahuna himself, Government, has been creating — er — waves in the surfing world as the Beach Bums' supplier of choice, Clark Foam, has finally succumbed to its unremitting regulatory onslaught and closed its doors.

He said he spent $500,000 in fire code fixes, another $400,000 defending himself against an employee's lawsuit and faced buying a multimillion "scrubber" to comply with emissions law. He also battled with the Environmental Protection Agency over pollution issues at his Laguna Niguel-based company.

Clark — a 44-year old firm, owned and managed by the eponymous inventor — has no less than 90% of the custom market and 75% of the worldwide market and its shuttering has sparked panic buying at dealers all along the world's coastline.

As Clark said in a faxed announcement:"They simply grind away until you either quit or they find methods of bringing serious charges or fines that force you to close."

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