Florida SBDC at UCF Client SeaDek Named SBA 2018 Small Business Exporter of the Year

Hyperform Inc. (d/b/a SeaDek Marine Products) is an All-American success story. What started out as a maker of products for the surfing industry like surfboard fins and traction pads has transformed itself into a hugely successful manufacturer supplying, as its primary business, the marine industry with innovative, functional, and aesthetically pleasing PE/EVA non-skid decking products.

PE/EVA (Polyethylene/Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) is a closed-cell blended foam material that is soft yet durable, and SeaDek has developed a unique formula that is resistant to UV rays and the harsh conditions of the marine environment. Hyperform utilizes PE/EVA as decking (and a variety of other applications) in its SeaDek Marine Products line, its SwimDek aquatic surfaces line for the pool and spa market, and coming soon, the EndeavourDek line for automotive, off road, and multiple other applications. All are alternatives to fiberglass molded-in non-skid, painted-on textures, and other traction products currently available.

SeaDek, a client of the Florida SBDC at UCF
Jason Gardner, Vice President of Marketing; Serenity Gardner, COO; and Jill McLaughlin, International Trade Specialist for the Florida SBDC at UCF

Hyperform benefits from a strong group of seven principal owners and a dedicated workforce. At the helm guiding the company through its dramatic growth and playing key roles among the principals are President Kurt Wilson, Chief Operating Officer Serenity Gardner, Vice President of Marketing Jason Gardner, and Vice President of Sales Chuck Yates. In 2015, the principals of SeaDek extended ownership to over eighty full-time employees through the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). It’s that team that’s making success happen at the company, say the Gardners.

As unprecedented consumer acceptance throughout the United States placed the company on the forefront of the marine decking industry, word spread overseas.

“There was definite demand in the international marketplace,” Serenity Gardner recalls. “We decided we wanted assistance from an outside organization rather than taking a reactionary approach and working with whichever customer came to us.”

Hyperform turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and its International Trade Services consultant Jill McLaughlin for assistance. The company applied for and was accepted into the FSBDC’s Export Marketing Plan service. Provided in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service, the program is focused on assisting qualified new-to-export manufacturers and service providers with overseas growth strategies through the development of customized Export Marketing Plans. These customized Export Marketing Plans provide comprehensive industry and market analyses, with target market recommendations and country-specific market entry strategies.

“Working with the FSBDC couldn’t have been easier,” said Jason Gardner. “Communication was great. It was a positive experience across the board.”


“It’s interesting to look back now at the decisions we made with the help of the report and see that we were really pretty successful,” Serenity Gardner concluded. “Even with taking a measured approach, in just the past year and a half our export revenues have climbed from 1 – 2 % to over 10% now. We’ve gone from being in one country to more than 15 today. If you’re contemplating selling internationally, you absolutely want to use the FSBDC and get an Export Marketing Plan. It’s a really valuable resource.”

As a testament to their success, SeaDek was recently named the 2018 National Exporter of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Thanks to the Export Marketing Plan,” Serenity Gardner remarked, “we didn’t take a shotgun approach. We looked at markets one-by-one and decided which areas we wanted to target and which ones we didn’t. It allowed us to go into new markets with a good plan and a strong understanding of what we would be dealing with.”

Serenity Gardner, COO — SeaDek