ANDOVER, Mass.- From the Olympics to the most prestigious global tournaments in tennis, track and field, and pickleball, California Sports Surfaces has spent 70 years delivering innovative, high-performance sports surfaces that all players—from everyday amateurs to the world-class professionals—can count on.
2023 marks the 70th anniversary for California Sports Surfaces, an ICP Group Brand, which has built its name on delivering continuous innovation to the marketplace. From the groundbreaking Plexipave®, the industry leader of athletic surfacing systems since 1953; to Plexitrac®, an advanced track surface providing runners with the highest levels of safety and performance for 40 years; to brand-new innovations like CoolTop® Color Pigment Technology, which helps to reduce on-court temperatures, California Sports Surfaces has remained at the forefront of innovation from day one.
“This is a special anniversary for our company and our brand,” said Tom Magner, Director of Product Management, California Sports Surfaces. “None of it would be possible without our customers. Along with bringing continuous innovation to the marketplace, we have always been driven by relationships—and those have enabled us to grow and continue delivering high-performance sports surfaces around the world.”
The company’s roots extend from 1926, when the California Stucco Company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was formed. Into the 1940s, the company began to split into different market segments, and in 1953, California Sports Surfaces and its first product—Plexipave—were born.
“Plexipave was developed because the company founders identified a need in the shifting tennis market,” Magner said. “Grass and clay had widely been used for tennis courts prior to 1946, but there was a gradual shift toward asphalt and concrete surfaces that needed to be coated.”
Thus, California Sports Surfaces became the first company to develop surface solutions specifically tailored to the needs of tennis—where coatings application grew increasingly important—and grew exponentially from there. California Sports Surfaces’ portfolio grew to include solutions for basketball, roller sports, track, cricket, netball, pickleball and more.
“I first began applying Plexipave in 1982, and in my career as an applicator, I have tried nearly every available surfacing solution and nothing has ever been comparable,” said Jim Bittner, Manager of Sports Division, Arrow Concrete & Asphalt Specialties, based in Washington. “My 40 years of experience has always led me to Plexipave—exclusively.”
In 1997, California Sports Surfaces acquired Decoturf®, an innovative, multilayered system suitable for use in indoor and outdoor applications. It can be formulated to meet the requirements of players at any level, creating a state-of-the-art surface that can be trusted for safe and comfortable gameplay. The acquisition made California Sports Surfaces the largest manufacturer of sports surfaces in the world, exporting to more than 50 countries.
“My experience with California Sports Surfaces goes back to 1994, when my company was approached by the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand for a quality tennis surface for their National Training Center in Bangkok,” said Patrick Dean, Executive Director, SEARA Sports Systems. “We have grown our company business with Plexipave products in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and the Maldives. We would not have been able to achieve that kind of growth without the professional expertise and quality of California Sports Surfaces’ products. They’ve always had a solution for solving almost any surface problem that we have come up against.”
California Sports Surfaces’ total dedication to the industry is further evidenced by its involvement in the founding of what is now the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), a nonprofit trade association comprising builders, designers and suppliers for sports facilities, that exists to promote the highest standards of design, construction and maintenance.
The world’s best athletes may change from year to year, but there is one thing consistent about the top sports events in the world: California Sports Surfaces.
Every U.S. Open between 1978 and 2019 was played on DecoTurf®, and every Australian Open has had Rebound Ace® courts since 1988 and Plexipave® between 2008 and 2018. Plexipave has been the choice for the BNP Paribas Open’s surface—at the iconic Indian Wells Tennis Garden—for nearly 25 years and counting. DecoTurf was selected as the tennis court surface for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, marking the sixth time a brand from California Sports Surfaces’ portfolio has been chosen for use in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“These are some of the highest-stakes competitions in the world, with the fate of the world’s top athletes on the line,” said Magner. “That is something we do not take lightly. We have long been committed to quality, to reliability, and to delivering the world’s best playing surfaces—and these top-level tournaments and events continue to seek us out as partners again and again.”
California Sports Surfaces was founded upon groundbreaking innovation—and that continues today.
“We’re always looking forward in order to anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s athletes,” Magner said. “And because California Sports Surfaces is part of the ICP Group, we’re backed by an extremely strong pedigree of chemicals and coatings expertise. Drawing from that expertise, we’re excited to continue bringing new and exciting solutions to the marketplace.”
CoolTop® is a direct result of the brand’s innovative mindset. Compared to standard outdoor court surfaces, the product offers a new range of vibrant topcoat colors that reduce acrylic surface court temperatures via solar reflectance. This helps to keep players engaged in sports and social activity longer, while minimizing heat-related impact.
“We’re excited about what we’re bringing to the market with CoolTop, and so are our customers,” said Magner. “Maintaining comfortable temperatures for athletes is increasingly important. CoolTop is a great example of how we’ve never stopped pushing the envelope—and we’re going to keep doing it for years to come.”