Celebrating 70 Years

2023 marks the 70th anniversary for California Sports Surfaces, a brand that has built its name on delivering continuous innovation to the athletic surface industry. 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.

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.

Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
Bjorn Borg SWE at the 1980 US Open Tennis Championships – DecoTurf – PCN Photography/Alamy Photo
1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – Plexicushion
2004 Athens Olympic Games – DecoTurf
2008 Beijing Olympic Games – DecoTurf
2012 London Paralympic Games – DecoTurf
Plexicushion Prestige – Surface of the Australia Open 2008-2019

“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.”

A History of Excellence

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.

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.

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.

Initial planning meeting that led to the creation of the US Tennis Court & Track Builders Association (later to become ASBA), Baltimore, Maryland, August 8, 1964


BNP Paribas Open’s surface—at the iconic Indian Wells Tennis Garden

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.”


Left: Wipe-Out® Stain Blocker. Right: CoolTop at the Palmerston Tennis and Netball

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.”

Another product that reinforces our current focus on and investment in research and development is the rust-stopping Wipe-Out® Stain Blocker.

This powerful rust-blocking primer was selected as a winner in the Courts Division by attendees at the American Sports Builders Association’s (ASBA) 2022 Technical Meeting, held in Palm Desert, California in December 2022, where new technologies and products for designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities are showcased annually. Wipe-Out® Stain Blocker earned a coveted spot as one of only two products best exemplifying excellence and innovation in design, supply and manufacturing for sports facilities today.