Alright so here is the skinny. There is lots of confusion around what Surface is trying to do with the Blanks so I will do my best to clear things up.
Firstly, the idea for the Blanks came from skate shops that sell blank decks. Not to be confused with afterbang construction... its just the concept that they want to make skiing more accessible for kids who's parents don't but them new $600 park skis every winter. The quality of the skis is not sacrificed due to the price. The Blanks replace the No Times completely and have actually been beefed up a little in comparison to the No Times. Plus if you do break a ski, Surface is offering these skis as singles so getting a new one will be a lot cheaper and simpler than messing around for two months with warranty.
Like you guys have mentioned the skis will be direct to customer but Surface is developing a more "high-end" park ski for shops to sell. The shops will NOT be competing against Surface trying to sell No Times for twice the price. Plus this is the only ski in the Surface line with this type of distribution channel. The shops will still have plenty of Surface skis to carry, there is way more money is powder and touring skis (people that buy these kinds of skis typically have the money to spend) park rats are going to haggle a shop down to near cost anyways...
I don't really get the hate, these guys have a really cool vision to help grow our sport from the grassroots level. $500-$700 park skis are still going to sell, just like skate shops sell promodel decks for 3 times the price of a blank, all Surface is doing is giving more people access to the sport and hopefully in the long run to shops.