This year, I’ve had some amazing opportunities to meet some very talented surfboard shapers here on the North Shore. Can I just first mention how much I love this community? There are so many dedicated watermen here who not only surf, but then contribute back to the local lifesavers and fellow watermen with surfboards, rescue boards, and boat crafts that simply blow minds! Here is a photo from last summer when SKI made “the triplets.”
The individuals I’ve encountered shaping boards on the North Shore are masters in the craft of surfboard design. I think its because of the close relationship they have to surfing and their legendary affiliations to the sea. Here on Oahu, surfing is spiritually and culturally a part of daily life here. Over time legendary shapers have perfected the art and precision required to shape functional, handcrafted masterpieces. They have created or are creating boards that can smoothly ride anything and make you feel like you’re flying across the wave. As I get more opportunities to challenge myself in bigger and better conditions, I’ve been playing around with all sizes of boards, each with their own characteristics and demands on the wave. I like switching it up and keeping a nice balanced variety in my quiver.
Below is one of the most exciting boards I have. It’s a hand crafted Hawaiian balsa wood tow board shaped by master of our generation. Guess who!
I would rather not order surfboards from a major manufacturer. I don’t like my surfboards boards being made by machines. I’d rather support local craftsmen who devote their wisdom to the art of surfing. The detail achieved in a board shaped by a person’s hands is a quality you cannot get from a machine template.
A surfboard deserves to be a craft, shaped by an artist with a purpose for his design. A hand crafted surfboard takes time, patience, careful consideration, precision, and fundamental surfing knowledge. While working with a shaper, you can watch the board being designed and discuss what can be done to make the board work its best for you. I am humbled by how well Hawaiians know surfboards. It’s awesome having met such inspiring friends!