Custom or production??

Forwarded from friends in the US via the UK:




Yes, I can point you in the right direction.

Go make or buy a bunch of different boards.  Ride them all in differing conditions.  Decide which boards you like most.  Enjoy.


it will vary on alot of things... firstly it will depend on your own board knowledge and what selection you make , then what shaper you speak to and what he makes for you, this would vary every time you compared a custom versus a production board...

It is impossible to say that one is better then the other all the time coz too many variables..but I do know that if you have limited or even average knowledge, then to sit down with a good shaper and chat honestly about your boards, and what you want from the custom, then you will more than likely end up with a more suitable board...but if you have good board knowledge then you may be able to find what you like on the things is to try both, see how you go...but the custom process is fun and people learn from it too, I try to involve customers alot, let them watch me shape it, or do their own the rack is so unpersonal and cold IMO...unless it is the right shape and you dont wanna wait...

do you want your money going to support questionable labor and business practices or do you want to support domestic artisans?

start there…the rest is all nuance.

OT a bit but surfding's example of the Simon perfectly illustrates the difference between what the pros ride in PU/PE and what's in the rack. Doubling the amount of glass on the deckside changes the physicals of the structure so much that it doesn't ride nearly as well. It's not just the weight.

Back to ''custom or production'', surfboard performance is so subjective I don't think ''verified performance figures'' are possible. There's no finish line or lap times to compare. It's hardly quantifiable at all. There are plenty of other analogous situations; golf clubs and fishing rods come to mind. I'm also not sure what ''performance'' has to do with ''custom or production'' in the strictest sense. Does he mean ''handshaped or molded''? In most factories, the only diff in a custom is that the craftsmen have more to look at on the order card.

OTOH, and back to the physicals of the structure, those CAN be tested. We're ready. No supposition, conjecture, or anectdotal evidence needed.

Do you think less inexperienced surfers are more susceptable to the placebo effect? Factors apart from actual performance can be a powerful influence. Like friendly and knowledgeable sales reps…

the facts are really simple.  Surfboard performance is a subjective result until you can prove that everyone approaches a similar wave the same way.

Like the everysurfer said, go ride a bunch, and make up your mind unless you have definitive criteria to define performance.  Pretty cut and dry to me.

every wave is different, every board is different, every surfer rides the wave different, it is one of the things that make suring so special IMO...just ride  alot of boards and work out what you like....

The best thing to do is make a board yourself and learn from each one, Thats what swaylocks is about =making your own board= Most custom and production boards come from the same shaping machines, there are only a few real shapers that start with a raw blank, most now use machines, you can to, have a go you will enjoy it,

I completely agree with Pridmore’s statement.

although I have stated that I have got very good results with buying stock shapes from superstar shapers that definately doesn’t mean I don’t think custom is good.

A good example is my custom step up from industry pro speedneedle aka Josh Dowling who posts here. I was going to order a stock 6’ 10" Pancho Sullivan stepup by Bushman but the opportunity to meet Speedy in person, talk shop and get something exactly like what I believed a good step up should be like was too good to be missed. I’m 100% happy with the decision and the results - i had another great session on it this weekend and I texted him to let him know :slight_smile:

g’day Afoaf, I normally keep a lot of ethical issues to myself, but I’ve been throwing caution to the wind on the CNC fiasco thread so I may as well carry on! … for now at least.

I suspect my views may be different from most and although i don’t wish to change anyones mind on this I do want to explain why I have my views. First some empathy: I’m a software engineer and my job is no longer in as much demand as it used to be coz a lot of what used to be done by engineers in the western world can now be done cheaper by highly educated Indians in Bangalore.

And now why I don’t have a problem with that situation: However the indians are humans and deserve to lift their standard of living and the west does not have sole ownership to any particular means of production (copyright production excepted).

Secondly my mother and wife are both from south east Asia (japan and Thailand respectively) and the  people from those countries are humans too. My wife still lives in Thailand and I visit there regularly, they are trying to lift their standard of living but its not easy. I would like to see them do better. One of the ways they can do that is to export manufactured goods. Yes they do have minimum wage labour rules. So say when I buy a Surftech made in the Cobra factory I know that the Cobra factory is Thai owned who build boards for a US company called surftech. So I have absolutely no moral problem with that. Although I don’t have any Chinese or Vietnamese made boards I would have no moral problems with buying them - the Chinese and Vietnamese are humans too and deserve to lift their standard of living.

Back to the work related issue again - I sometimes participate in software internet forums to solve a problem - they are filled with geeks from all over the world. From looking at some of the online names its obvious that some of them are indian, I don’t get upset that they are “stealing my job”. It just means I have to be better than average to keep my job in the western world.


…Im not in favor of Cobra fact because have nothing to do with what surf is all about no matter if it in Thailand, USA or whatever place…

ha! yes Atomized. That reminds me of when I arrived in Oz in 1989. One of the first things I did was get myself to the surf. In the Jan Juc carpark (a popular beachbreak on the west coast of Vic) someone had spray painted an outline of the Australian continent. Inside the outline was “sold to Japan” I think that was a reference to the way Japan was expanding its hotel market and buying up hotels in Queensland. But what the Japanese capitialists didn’t realise at the time was that their property market was in a bubble and shortly after that their economy went into reverse. Australia has for many years now enjoyed a trade surplus with Japan. Japan is a developed economy and quite different from Thailand


I’m very fond of America, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work and live there for 7 years. Some great things have come out of the US which have enriched my life, namely

  1. the fibreglass surfboard

  2. the urethane skateboard wheel.

  3. the internet

I think the world operates in an equilibrium, there are people like me  who think Cobra and Surftech is a good thing and there are people like yourself who think production should stay in the hands of those who enjoy it. Hopefully we will all balance each other out!

ah the old china syndrome?

     look out there is a new giant lying in wait


              long live the hand shaper     ( well for a little while longer)


**                                                huie

Coming from a development country when considering the number of local shapers this doesn’t work for me. Around here the only customs you could get was from spider, but looking in one of the shops the spiders looked crap with screwups in the rail in the tail and they are known to disintegrate at a rapid rate. Not to mention that it seems to be fairly common that when you order, what you get may not be what you ordered. They are hanging next to a bunch of Webber boards made by GSI that look superclean. Which do you think would be ‘better’?

On the other hand, does an off the rack board need to be from a company with ‘questionable labor and business practices’?



RE: the OP.


in an experimental paradigm, you would want to begin with an objective definition of  "better".  without a statement of what "better" is, you have no objective basis from which to design an experiment that will lead to statistically quantifiable information.

Better:  better paddling?  faster? stronger? more suited to your individual size,age, experience?  more suited to your local waves?  more suited to a wide range of wave size?

what? what is "better"?

because unless we know that for which we are searching, then what we are reduced to is exactly what you decry.  subjective evaluations of varying criteria.

Both the original post and this response are pretty meaningless, since it is all subjective, not objective. The original question has no foundation since it ignores the subjective nature of surfing itself.

“one man’s meat is another man’s poison” applies very well.

Everysurfer’s post is on the money.