Expression

Part of the intrigue of building boards to me is the opportunity for artistic expression. I would like the art of the board to have the same deep level of expression that is felt through surfing. I feel that surfing is a very sacred and powerful thing and it is kind of my vision that the board itself should honor and express that. Its beginning to occur to me as I come here and learn and try to shape boards on my own that thats exactly what shaping and building boards is. Im learning that the more acute your eye becomes to the details of a surfboard the more you begin to see a board for the expression that it is. A board in itself is a testament to the skill, dedication and ability of whoever created it. Everyone may have their different reasons for surfing and making boards, but I feel that at the heart of it, it all comes down to honor of that feeling of oneness and the intense energy generated by harnessing and being finely tuned to the power of the ocean. Im sure the whole philosophical thing has been done to death, but thats how I really feel about shaping and surfing so I thought Id share that.

Rob

Everything you say is true.

Have you ever stood back and looked at how much work and skill is involved in making this personal expresion?

If, like me, you just make boards for your own enjoyment you probably haven’t given it much thought.

I bought a new custom shaped board the first year I started work which was 19 81 and it cost me AU$400, which was a weeks wages for a tradesman ( I was a first year apprentice then).

I still work in the same trade and I make 4 times that amount.

Compare the price of a new board ( Not a Thia or Surftech import) now.

How the hell do these guys make a living?

You know what, I don’t think surfboard makers should make a living. Every surfer should shape their own boards. To me shaping my boards is a huge part of me being a surfer and it is a shame that some people are missing that.

the guy before you get to st. PETER asks if you built your own board,built your own house,and built your own boat…anyone of these requirements undone can seriously affect your entry into the part of heaven you get to make stuff…just a thought…ambrose…i think that one often

I suspect heaven may be where you can build anything you want to. And a close equivalent on this plane ( no pun intended ) is to make what you need.

Though I think I’ll be happy enough in Hell if I get to use the machine shop fairly often…

doc…

The essence of that which defines functional beauty is a very complex issue. So, here`s my attempt at throwing gasoline on the bonfire of aesthetic sensibilities:

Although many surfboards represent their creators’ highest artistic expressions, my efforts are instead focused on designing and building an advanced medium for artistic expression…

Rectangular bags, partially filled with a rider`s breath and then surfed. Seemingly ridiculous… little else in the world of surfcraft appears more improbable.

My goal has been to bring into existance supple and resilient, ultralight interfaces between the human body and a wave. What I make isnt just flexible, its nearly fluid.The most deceptively sophisticated vehicle of its kind in the world.

Rule #1: the wave is the Master Shaper.

yup…master shaper…i think it’s time to go get shaped …ambrose…But dale I will still hold you responsible for the mrgium that allows me to get shaped along with the mat

Ambrose… your posts always make me smile! Have fun, ride a good one for me.

As for surfers having to make their own boards, that would make this (surfing) a pretty exclusive club. There are many more people who are skilled with their bodies (balance, stamina, etc.) but not with their hands, at least to the extent that it would require to make a board. The inability to shape a surfboard shouldn’t get in the way of the ability to surf.

As to those who do shape, it’s an added bonus that you can create as well as ride.

As for those who might be ‘missing that’ - I’d encourage anyone to try at least once to shape a board, and you’re welcome to my tools and shop for that try (once I get 'em put together that is!).

I hope that my ability and the help from everyone on Swaylock’s allows me to surf my own expressions.

what you said is so true ,you must have brought the best money could buy back then i think over here boards were about 320 aud…

but like you say about a weeks wage…

interestingly 20 years ago i was making about 600 a week making fins …and when i wasnt doing that i was making 500 plus sanding boards…and alot of the shapers in the factory were making close to 1000 for the week…and your right,

you got paid 600 in 1984 …

the same work now would pay 1000 …

figure that one out

the only thing i can put it down to is supply and demand…

there is a smaller surfer to shaper population now , as well as the imports ,the surfboard industries lack of self regulation and abilty to protect itself…

my opinion is the surfboard raw material wholesalers are the biggest culprits …selling raw materials to everyone at the same price…

if they only sold to registered manufacturers they would still sell the same amount of stuff ,but this time the backyarders and small builders would have to get there supplys from the board shops who would make a few bucks as well and the backyarder couldnt sell at such a low price coz he paid a little more for his materials…so he wouldnt be as bigger threat to the guy whos running an honest factory…

the wholesalers are responsible for the boom of welfare recipients who make a few boards a week for cash and still collect welfare…

surely it wouldnt be hard for all the manufacturers to get together and boycott any wholesaler who sold to back yarders and support those who dont…?..

it doesnt bother me either way coz i dont have one regular industry supplier except the guy who sells me plugs …all my boards are epoxy eps and timber…none of which comes through the industry…

but everyone i know in the board game is constantly complaining about the state of the industry …no one is making any money both retailers and manufacturers …the crew selling surftechs are gettin good margins …so they keep pushing them…

i would say some natural selection is on the way and the ranks need to be thinned …either that or we destroy all the playstations and x boxes ,nintendos and get some grommets back in the water…it seems to me that in the last 5 years very few people have taken up surfing in comparison to previous years…i hardly see any grommets in the water these days …

regards

BERT

Quote:

nintendos and get some grommets back in the water…it seems to me that in the last 5 years very few people have taken up surfing in comparison to previous years…i hardly see any grommets in the water these days …

regards

BERT

Funny you say that because I was thinking about this as well, however, one of the things missing are also good surf shops. Parents are reluctant to drop the bucks on these things without knowledge and kids don’t have the opportunity to hang around like shop ratts any more. It’s become to “business” oriented.

However, this weekend my buddy opened his shop out here in NJ and the place was hopping. He had movies playing at night and all the local kids and kids from out of town, about 30 or so which isn’t bad for the first weekend open, watching movies at night and doing givaways. He’s already helped some of the kids out with some gear they were missing and has created an atmosphere that breeds friendships and warmth.

These kids WANT to be part of this culture, its’ not a matter of status now. They hang all day there and are welcome there. Parents have already emailed saying thank you for getting kids into a place and giving them somethign to do other then sit around playing video games. Friendships and surf buddies were made and the local grom count is already up with several neighborhood kids buying boards.

The thing that’s keeping kids out of the water are people, not games. I drag as many people as I can to the water and teach them what it’s all about and what the rules are and why this sport is so special. Perhaps with a little tutlidge(sp) groms will make their way back in.

There is a store in the mall near where my kids live, near Portland Oregon, call “Hollister (something or other)” crappy looking expensive “surf” clothes with some surf video’s, chairs, old surf mags. And, a few long boards for sale in the back. What a sad, sad state of affairs - surf “culture” with out the surf. Ha! I guess. I was always told by friends and acquaintences who worked in/owned etc. surf shops, the money is in the clothes. So, it is not so much a surprise that it is on a downward trend. Even with stagnating wages for surf board crafts people, boards are spendy - hard for a grom to come up with the cash required to get in the game, esp. if you need a wet suit too. Keep up the good work. ps sorry about the not spell checked - gotta run to work, and the comp is so slow.

I agree with you. I recruit as many kids into this culture as often as possible. What I offer to each little guy or gal that wants a bitchin stick with a cool airbrush, however, is the opportunity to come see their board created. My goals are to introduce a bit of the heart and soul of surfing to the younguns as early as possible. If I can reach one of these guys, which happens once in awhile, the punk attitude leaves and true appreciation arises. It’s cool. It’s sort of like witnessing.

-cjs

another point to add is board contruction…

when i was a grom there was a million old brown dinged up single fins you could inherit…but now boards are glassed lighter and lighter and dont last so theres not as many cheap boards around…parents dont wanna pay out to much for a first board …neither does a grom wanna spend 4 years saving for one …many decisions the industry has made to try and protect itself and keep people buying have actually caused its demise…

one is make boards weaker so people will buy more boards…

two . the established wholesalers using propaganda to stifle the natural progression towards epoxy eps and superior contruction materials…

if they had any brains they woulda started wholesaling and making those materials available to the industry in the early eighties when the interest really kicked off instead of supressing it…

now we have surftech and alot of conventional manufacturers who cant compete and need to catch up on 20 years of progression …we had the same propaganda machine in place here in australia …im a little more persistent than most and kept chasing what i wanted …no thanks to any surf industry wholesalers…

dont think the blank manufacturers had anything to do with it do you??

regards

BERT

That is a huge point Bert. This weekend when I was working in my buddies shop, that was probably the number one question with just about every piece of equipment, “How long will it last”.

What we are starting to see happen is a lot of smaller boutique shapers do very very well because their construction and “support” for lack of a better word, are so good. There is a local shaper here that has been shaping for 20 years (used to own rise boards) who makes a 9’4 long board, beautiful square tail, 1 1/2" stringer and gloss job and the board retails for 625. Compared to the 800+ boards out there, I would put this against most of them.

They are also putting out Epoxy fishes and funshapes, done with Greg’s epoxy, that are sub 500 boards as well.

Guys like this, and some florida shapers, are also standing behind their product. If a defect occurs outside for no good reason, they’ll fix the boards free of charge usually as they take responsibility. Granted, it takes a little longer then typical ding repair, but they are standing by their product.

2 people ahve already brought in Merricks to sell in exchange for boards like Wooster’s and Orions, two makers who really really impressed me.