Ghosts & conspiracy theories

Theres been a lot of talk here about "ghost shaping." Does anyone have any examples of this actually happening? It seems to me that this might be more of a wild-eyed myth than reality. If you walk into the Hobie store in Dana Point, you don't really think that Hobie Alter shaped all of those boards, right? Isn't the shaper's name (or at least initials) on the board? Harbours, for instance, are shaped by Tim Stamps (I think that's his name), but isn't that clearly marked? I have a Stewart shaped by M.B. - I don't know who M.B. is, but I don't feel deceived at all - whoever he is, he signed it. Well, I guess he did. They could have easily signed Bill Stewart, and Id never have known! None of these instances qualify for “ghost shaping” do they?

Here’s a few thoughts for all the surfers out there who think so-called “ghost shapers” are somehow diluting the purity or quality of the surfboards that are available to be purchased. The big name shapers who have their own line of surfboards have paid some dues to research and develop those shapes. Countless hours mowing foam, not to mention “free” boards to name surfers so they can get feedback on new designs. When they finally find a reliable design that works, they have already made a huge investment of labor, design abiity, trial& error, and artistic talent. That’s what we’re paying for when we buy a new surfboard. So what does it matter how the shape is duplicated? If every board in one’s quiver has to be done by the guy who’s name is on the logo, great. Appreciation for “art by the artist” is commendable. But, if what you want is a well designed surfboard, just go buy one.

Lets me start with Al Merrick, I know he never even saw the vast majority of those boards you see in the shops, this may not be a bad thing since i know some people swear by them. Rusty same thing JC same thing Spider same thing I know this because from working in the industry. Most of these boards come off a CnC machine and are finished by various “ghost shapers” who I watched finish some of these boards. When you reach a certain level of production there is no way you can shape every one of those boards yourself. The guy im working with now has 70-100 board orders a month and is considering using a CnC to help with production. Only thing stopping him right now is the cost of the software which is $2000 investment. The other thing is one of the CnC sevices hes considering makes 2 boards at a time and this is difficult when the majority of your orders are custom orders and you have to pay for every scan of each model.

Tell your boss to raise his prices $25, $50 or $100 until the orders drop to a managable level. Take the “profit” and invest in the program. Then lower your price by 15 percent and start cranking. Don’t be ashamed to use business principles. If you want to make a living, you have to make a profit. At some time you have to treat your “passion” as a business…if you don’t, then you cease being a “professional” and become a very good hobbiest…

I have the utmost respect for the ghost shapers who have paid their dues over the years mowing out blanks until the board is almost finished then have the “name” shaper come in, tweak some finishing touches, and sign it like he did the whole thing. I see them as the unsung heroes of the craft. Many of them are as good as or maybe sometimes even better than the ones they shape for. They should recieve more credit for their contribution to the art of shaping boards.

Very difficult, we raised prices by $15 last year and had to deal with a million guys have a cow over an extra $15 (or it sure seemed like a million guys) though some had no problem with it. The kicker is listening to some guy tell you about the KILLER $500 snowboard he just bought then he doesnt want to pay $385 for his custom surfboard…uhhh…otay.

I used to be a “Ghost Shaper” for some pretty big names.It was one of the proudest moments in my life.After toiling for years it’s kind of like jumping from apprentice to pro.A good production shaper can carve anything and do it well with speed.Unfortunately most of the really good production (“Ghost”) shapers are unknown entities just trying to make ends meet in a craft that they love.Take a guy like Jim Phillips,he is an incredible woodworker and could probably be wealthy in that trade but the love of shaping keeps him in the bay.So in a nutshell a lot of the ghost shapers may be better than the guy they work for.Think about it. R.B.

I agree, many “ghost shapers” have stepped out of the shadows to carve out a name for themselves. Everyone has to start somewhere and ghost shaping aint a bad place to start at.

The kicker is listening to some guy tell you about the KILLER $500 snowboard >he just bought then he doesnt want to pay $385 for his custom surfboard… >uhhh…otay. $500 is way too much for a snowboard. You can get a handbuilt snowboard made in the USA with custom graphics for less. Check out And it will last you a lifetime of abuse. Big airs, Big drops, big crashes, trees, rocks, etc. Compared to that every surfboard seems like a disposable, throwaway item. PS. Just keep the snowboard safe from the motherf¤#¤**rs at Air Canada. regards, Håvard