Knowing what I don't know

I just shaped my first board and it was a great experience. The board is being glassed now and I really enjoyed the entire process to the point that I am already looking forward to shaping a second board for my wife. But here is the stick - I want to improve my skills and “shaping eye” with each board, but what is the best way to do that? In other words, how do you know what you don’t know? The board I shaped looked fine to me and, although I haven’t ridden it, I am at least happy with the way it looked. But I am certain that there are probably a bazillion things that I could have done better. The problem is - what’s the best way to improve? Walking into an experienced shaper’s shop and asking for freebie critiques seems - well, it just doesn’t seem like the “right” thing to do. And I don’t want to take the board to the guy who usually shapes my boards because he seemed a little put out when I told him that I was going to give it a try on my own. Any advice? Thanks in advance.

When you ride it you’ll realize the good and the bad. How much you pick up on will dictate what kind of shaper you will become. It might look great and ride like S, or vice versa, and that is the joy/frustration of the whole process… You will learn from each one you do. Sometimes you will pick up on a concept/technique and make it yours or take it too far. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

I just shaped my first board and it was a great experience. The board is > being glassed now and I really enjoyed the entire process to the point > that I am already looking forward to shaping a second board for my wife.>>> But here is the stick - I want to improve my skills and “shaping > eye” with each board, but what is the best way to do that? In other > words, how do you know what you don’t know? The board I shaped looked fine > to me and, although I haven’t ridden it, I am at least happy with the way > it looked. But I am certain that there are probably a bazillion things > that I could have done better.>>> The problem is - what’s the best way to improve? Walking into an > experienced shaper’s shop and asking for freebie critiques seems - well, > it just doesn’t seem like the “right” thing to do. And I don’t > want to take the board to the guy who usually shapes my boards because he > seemed a little put out when I told him that I was going to give it a try > on my own.>>> Any advice?>>> Thanks in advance. T-Roy, We all start out blind, and thats not necessarily a bad thing. Spending lots of time on your new surfboard in all kinds of waves and conditions is very important, making those new connections between feelings, performance and surfboard design. I can tell by your sincere comments, that youre already miles ahead of the people who think they know something, but dont understand enough to know that they dont.

I just shaped my first board and it was a great experience. The board is > being glassed now and I really enjoyed the entire process to the point > that I am already looking forward to shaping a second board for my wife.>>> But here is the stick - I want to improve my skills and “shaping > eye” with each board, but what is the best way to do that? In other > words, how do you know what you don’t know? The board I shaped looked fine > to me and, although I haven’t ridden it, I am at least happy with the way > it looked. But I am certain that there are probably a bazillion things > that I could have done better.>>> The problem is - what’s the best way to improve? Walking into an > experienced shaper’s shop and asking for freebie critiques seems - well, > it just doesn’t seem like the “right” thing to do. And I don’t > want to take the board to the guy who usually shapes my boards because he > seemed a little put out when I told him that I was going to give it a try > on my own.>>> Any advice?>>> Thanks in advance. You probably did everything you needed to do to get it right if you are happy with the way it looks. I’m no pro or anything, but am really happy with the way my boards ride. The best thing for you to probably do is to keep shaping, keep your eyes and ears open, and look to yourself for improvement. Hope your board rides great!!!

I just shaped my first board and it was a great experience. The board is > being glassed now and I really enjoyed the entire process to the point > that I am already looking forward to shaping a second board for my wife.>>> But here is the stick - I want to improve my skills and “shaping > eye” with each board, but what is the best way to do that? In other > words, how do you know what you don’t know? The board I shaped looked fine > to me and, although I haven’t ridden it, I am at least happy with the way > it looked. But I am certain that there are probably a bazillion things > that I could have done better.>>> The problem is - what’s the best way to improve? Walking into an > experienced shaper’s shop and asking for freebie critiques seems - well, > it just doesn’t seem like the “right” thing to do. And I don’t > want to take the board to the guy who usually shapes my boards because he > seemed a little put out when I told him that I was going to give it a try > on my own.>>> Any advice?>>> Thanks in advance. Well Mr. “right thing to do” why don’t you ask some of the folks that have and olgegopoly in the surf industry what they would do. Your answer may lay there within.

My 3rd board turned out nice looking but I was having trouble paddling onto the wave. I couldnt figure out why and got up the nerve to do “not the right thing”. It was a little intimidating and I have to say I sat in the car a couple of minutes to get the balls to go in. It was hard to go to a pro and say ‘Hey, I built this, can you tell me why I suck?’ Anyway, instead of abuse, the guy couldnt have been any more helpful and nice. Told me my problem, gave me some tips and told me any time I had a question drop by. Thanks BPC. Maybe you could try that approach, if your board has performance flaws ask someone. you maybe plesantly surprised like me. BTW, my tail was just a tad too pulled in for the slop we were getting, he said it would probably be a good board for bigger days, he was right. JR

Well Mr. “right thing to do” why don’t you ask some of the folks > that have and olgegopoly in the surf industry what they would do. Your > answer may lay there within. Damn, I had to get one of those cut off of me. I was like that thing in alien.

My 3rd board turned out nice looking but I was having trouble paddling > onto the wave. I couldnt figure out why and got up the nerve to do > “not the right thing”. It was a little intimidating and I have > to say I sat in the car a couple of minutes to get the balls to go in. It > was hard to go to a pro and say ‘Hey, I built this, can you tell me why I > suck?’ Anyway, instead of abuse, the guy couldnt have been any more > helpful and nice. Told me my problem, gave me some tips and told me any > time I had a question drop by. Thanks BPC.>>> Maybe you could try that approach, if your board has performance flaws ask > someone. you maybe plesantly surprised like me. BTW, my tail was just a > tad too pulled in for the slop we were getting, he said it would probably > be a good board for bigger days, he was right.>>> JR I have customers come to me and describe a problem they are having with a particular board. I try my best to tell them what I think the problem is , to quick of a kick in the nose, etc. If they bring the board in, I am usually very much on the money or I can baffle them with enough B.S to make them believe it. Nah, I’d rather dazzle them with brilliance, honesty is the best. I remember taking boards to Inter-Island in Honolulu for glassing and having one of the employees rip me a new one for bringing in such a piece of crap. Ah, winning new friends and the fear of one more guy in the biz.

Riding experience will help with design. Shaping technicalities include symmetry - even rail crowns running down the length of the deck, lack of dips and bumps, things like that. Templates and tools like rocker jigs, contour gauges and such will help measure what your eye can sometimes miss. Just sighting down the length of the board visualizing deck/rail curves takes practice. Decent lighting doesn’t hurt. I’m sure that most of us that hand shape work harder than you think at getting it right.

Riding experience will help with design. Shaping technicalities include > symmetry - even rail crowns running down the length of the deck, lack of > dips and bumps, things like that. Templates and tools like rocker jigs, > contour gauges and such will help measure what your eye can sometimes > miss. Just sighting down the length of the board visualizing deck/rail > curves takes practice. Decent lighting doesn’t hurt. I’m sure that most of > us that hand shape work harder than you think at getting it right. From what I’ve been reading, it seems that many professional shapers are more than happy to give advice to a budding shapelet. Maybe the next time you shape a board and want some honest advice you can “do the wrong thing” and ask an expierenced shaper what he thinks. You never know till you try. I know…