did or does anyone mentor you about shaping or glassing, do you need to learn from a professional ? some of the guys here seem really knowledgeable but does that mean they know how to pass on that knowledge ?

I had a start in a pro factory but I think it’s possible to learn well enough from your dad or an uncle or a friend, I guess we all learn from many sources.

But real mentoring would require some serious investment in time and patience.

The whole reason I came to Swaylocks was to pass on knowledge, when I was a kid I was always run out of the shaping room, glassing room, never given the time of day.   So swaylocks is my revenge to those that thought they could keep it a secret or a form of black magic.  

Hopefully some of my posts over the past 10+ years have been informative, funny & sarcastic.  As for learning from a website, a lot of guys here have done just that. I’ve seen a lot of progression in guys boards that are pretty dam good.  But bottomline is that you have to understand and perfect using the tools, and understand what makes a surfboard go. 

Where do you live?  lets make some surfboards?

In the area of surfboard design and construction, I was influenced by conversations/discussions with Wayne Land, Ronald Patterson, Alan Nelson, Del Cannon, and Phil Edwards.    My surfing was influenced by the same foregoing list, as well as Jim Fisher and Buzzy Trent, dealing with larger waves.    With the exception of Phil Edwards, I surfed on an almost daily basis with these men.      All of them shared their knowledge freely.      Not quite true mentoring, but a priceless resource to me, as I developed as a shaper and surfer.    I’ve tried to pass some of that knowledge along, here on Swaylocks.      I’m not sure how successful an undertaking that has been.      Sort of a work in progress.      In the 50’s and 60’s, Windansea was the regional epicenter of surfboard design and knowledge.      When I started there in 1955, I missed Bob Simmons by one year, though both Trent and Fisher roomed with him in Hawaii.

I’m self-taught, but a mentor would have helped.  I wouldn’t say that I am a good shaper, but I sure could teach someone to be one.  It takes practice, patience, desire, knowledge of tools and materials.  A surfboard mentor needs to see mistakes before they happen, figure out how to correct those mistakes after they happen, and show encouragement.  One doesn’t need to be an expert in his field to pass on his knowledge.  Just look at professional coaches.  They produce the best atheletes in the world yet most of them couldn’t play if their life depended on it.

thanks for all you post here Resinhead.

I for one have learned a TON from you.

Most of what I learned about board building came long before the internet existed.  I’d visited a board factory a couple times in the early 80s and that’s what captured my interest.  Self taught by making copies of boards I liked.  Made a lot of ugly boards before I ever made one that looked near as good as what you find in the shops.  Much easier for newcomers today with all the stuff on the web so long as you can filter the bit of good stuff from the piles of crap on the web.



I feel very lucky to be helped out regularly by a shaper that was one of my heros as a kid. He’s helping me for two reasons. One, he knows I’m crazy about it. Two, and the most important reason, he understands that hand-shaping will be a lost art if those who know how don’t pass it on to the younger and enthusiastic guys. A very different experience than when I “shaped” (disaster more like it) my first board when I was 18. No one would tell you anything back then.


Would be an interesting IP trace.

The anwser is yes you can learn to shape on,read,read. and a big thanks to all that contribute.

“Words of Iron”

A surfboard mentor needs to see mistakes before they happen, figure out how to **correct **those mistakes after they happen, and show encouragement.

The ABC’s of teaching the craft.

Me, only 65 like Resinhead run out and got revenge

Got the

"What? You writing a book.

Almost self-taught.

“Boy” is my student

My experience and advice

Never think they can handle it.

Boy’s #1 fall down good

#2 Handled planer well Killer job

#3 Overconfident me

Finally decided to check after noticing planer was making short strokes beyond normal

OMG! Barely saved it. And told him it was my fault.

Busted ego for both of us.

Funny, today on our day job I told him

I want you to shape me a board

Boy sez, yeah?

I sez yep

A 12 footer.

I’m covered with the saying

Those that do, do

Those that don’t teach!


I bumbled along trying from one mistake to the other, each time going for a better result, but it is hard to tell where you are going wrong without an experienced mentor.

Tinker snatched me away from Bob Rible and immersed me into advanced Surfboard building, sanding, glassing, fins, hot coat, glossing and shaping. It is hard to be a one trick pony and survive in the board building world. Now 50 years later, I have mentored many craftpersons, here on Swaylocks there is Mike Daniel and Roger Brucker AKA Cleanlines.

Today it is Zak Flores, 14 years old, no where near a pro shaper yet, but is learning to shape with the planer and avoiding relying on the Surform, if I live long enough, he should make the mark.

I got a ton of shit for one, doing my shaping videos and “giving away all those secrets” and showing more people how to shape, I watch medical shows and have seen complicated surgery, would anyone like a tumor removed from their brain by me, I don’t think so, shaping is a difficult trade to learn. How many fledgling shapers have the resources to last out the learning curve ? we’re talking hundreds of boards before anything starts to click and a decent shape comes out in a fairly easy manner. I had a board fight me this week, a low spot along a rail that refused to show its self and go away, this is after close to 50,000 shapes. The biggest mistake beginners have is, thinking they are not cutting enough with the planer and going for more action, I do a zillion small and I mean small cuts / passes and the foam comes off rather quickly, but they are looking for something to be happening quickly and this gets them in over their heads, it’s too late by then

Words of GOLD!


Agreed, one can learn the process of shaping on Sways, but the experience of shaping can only be achieved by doing.  I’ve always said, one can learn to sail by reading, but throw him into a boat and he will be humbled.

Well said.         And, as you point out, the same is true of surfboard shaping.     Truth be told, every shaper of any renown, went through more than one humbling shaping experience along the way.       Don’t ask me how I know!