i’m not trying to encourage negative comments at all, and i really hope people don’t write them. i was just curious what shapers - specifically in california - are nice guys. i’m not talking about guys who just shape for friends out of their garage, but guys anyone could go buy a board from. maybe they’re easy to work with, but mostly just all around nice people. bruce jones? becker? tim stamps? bob pearson?
What part of california are you in? If you are in San Diego, I just ordered a few boards from Brett Bender and he’s a super nice guy. Talked over what I was looking for, helped me on some design questions, and showed me around the shop to look at examples of other boards. Plus he gave me a great deal. He’s been shaping forever (I think somewhere around 15-20 years) and makes some quality stuff. He also has alot of experience making a wide range of boards. I’ve also gotten a few boards from Mike Walker and he’s a pretty nice guy too. He’s more of a new school type shaper though. He’s gotten alot bigger now though, so I don’t know how it would be to just walk in and order a board now. I’ve really liked the boards I’ve gotten from him though. Call TNT surf glass in Imperial Beach to talk to Brett, or Pacific Surf Glass to talk to Mike. Let me know if you want the numbers.
Rich Harbour of Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach, Ca. For proof just look at his website. www.harboursurfboards.com
He answers alot of questions in the forums. Most shapers wouldnt take the time to do that.
I once stopped by Eaton Surfboards and talked story with Mike Eaton. He told me about the old days, his bonzer designs, showed me around his shaping room/factory and even offered to let me use one of his bonzers. A really cool, down to earth fellow.
I think that most of the shapers around the world are nice guys, it all depends on how you treat them.
I’ve heard really bad stories about a lot of shapers, and when i meet them, they’re always helpful and really nice to me.
I never had a bad experience meeting a shaper.
Just treat them as you would like being treated if you spend 10 hours a day with dust around you, shaping against the clock just hoping to finish your work soon enough to have a surf session.
stay far, far away from james vartanian. i told him i would tell customers/other surfers about his shoddy workmanship after me and my store’s experiences with him, and he didn’t really seem to care, so here i am.
Manny Caro of Mandala is a super nice guy and makes really beautiful boards. I have a quad fish on the way from him.
cool, thanks guys. any more names would be welcomed, too. i just like to support good people when i buy a board rather than have my money go to some jerk.
Joe Blair, who shapes behind Mitch’s in Solana Beach is what I would call a friendly, informative, experienced, skilled, funny character who shapes very progressive short and longboards. Nice guy, for sure. Used to shape for Dick Brewer and Simon Anderson.
Also Donald Takayama is one of those really gregarious, talented shapers who seems to have friends all around him. And his nephew, Guy Takayama, is an extemely talented surfer-shaper, and always willing to share information. Doug
Brian Hilbers (?) Fineline Surfboards in Los Angeles. You can reach him through Val Surf (I think he works weekends at the Val Surf in Valley Village). Makes sweet shortboards, hybrids, and funboards. I have a 7’0’ “fun fish” that is one of the most fun boards I own.
Manny Caro, Mandala Surfboards. Good guy, ordered a quad from him but haven’t received it yet.
Todd Proctor, Proctor Surfboards in Ventura. I have a custom shaped “big-boy” thruster from him that rips.
Steve Seebold … Had a REAL good experience with him . He worked with me thru the phone and mail to make me 2 boards that were perfect . he really asked me a lot of questions and listened to what I wanted . he made me a board that was a copy of a G&S Magic I had from the 70’s . And then he made another one with some modern improvements.
He shapes for G&S . I wish I could give them "G&S" a good review but ...Well the first board they glassed came out fine, but the second one ...A copy of the first only with harder rails and concave bottom .... It came out bad... Pressure dinged BAD on the first use.. G&S told me it was my fault as I had a "special" board made and because of this it <span style="text-decoration:underline">Had </span>to be Overshaped which is why it Pressure Dinged .. But it was the same shape as the first one that did'nt pressure ding ... If you can get Steve Seebold <span style="text-decoration:underline">without</span> G&S I'm sure it would be a good experience...
an honor to communicate with.
Bob Miller is another all around nice guy. I remember walking into the shop for the first time when I was 17. I was there to place my first custom order and Bob stopped shaping to show me around the shop and talk about glassing and design. I’ve been going to him every since for boards. He also let me stand in the shaping room as he shaped one of my boards which is an experience I will never forget. George Greene, the glasser is also a cool guy but he’s always super busy so he doesn’t talk much. Bob doesn’t charge me much for my boards so I tip both Bob and George for their hard work which I think more people should do as well if they appreciate the work.
A strong second for Bob Miller & George Greene. Bob opens the shop in Burlingame (south San Francisco) 11 am most weekdays but George gets in usually around 10. If you stand outside the door and don’t talk much, he’ll let you watch glassing all you want. A $5 left on his desk goes a long way after he’s given solid advice. George glasses for John Schultze (SF SS) and others as well…
Also John Mel at Freeline in Capitola. He’s in the store Saturdays 11am - 2pm just to talk shapes.