Phil Becker...

Just wanted to share something very interesting I found on the net:

" Phil Becker has handshaped over 130,000 personal boards. All his glassing is done on site – no contract glassing.

There would be no better way to trace the history of the evolution of the surfboard in modern times than through the eyes and hands of Phil Becker. He has shaped every model of all the evolutions of the sport in his 45 years of full time shaping. Quite a character to say the least. He does not do interviews and shuns the press. He has never worn a watch, or owned a TV, but he has handshaped twice as many boards as anyone ever. He still shapes, as he always has, 44 boards a week in the same shaping room he started in in 1958. He does not believe in contract glass shops, so all of his boards are glassed in his adjoining factory-and always have been. Single, with no kids, he splits his time between his Hermosa Beach duplex with his vacation surf homes in Hawaii and Costa Rica. His home in Hawaii sits right on the beach at Log Cabins, and his home in Costa Rica sits right on the beach at…oops, we keep that one kinda private. His calling card is his versatility of shapes and unrelenting demand of quality. He does one custom appointment a day, where he shapes the customer’s board from start to finish in whatever time it takes to get it perfect. An interesting sidebar that his partner put together is the fact that if you count all the steps he has walked to shape those 130,000 beauties it equates into walking from his factory in Hermosa Beach California to New York and back three and a half times. And, he is just as stoked shaping today as he was 20 years ago! "

That’s hell of a lot of surfboards under his belt… I still don’t believe it… all handshaped and glassed in his factory, the sameone he started shaping on in 1958…

I’ve seen many BECKER surfboards but knew nothing about the shaper…

130,000 …No f&#ing way!

Cabeto

And some things that they did not tell you. His factory is kept lock. No one is allowed in it., but I have been in the factory three times. His glassing forman does not surf, and never has, but he is very good at his job. Phyl now uses the pre machined blanks. FYI

How can this be? 44 a week divided by five days means over eight per day. If it takes him only an hour his time is full. Heck, no kids, no wife, no life, why not?

Apparently there is also a force doing all the glassing too. Maybe those are the guys with the time to use the vacation houses. Or maybe there’s a machine in the back lot.

Log Cabins is served by a one-lane, one-way road without even parking on most of the road shoulder. I assume the containers of new blanks just ‘flow’ in there between the trees that closely line the road.

Something’s likely overstated in the post you found, Cabeto.

Howzit Honolulu, I remember watching 1 of the Johnson brothers shape 7 boards in 4 hours and still had time to B.S with me. Log Cabins was one of my favorite breaks when I lived on the North Shore of Oahu, but it was called dynamites back then, might have something to do with the bottom there. Have you ever dove there, the reef is much worse than Pipe. I especially like the mushroom coral head that is exposed at low tide. Aloha, Kokua

Quote:
How can this be? 44 a week divided by five days means over eight per day. If it takes him only an hour his time is full. Heck, no kids, no wife, no life, why not?

Apparently there is also a force doing all the glassing too. Maybe those are the guys with the time to use the vacation houses. Or maybe there’s a machine in the back lot.

Log Cabins is served by a one-lane, one-way road without even parking on most of the road shoulder. I assume the containers of new blanks just ‘flow’ in there between the trees that closely line the road.

Something’s likely overstated in the post you found, Cabeto.

The house at Log Cabins is a vacation home so he doesn’t need to have blanks delivered there, to give the original poster credit.

44 per week is a remarkable pace to keep. But, if you keep in mind these things, it becomes possible

  1. no trips to pick up blanks (someone else does it)

  2. no glassing

  3. no sanding

  4. no artwork or pinlining or tints

A good shaper spends at most two hours on a shape for a longboard. If Phil is faster than most, and has a staff to take care of the rest, it is possible. I know that now he has a stable of shapers, and a set of shops selling boards and other surfing wares. Still, even considering all these issues, that is a remarkable pace.

Blakestah to clarify, even though his name is on there Phil does not own the shops I actually think Phil doesnt even own the name “BECKER SURFBOARDS”

Dave Hollander does. Phil Just does boards thats it thats all he doesnt have anything to do with the shops other than namesake.Im pretty sure he has a miller to, a guy who roughs out the shapes for himso he can knock them out fast. I could be wrong on the miller part.

Hey Bangman… a glasser that has never surfed… well I guess that at least he has gone to the beach once or more times…

Belive it or not there is a guy down here in Costa Rica who shapes surfboards and he has never gone to the beach, not even once… he has only seen waves, the ocean, the beach and guys surfing on videos… and his shapes are fairly nice… he is a young nicaraguan guy who works for a friend of mine who owns a surfboard factory, he learned to shape and now he is a shaper that has never surfed…

amazing hu!

Cabeto

Phil actually shapes eleven boards on a good day. He has 2-3 other shapers that shape start to finish. One of his main shapers Jose is from El Salvador doesn’t surf. Phil has taught him the mechanics of his shapes and does well after working in the factory for a few decades sanding, hot coating, glossing, air brushing etc… He also sells blanks other shapers in the area, that’s why the numbers might be considered on the high side. Although the majority of the blanks ordered are for his orders. Very driven by numbers and money, as he used to say “greed is good”. Phil is a part owner of Becker Inc with Dave Hollander who handles the retails and Steve Mangiagli the owner of the glass shops. He shapes the numbers, but the boards reflect it.

alot of knowledgable posts here.

But missing one important fact,I’m not sure

about Phil Beckers current speed shaping but

20 years ago he was known as one of the fastest

in the Biz…with 20 minute boards being done.

funny you mention phil’s speed shaping. he has a model called the “speed shape” nothing about the design say’s speed. after asking phil why it’s called a “speed shape”? he said, “it’s called the speed shape is because it’s the fastest board he shapes in the line up”. hence the model name “speed shape”/ :wink: we get a good chuckle everytime we would see one. phil has an odd sense of humor. must be due to having been cooped up in the dust all these years.

I once owned a Becker “hybrid” board (longboard nose, pulled in tail). It was terrible, didn’t surf well at all. I tried for months in all kinds of conditions, but the board just didn’t work. (I’m sure not all of his boards shared this trait or he would have been out of business long ago).

That much said, maybe shaping a board in 20 minutes is not such a grand idea.

I rode mid to long Beckers for 10 years or so. Probably had at least 5. Some broke in half, all delamed and none rode very good(I thought it was just me). When I finally got on a good board(made by Paul Gross), I started and have continued to enjoy surfing as much as I did as when I was a stoked 12 year old riding a 9-0 Dewey Webber.

Flying across a 2-3 foot point wave for 150 yards on my 10-4 Simmons outline was an unrealized distant dream on the Beckers.

Roger

Cabnto, never surfing and glassing is one thing. Never surfing and shapping it another. The glasser at the Becker shop glassed my Lance Carson Classic 60s longboard did a great job. I’m not sure I would want a shapper that has never surfed to shape my board. But again that is me. If it works it must be right.

another interesting thing about Phil is that he is a pretty darn good motorcycle rider with a bit of an affinity for exotic Italian Motorcycles…from a Laverda 1000 Jota to a Ducati 900SS.

He built me the best 7’6" round pin to take to Hawaii about 25 years ago that I have ever had. And I still have it. As for mid size boards…Phil can just about claim creationism for the modern category with the LC3 of many years past. No discredit to Greg Liddle or Donald Takayama, but Phil brought it to the masses and made it easy and fun to ride.

Phils shapes are unique, I hear probably the most negativity about his shapes, I used to own a shop that would take trade ins and many customers complained that the boards just didnt work, I think the Beckers had the highest ratio of that complaint, I was in the south bay so I got alot of beckers and alot of spyders, Always great feedback on the spyders

wavelinepaul, Is that you? The Paul that I know and love from Wave Line? This is AL/Bagman. How ya been? do you know what the LC stands for? Phil used one of Lance Carsons rockers. I understand the folks at the Becker factury got a little up set when Lance came out with the LC-3.

You know Barry Jones, the Velzy guy just had his back worked over? He is setting/laying around tring to get it all back together. Drop him a line, I know he would be happy to hear from you. Glad to see you here. That is if it is you?

I have had several of Phil’s boards over the last few years. I have been stoked with all of them. I have an old 70’s Rick pintail he shaped that really flys. My current 9’ Becker longboard turns better and noserides easier than some 9’6" and 10’ boards I have. However, I have ordered most of these custom, with more V and less rail volume than the stock models.

For what it’s worth, I sold Beckers for a few years , back when alll the Beckers were shaped by Becker ,and I was generally pleased by the consistency of 'em. You’d get a couple of 7’4"s, for instance, that were identical except for color details - and the 7’4"s in the next shipment would be the same shape. His stuff may not be especially innovative, but the guy can do production work.

My old pal Mike risser has a small shop in Narragansett, R.I. back in '71. He carried Rick’s shaped by Phil, they were extremely straight shapes, no bumps, twists, boogers.

But on the down side, I have had several people tell me of shapers from his shop doing 20 plus shapes a day, by hand. Now I have been shaping for 44 years, 40 of those years professionally and I can’t for the life of me hand shape more than 5 boards on my best day and have then look like anything I would take credit for. The only way I could do this, is stick a pencil in my eye and give it the old “I can’t see it from my house”. Someone is lying or the thought of fine detail was left out