Robot shaper

Yesterday i was at home of a friend who imports a big surfing brand to Spain and we where seeing some boards, some new (some sweet Velzy’s and Takayama’s too), some used, and he showed me an entire rack of surfboards with “standard” shapes and “cool” airbrush jobs.

I must say that in Spain any Al Merrick, Webber, Tokoro, etc (you know they never touch them) cost around 500.00 / 700.00 Euros.

My friend told me that those surfboards with “standard” shapes where shaped by machines, and then no man touches the shape. “Now they just need people to glass and sand the boards, so this is perfect.”

The boards had an “nice” shape, and “nice” rails, and when i use “nice” i mean, “as nice as any Al Merrick made in Spain”.

All my friend knew about the machine used was “they use a laser machine… i don’t know more about.”.

The thing is that each surfboard will cost 150.00 Euros to the surf shop… while any other brand charges 400.00 / 600.00 for each board to the surf shop.

Do you know something about?

I know the factory is located in Bilbao and nothing more… i’ll try to know more about the process and the machine.

Anyone wants to be a shaper in Spain?: find an 8:00 to 15:00 job so you can shape from 16:00, but just for the love, no money on this thing (i know it isn’t something new)…

Never heard of a shaping machine that shapes 100% with no need for finishing/fine tuning by hand. Its not impossible but if there is one out there its news to me. Now if it was a laser that cut the blank I would think that it would be a fire hazard or it would leave some sort of burn marks on the blank or it would go up in flames.

I think exactly the same, so that’s why i’m so curious about this thing.

Maybe they just use “LASER PRECISION”, but, what about a machine that does 100% shaper’s work?

The closest to a finished shape i saw before was a foam from an aps3000 machine , and i wonder if today there’s anything more accurate… I’ll try to know more about that machine.

robot shaping machine? how about phil becker!!???

I heard Phil Becker sleeps some hours a day… what a waste of time!!!

Who wants a mass produced clone,

to quote Jack Jonson ’ there will be no fingerprints when machines become our hands’

each shaper leaves his own mark on a handmade board, they may not be laser presion, but the miniscule imperfection give a board it’s charactor,

Massproduced boards, have no soul, with a fully custom board you know years of accumalated skill, knwlage, care and attention have gone into making that board just for you, and it’s as indavidual as the person that created it. In the same way that if you surf the same board for years it becomes an extention of your own body and feels like a familiar friend.

It’s the human aspecs of the surf board that could never be recreated by a cold heartless machine. Imagine if in 50 yrs time the custom board shaper has become extinct due to cheap mass produced boars, then every one rides a ‘standard’ baord’ what happens is surfing loses it’s soul. history has shown us mass industry only cares about making money.

surfing has always been known for its diversity with all surfers being held to getether by their shared generic experiences of surfing and how this makes them feel, knowning that they experience things that most will never. Lets not sell our souls to the industry giants for the sake of a cheap board.

Sorry to rant, but this really works me up and I need to blow off some steam, I just appeciate the work that goes in to a custom board and I don’t wont this do be degraded because some monkey can press a button and out pops this so called perfect board, that sucks, I want my board made by people.

PS. maybee this should be on the grumpy old men trend

There is a milling (shaping) machine at Gulfstream Areospace that has the capabilty to mill a foam blank ready to glass.It will mill aluminum to almost a mirror finish.It cost several zillion dollars though and was designed and made in Taiwan.I saw a mock up chair they had milled out of some kind of hard green foam that looked as if it had been fine screened, but it was untouched by human hands.Both the cutterheads and the mounting blocks will move independently enabling it mill almost any form.The mounting mechanism has what looks like movable robotic arms with vacuum cups on it.I never got to see it running though.I.One of the engineers is a French surfer and said he would love to mill a few blanks but it will never happen. RB

Hello Woody_Waverider, i think everyone here in swaylocks agrees with you, but i was just wondering what will happen with human shapers in a close future with all this technology working for making money out of surfboards.

It’s sad but i’m really sure that in few years we no longer have a 6’4’’ x 19’’ x 2.5’’ on the racks of our surfshop, we’ll have the 2007 6’2’’ Andy Irons model, just as snowboarders have.

Anyway most of us will continue to produce our homemade toys with a lot of imperfections, and they’ll be as fun to make and ride as they’re today, and as they were in the past.


Cleanlines, that’s exactly what this machine is supposed to do, once it finished with the foam, this is ready to glass… but this isn’t all, the airbrush (“cool airbrush”) it’s done with a machine too.

In words of one of the owners “we just need some brazilians to glass and sand the boards”.

Really sad, but i think that’s “Evolution” when we talk about economy, nothing to do with Wayne Lynch or Nat Young…

Good waves.


I understand that the industry need to 'move with the times to compemete,

and I certainly intend to contunine making ‘my toys’

I just want to make the best board I can and I don’t care about making money. mabye I am stuck in the past. and yes I’m small time

i have a great deal more respect for someone who can make a great board by hand than if its made by a robot. ok I abmit I was ranting a bit, I used to be a draughts man, did all my drawings by hand, and they were perfect, but would take a long time, and could only be produced one at a time, since cad you can get perfect drawings in a 10th of the time and can reproduce as many as you want, but to me they lack beauty.

My grandfather was one of the last great master cabinet builders, he never wrote down his knowlege and when he died that knowlege died with him.

I know that in the close future machines will produce perfect board, cheaper and faster and more acurate than any person ever could, and undoubtedly there will be benifits to this, but i think there’s a greater expense in the long run and I don’t want to see our skill and knowlege fade into the void.

I guess every one will have different needs from a board, maybe I’m holding on to something thats becoming out dated, maybe I don’t get on with technology. maybe I think too much

I just know I’d rather pay more for a custom board than massproduced one, actually I’d rather make my own.

for me its about integrity, that just how I feel, I can’t change that, coz it’s something I feel strongly about, but i’m not asking for anyone else to agree with me, just blowing of steam.

look at it as therapy.

Funny, I run a shaping machine in the interest of making the best boards possible, not to make more $.

I have found that a good machine, running a perfect file, on high definition, and finished by a pro shaper is better than the best hand shape. no faster and no less expensive, just better.