Professional shaper, glasser, and surfboard artist Barry Snyder has graciously agreed to take the hot seat, and answer questions from the peanut gallery about his glamorous life as a professional surfboard designer and builder.  - haha!  Any questions for a pro in this business of surfboard making?

Barry, thanks so much for this.

What is your personal go-to board?  Bottom contours, fins, volume, epoxy or PE?  And where are we likely to see you in the water? 

All the best

OK guys be nice.

Don’t make me send out my assassins.

My personal tastes vary quite a bit.

Obviously, as I create a new model, I have to try it. So I ride everything I make.

Last year, a 5’10" square-nosed, asymmetrical mini-simms style board I call the “Hitchcock”. Quad set-up on the heel-side, MR Twin on the Toe-side.

Right now I’m into wide point forward singles and two plus ones. My 6’4" “Black Beauty” is a stringerless blank I glued up as one of my “Dissect Series”. Love handle rail channels to stiffen rail a bit. Single shallow concave to flat panel vee.

I also ride a 9’6" Pig longboard made from an Jacobs template. Glass-on single-fin, Opauqe lam with resin pinline. Rolled vee bottom. No concave.

I surf Oceanside beach breaks mostly. Pier, Harbor, South O’side.

Wintertime, I head south when time permits. Like the reefs. Cardiff, La Jolla, Sunset Cliffs.

Out of the water due to surgery right now. Nearly lost my big toe to infection.

Too much barefoot action this summer.

I’ll be back!

Gonna make myself one of these next. Epoxy on PU foam. Torsion Drive Stringer.


two questions:

  1. as a seasoned pro, how do you take an order in order not to end up with disappointed client and what triggers you to turn down a job?

  2. aanything different you do when shaping EPS versus PU? 

thanks for taking pride in your work versus just chasing the fame and a quick dollar


Barry, could you name the top five or ten board makers on swaylocks who are not currently or formerly full time pros. 


One day soon I’d like to try make an agave stringer stubbie/fish. Would you send me a suitable piece of wood to japan so I could fulfil my dream.


Could you please correct my spelling and grammar if I have any mistakes? 


Assuming you have a wife and kids, what do they think of your career choice? Do they surf and most importantly do they get good deals on custom surfboards? 

Hi Barry - Nice of you to take this on!  I realize that your main area of expertise is shortboard oriented but here’s a longboard question I hope you can shed some light on…

I read in a magazine an interview with Joe Quigg in which he talked briefly about things like “1 1/2” of deck rocker" and “rail rocker.”

Just wondering if you know how the guys back in the day quantitated and measured such variables.  I.E. a straight piece of material can be used to measure bottom rocker by holding it at the midpoint and measuring various points between midpoint and the ends… but where might one establish a ‘zero point’ to reference deck rocker and even more weird (to me), rail rocker?


  1. Spend as much time listening to my customers as I can. Show them examples of my work. No “I’ll tell you what you’re gonna get” routine. I rarely turn down work. I love challenges. I’ll turn it down if they want everything for nothing. I often turn down SUP’s. Don’t do 'em.

  2. With EPS I’ll use less tearing tools. Rough sandpaper on a block instead of Surform. Used sandpaper like 80 grit seems to tear it less. I slow down a bit with the planer. I have a sander with an extremely soft pad and some screen glued to it. Sands like butter.

There are a lot of talented board builder here. Inspiring. I don’t want to affend antbody, so no I can’t.

Send me a blank and I can stringer it for you providing I have the wood.

I’ve become dependant on Spellcheck. I have to pay attention here though.

I’ve heard the “You need a real job” speech more than once.

Wife used to surf with me.

All three kids surf. Full price, Yeah right.

Deck rocker has been long forgotten to most current shapers. I look down the deck of many shapers boards and it looks like a moto-cross track. Especially in the fin area of the rails. Yikes!

If you use a rocker bar, it is easy to mimic and replicate deck rockers. Make templates, and measure it too.

Yes, I hear you on that one.  I spend quite a bit of time sighting down the deck (and bottom) using the top (and bottom) edge(s) of the stringer as my reference.  I whittle away with a block or mini plane until it looks right.  If the stringer edge has warbles, the foam will too.  

The rails take a lot of looking and feeling to even get close when hand shaping.  I guess that’s why some of the computerized shaping guys offer a one-sided scan with a computerized ‘mirror image’ reconstruction of the other side.

Some of those old boards had a lot of ‘scoop’ in the decks and rails.  Most of the modern longboards tend to be more down railed and dome decked.

I may have to break down and construct a variable rocker stick.  


Barry I’m going to give you a genral profile of 3 diffrent Surfers. Tell us what kind of board you would recommend.  All the boards will be for the waves in and around North County San Diego area. Try to be as specific as possible fin sets rockers rails ect…

  1. A late teen early 20’s guy a very good local looking for something a little different for a go to board.

  2. late 30’s early 40’s Surfer that is not getting as much time in the water as he use to. He wants to add to his wave count but not go to a Longboard. 

  3. Long timeSurfer Over 55 years that has been out of the game for 5 or more years and really wants to get that stoke again.

'I often turn down SUP’s. Don’t do ‘em’

had me right there.

easy to recognize the work of a committed pro walking his own parth

or as Frank Sinatra sang … “And I did it my way”

  1. Probably set him up with either a short stubby board which is all the rage right now, 5’2"-5’6"  or a lowered, easy entry rockered shortboard. Fuller nose multi-fin boxed for multiple fin options. Thin, with some tail kick. 5’6"-5’8".

  2. Usually, volume is key here. You don’t have to go longer to acheive volume. Wider not only @center, but fuller at both ends as well. I’ve been building these Alfred Hitchcock models that are a short wide and stable board. Usually between 5’4"- 5’10" range. I’ve had older surfers tell me they feel like a grom again riding such a short board.

  3. This is usually a glidey and easy riding board. Maybe a Mid-length, lowered rocker board. Does not have to be a longboard since he has surf experience. Maybe a two plus one set-up. Can be ridden as a single fin like back in the day, or put the side fins in for some extra squirt.7’6"-8’6"  If he wants a longboard, maybe something classic like a pig-style with soft forgiving rails. 9’+.

A side track from shaping, if that’s OK. Barry, I really like your creativity on the artistic side. You seem to be on a different path than the expected surf culture. More bold patterns and the like.

Do you have an artistic background, or more self inspired. What is your next direction?

Hey Barry, 


you ever do any grom boards? Talking under 5ft?

if so, what blank do you use? Also wondering where you would set the fin boxes. (High performance thruster). 


Any other advice on grom sticks is helpful. I look at guys like Stamps and Mike Baron (they. Seem to have lots of boards in the water) and they have it so dialed.  


If you were doing a color swirl would you prefer to use resin or paint directly onto the foam? Any advantages from either one? 

I love your work and I’m stoked you’re doing this for the community!


What music do you listen to while shaping/glassing/whatever?

Hi Barry,

Did you hangout in HB in the 70’s and were other local shapers into the growing punk movement there?

Could you share any memories from local HB shapers like Carl Hayward?

Did you ever see the HB punk band the Screws?


Been an artist my whole life. No formal training, just High School classes. Always drawing. Which I do still to this day. Most of my boards start out as a drawing. Got my start painting skateboard decks for the neighborhood buddies. Painted my first surfboard (Russel Single-fin) with rattle-cans. White deck, Blue bottom and rail, with a white Lightning Bolt on the deck. That was 1978. Got introduced to a spray gun from Dave Peterson @ Brewer a couple years later. Daves brother is Craig Peterson, famous photog. from the 70’s. Never looked back. Have been spraying boards ever since. I love the challenge of making textures and complex art projects. I have stopped shaping a few times just to focus on airbrushing.

Always been attracted to the art side of board building.



I use the 5’9"P blank from US Blanks.

Great grom blank.

6’0"P as well.