Shaping a business

Hey everybody, this is my first post.

This community is really awesome. The members seem to be really helpful, caring, smart, and well written. I have been participating in and administrating forums for the past several years for all sorts of hobbies and interests, and this forum is in the top two I have ever seen. Props to Swaylock’s!

I just got into the whole surf scene a couple months ago. I grew up and currently live in Santa Cruz, so I spent alot of time in the water on skim and boogie boards but never got around to trying surfing.

This last year I have been building a race car in a nice little shop my family is renting. I did an incredible amount of fiberglass and body work getting the car straight and flared, with a custom fiberglass front end. Since I learned to glass and honed my “feel” with bodywork, I decided I had the skills to build a surfboard. I had never surfed but wanted to start. I figured what better way to get into the sport than to spend some time “becoming one” with my equipment.

My board came out really nice and I have fallen in love with surfing and shaping. Building the board was really fun for me; I enjoyed it alot more than working with similar materials on a car.

I just finished building mobile light racks, a shaping rack, and glassing/sanding rack. I have decided I am going to start making surfboards on a regular basis. I will start by making another one or two for myself, some for my family, then my friends, and perhaps eventually, boards for sale to the public at large.

I am a college student, so this won’t be a full time operation. But if I get into it, I could easily scrape together a good 20 hrs/week to work. I am not a greedy guy, so if I could make out with $6 hr after materials I would be a very happy man.

I would like to hear about what people do with their passion for building boards. Any one hear make money building boards without working for someone else? What place is their in this industry for the little guy?

Thanks, Cassidy

how many boards you sell will depend on how many friends you have that will be willing to shell out for your sticks.

All kidding aside, it takes a long time to gain the skill to not just shape boards well, but also to glass them well enought to create someting that a surfer would wander into a store and say, man that boards looks like the one for me. A LONG TIME.

Think about this, you say your in college now…so what happens when you graduate and realize that there’s this thing called life, and believe it or not, you soon start living it. Time is not on your side at this point. It all starts to fly by a lot quicker than you would have ever expected it too. All of a sudden that 20hrs per week will shrink to 4 or 5. Maybe some weeks not at all.

You could go a few routes here. IF you are truly passionate about shaping, then make that your career. It’s tough but it can be done. You might not be the next Hap Jacobs but you can do it if you truly want it.

Or, you could continue to build boards in your spare time and eventually they will become finely crafted and after selling a few on the cheap to freinds or family, you could then make a few and put them in a shop on consignment. If those sell, then you just might get your foot in the door and be asked to supply a few more.

But making boards, shaping and glassing, is a long process if you do it right and take the time necessary to create a good product, it takes many hours per board for just one person. I am in no way of dicouraging you from pursuing your goal. Hell i even have the same one. It’s realllly all about time man. If you have it, and you are good, then you will make some money. Not a lot, but some. Though for myself, I find more joy in the process and the end product than the bucks I get from a board. in fact I can’t say that I’ve really even made a dollar on the few boards that I have sold. materials and time factored in, I probably lost money, but hey, that is not why I do it.

Good luck,

and study hard.


Sounds like a great idea if you can make it work. However the surf industry has lots of big and small companies that are trying to make a living. This makes it very comepetive to break into. You said you skim… the skimboard industry right now is much more open and can use competition. With prices of quality skimboards pushing $450.00 its becoming feasible to make money.