shaping as a job?

Hi guys this might be more for the people of australia but everyone is welcome to put there 2 cents in.

I am currently in year 10 at high school and i am really confused as to what i want to do as a job.

A few things have poped into mind eg. police force, electrician and other sorts of trades but when i look at the fine details of these jobs i can see that they are just not for me.

The one thing that i am “hooked on” is shaping i would love to be a shaper. But i know how confusing the industry is to get started in.

Soi my question is how many of you guys just took the plunge into shaping.

Did you just start up your own brand?

Did you do an apprenticship?

Did you do a traineeship?

Did you do a TAFE course?

Any help would be awsome.

The pattern locally (SA) is to be a surf bum.

Drop out.

Make a few boards.

Hang around a local shapers.

Get a job sweeping floors, etc.

Work your way up the foodchain.

yeah i have done work experience with a shaper and since then i have been sucking up to him he said he might be able to give me some part time work over the christmas holidays

and yes a beach bum pretty much sums up what i am hehehe its a hard life being a 16 year old you know. :slight_smile:

Sounds like you are well on your way :smiley:

You are not a beachbum, you work 3 days a week and go to school…


Be a contract tradesman if you can get it

its the shit

work your ass off for 4 years get the ticket

contract out at 45$ per hour and go surfing when its pumping and all the other suckers are at work

just think bro

when you have a sickie from school when its pumping

whose cars are parked at the break huh

john smith plumbers

mick smith electrician

Blah blah

they all self employed before there 30

and surf there arses of when its pumping while everyone else is at work

making surfboards is a mugs game

this advice is true gold

you will thank me

leave school now if you can get into an apprenticeship

all those uni twats studying arts willl be paying off there student loans till they are in wheel chairs

while the stack shelves at pac and save

if you go to uni do a degree that will give you a job that pays over 70,000$

otherwise dont bother

be a rich ass surfing tradesman

Policeman is honorable. Odd hours so you can surf. You deal with the scum of society for the most part.

Electrician is honorable. Good money. Plenty of work.

Shaper is honorable. No money. May be obsolete in a few years.


A lot of people will tell you to follow your dreams, blah, blah, blah. And I’ll tell you to do the same thing with this caveat. Whatever you do you are going to need to take care of JOSH. You will need a marketable skill that people are willing to pay you a livable wage. You’ll will need enough to eat and a place to live. Someday you will probably meet some hot chick and you two will make babies and all that shit. You will need to be able to take care of them,too(or find a rich, hot chick). This is tuff stuff to imagine when you are 16, but if you live long enough it happens. Get a marketable skill AND shape. See what happens from there. Mike

“Someday you will probably meet some hot chick and you two will make babies and all that shit”

and / or , keeping that ugly part of it out of the equation ,

you can be a surf bum . And never get nagged by some b**** that doesn’t understand why you enjoy surfing more than being hen pecked and verbally assaulted by her every day…

The choice is yours.

No “hot chick” in Australia wants you if you don’t have money , so if you are a surf bum , no women hassles .



meanwhile …on the job front Shaun , two shapers I know are qualified science teachers . When business is quiet and / or the surf is flat , they get relief teaching work. Which helps them buy more blanks.

I started my apprenticeship at 15yrs old in the summers.

Twenty years latter I am still a conman-contractor.

I do get to shuffle work and surf alot.

Not all bad but the time for school-shagging-partys is only when

you are young with no dependents.

If you are going to work as an apprentice find a trade that has a

future.And a mentor that is a friend, not a user.

I try to keep surfing and shaping fun by doing it for fun-not work.


Mate, i cant tell you about shaping at all, but i can tell you this. Dont go and do a degree unless its something you really want to do. I know a lot of people who did this and did that, with a LOT of them not finishing, doing something completely different. One bloke from my year did a degree in commerce, and now he drives a courier truck, doing 300+ km’s a day. Another is a pot head who is good for nothing. I myself knew i would not want to do it, i am now a tradesman, and i earn more than most of the uni degrees my age. In the end, you have to decide what you want to do, and if you have to try a few things first, then so be it. Hard at 16, but think of the future, best to work your butt off when young, then relax, than the other way around. I work in a steelworks, and seeing 65 year olds, who have been on shift work ( 80-100k a year ) doing cushy homer simpson type work whinge about not getting enough doublers per week is, well, kinda sad i think. It’s all about balance, enough cash to be comfortable, enough time to enjoy it. Hope this helps mate. BTW im 26, and it feels like yesterday i was at school, it goes too quick!.

Do it as a hobby first, concentrate on getting your skills up in other areas to become employable in a trade…

Don’t know what you want to do when you grow up?

Geez I’m 44 and I still don’t know what I want to do!!!

G’day Shaun,

good question mate,

I started a carpentry apprenticeship at 15, bought a house at 19, and a unit at 23, I have been overseas many times, had my “young bloke car, V8 5L holden ute” and done heaps of stuff. I am now 26 subcontracting out to builders, 5 days a week max, surfing after work in the summer while all the desk jockeys are sitting on busses in traffic.

in comparison: a good friend of mine went to year 12, then went to uni for some weird degree for 4 years, been nowhere, done nuthin, got a heap of shit car, and is now working night shifts at a hotel trying to start to pay off his uni debts, you do the maths mate.

as far as becoming a shaper is concerned, I have had a bit of experience with shapers of late and its certainly not a money making way to go, I ask you; how many well-off shapers do you see versus guys in a little shed knocking out the odd board for bugger-all profit, my guess is the ratio is about 1:100!!!

my advice, do a trade mate, without a doubt, not only will you earn good $$$, you will learn all facets of building and be able to fix just about anything. working outside on sunny days, laughing and joking with the boys while other schmucks are staring at computer screens!!!

once you get set-up as a tradie you can always shape partime as a backyarder mate.

hope that helps mate, just my personal experience and views, hope I didn’t offend anyone with the “schmuck desk-jockey remarks!”


Here’s my point of view-

Finish school, cos then at least you have a choice in anything you do.

Then, if ya still don’t know what do, GO TRAVELLING!

Thats what i did.

You can surf places you never knew existed, shag chicks with names you can’t pronounce, drink yourself silly, earn stronger currencies than your own… AND get trade experience.

I’ve come back a half decent carpenter, it wouldn’t take long to get my cert if I wanted.

Thats my fall back plan.

But the biggest thing of all is it gives you time to find out what you want in life, what you’re good at.

Shit, I wish I was one of those 16 year olds who knew what the wanted to do and went and did it, but until the last few years I had no clue (i’m 28 now).

Now i’ve spent some time doing some hard jobs heaps of different stuff, some that earned bloody good money, some not.

And i’ve realised I don’t wanna spend all day doing a job I don’t like.

Some people love the artistic expression of shaping, the lifestyle… personally for me it would be drudgery.

But thats just cos it’s not my thing, just a hobby, for the right person it’d be awesome.

So, i’m doing a degree, and it’ll earn me shit loads of money in a couple of years.

I learn about composite engineering everyday. Carbon fibre and shit. very appropriate.

I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t the only way to get where I really want.

I almost decided to be a carpenter, but I don’t really love it, just don’t mind it, which isn’t good enough.

The dream is to use the degree to do crazy surf design.

Take some time eh, the worst thing you can do is burn your bridges, keep your options open and aim for what will make ya happy.

Go overseas, shag and surf your way around the world. It’ll show you how bloody cool auzzie really is.

Just my point of view :slight_smile:

Better than working in jobs you don’t like in your home town, killing time til you get old.


thanks guys some great words in there. I would still love to be a shaper cause i rekon its an awsome way of expressing yourself. But the most sensible thing dose seen to pick up a trade. My dads mate do all sorts of trades not to mention surf alot aswell. Owell first i have to finnish this school certificate thingy in 2 weeks then i wil give it some good thought.4

Oh and josh im not down the beach everyday cause i do have to work so i can earn money to buy blanks with. And i do have a hot forign girldfrind whoes name i cant even pronounce propely. hehehe :slight_smile:

Oh yeah,

and while we’re playing the fatherly advice role, heres another one for ya -

When your shaggin that foreign girl called svetlanushka or whatever, WEAR A CONDOM!

Knocking up some girl is the quickest way of getting into a job you hate.

Those child support payments have to be made.

Talk about cutting down your options.

Keep responsibilty free, it gives you the freedom to try your hand at anything you want…



And i do have a hot forign girldfrind whoes name i cant even pronounce propely. hehehe :slight_smile:


Thanks for the great advice Mike but it was Shaun who was asking the somewhat confused questions. Its okay. i’ve already planned what i’m doing with my life/girlfreinds haha.

Cheers everyone!

Pretty classic thread~!

" Oh yeah,

and while we’re playing the fatherly advice role, heres another one for ya -

When your shaggin that foreign girl called svetlanushka or whatever, WEAR A CONDOM! "


to put it another way …

"if you keep “it” in your pants ,

then you’ll have more time to use your real stick to ride waves "

or …

" no unprotected fun with svetlanooshka

instead …see that lip and go off …whooska !! "

Right out of school I raced motorcycles for a few years till I got badly hurt and was forced to find a real job… After a few odds and ends jobs, Carpentry paid the bills for years but I hated it… Worked a few other jobs then started opening dumb businesses that failed. Learned a little along the way from each one… Opened one that worked out well then invested time and money into Real Estate here in Hawaii… Had a few really good years… Still have that going on but its slowed a lot…

At 42 years old, I just opened my own company/label building boards and I can honestly say its not what I would call easy to do. Just getting open I made sure I had everything ready on the business side to protect my assets etc… Bills rack up faster than flies on sh… Well, you know… If I did this when I was just out of school I would surely fail only because I didn’t know how to handle the money side. Lots of things come up and you have to know when to say spend or hold… Like any business you need to be able to recognize opportunity when it knocks… How to negotiate etc. If you do open a board building business, I’d say do it right. Don’t half ass it… Although its not easy, its by far the most fun at work I’ve ever had… I did actually create this company to give myself a job while my other business is slow… I didn’t know it would be so satisfying… Selling a lot of boards helps!!

If I had to do it all over again I’d study hard for the Fireman test and get into the Fire house right away so I could retire early. Here in Hawaii they work every other day for 3 days then are off for 4 in a row… You can shape plenty on the days off in fact, all the fireman I know do other work on their days off… The surf schedule is unreal!! The benefits will keep you covered as you shape boards and make money on the side… You could actually be very successful building boards with that schedule… You could have the benefits and stability of a real job AND plenty time to surf /shape boards… Anyway, don’t know if this helps but good luck with your decision… Make sure you smile along the way!!!

You hated carpentry? Strange…that was the work I liked the best. :slight_smile: I was working for remodelers, short commutes, good money, side work building furniture & decks. The money was ok - I bought a house in the East Bay hills at 26 - but wasn’t looking like quite enough for school for the kids, retirement, lots of surf travel, etc. So I got into a business that’s done well, but requires time & the kind of negative energy I don’t much care for. Ultra-competitive, big personalities, small networks of people, lots of politics, hours in the car, big debts & stress…I dream of the day that someone offers to buy me out & I can go back to being a carpenter. And looking back, what I didn’t understand at the time was the entrepreneurial side of the trades. If I had started my own business in building, with the effort & energy & knowledge I’ve put into this other one, I probably would have done even better by my family.

Actually, I agree with the trades advice. Here in California, the ones with the best futures are Plumbing & Electrical. Plumbing is sh!tty and Electrical is scary…so most people don’t want any part of them. But they can’t be outsourced or offshored the way building cars or washing machines can, they can’t be done by untrained immigrant laborers, and the demand for them is not just in new construction, but throughout the life of any building…

Time & money to shape on the side.

Howzit Benny1, I was on my way to being a lawyer and then said no way and got into framing houses and learning how to build surfboards. Was offered a foremans job as a framer in Huntinton Harbor but moved to Hawaii instead and got into the restaurant business on Oahu. When I moved to Kauai I got back into the carpentry trade and some restaurant work on the side ( still made boards ). Ended up owning my own restaurant for 10 years then sold and got back into board building and repairing til I started back into the construction business doing electrical and plumbing on top of carpentry. Have also owned a mexican food wholesale business and made money doing graphic arts and own rentals and ATM machines in AZ with my brother. I have never lost my ambition to learn new things and I guess I’m a jack of all trades and pretty much a master of most of them. Yes plumbing is some what crappy but it pays great and I don’t consider electric work scary but the guys I work with don’t want to go near it. There are so many ways to make good money and the best is something you like to do. Life is one long trip and we should take as many routes as possible. I have always said that if every one had a job they liked then the world would be a happier place and product quality would be all time great.

I went to my 40 year H.S. reunion in July and was amazed that every guy in my class there had full heads of gray hair except for me who has only the tiniest bit. Was it the fact that I 've surfed most of my life or the fact that I followed my dreams, not really sure but I would not trade my life expierences for any thing and if I had it to do all over I would not change a thing. Aloha,Kokua