Shaping full Time ??

Hi all

Who of you out there make a living out of surfboard manufacturing?

How old were you when you started?

What do you find most negative/positive about board building?

Keep well

1978, 28yrs old. Made the mental leap from the garage to…

The “creative” aspects of board building is what hooked me.

“Business people” who take advantage of “creative people” is what bugs me.

Do you have any tips for a guy that will be starting out.

i have been making boards on and off for the last 15 years and have decided to take the big leap of faith next year and to do if full time at the age of 35(hope its not too old)

What attracts me to it is the creative side of making a board, the science of it and it brings me closer to nature.

Dont have any gripes yet but maybe 1.5 years from now I will revisit this thread and update it.

where are you going to setup?

as a lot of new shapers get grief in the uk from existing brands!

If you have a “real” job keep it! I should write a book about this surfboard biz. Gotta wait till a few people die. The 'Illusion" of the surf industry and the reality are two very different things. I used to shape boards for BING and he told me “There is a fine line between production and art”. Worked for me.

I am going to go back to South Africa and do it out of there. My home town (Still Bay) has good point breaks and no local shaper. I am working this year to save so I don’t need to rely on a fledgling business for the first year. I recon I am going to get a bit of grief there as well from the SA shapers but the closest one is 45 minutes away. If it fails then the worst that can happen is I move to Cape town and go back into the same line of work I am now. I would like to approach it more like a business.

Feel free to shoot holes in my plan!

Follow your dreams, we’re all here for only a short visit. Good luck and don’t let anyone discourage you.

Hi Swifty,

If I thought I could make a living out of it over here I would in a second. Hopefully over a number of years I will be able to claw my way out of the garage.

Its a shame your moving back to SA, I still have the dimond hard you gave me in the pickle jar last year, still havent had the opertunity to use it yet.

If you do dicide to stay and set something up over here and need an extra pair of hands let me know.

Woody then you must come visist then. I will have good surf about 15 minutes walk away and its more consistent than J-Bay. My Misses knows our doors are open to the Sway guys.

Yah! Go for it Swifty. I wish I had started building them when I was 15 instead of 45. Every job has it’s good points and bad points. Do what you love and work hard, it will take care of itself. Mike


What do you mean ‘’ do it full time?‘’ Are you opening your own shop, or shaping for someone else? Makes a difference. If your own shop, with a retail outlet, you ABSOLUTELY MUST carry all the other merchandise associated with ‘‘the surfing lifestyle’’, otherwise you are doomed. Make a trip to San Diego, Ca., and check out the Southcoast Windansea shop in Pacific Beach, or the Hansen shop in Encinitas. Use their operations as a template for your own. It is next to impossible to be a pure surfboard shop in the traditional sense. The real profit is in the retail clothing, and other items. That side of the business will allow you the luxury of making your own boards, your way. Go for it, but with your eyes open.

Thrailkill just about nails it really, surfboards are too cheap to make that much money out of just shaping alone. I worked out some time ago that to earn anything like the money I earn in construction I’d need to work more than twice as much at shaping. However if you don’t mind making bugger all money and have no dependants have a go you can always do something else later if it goes tits up.