what is the deal with watching shapers work? is anyone out there open to the idea? i have some hopes to make a few boards of my own, mostly as a learning experience.

Come by anytime.

Hey Spencer, I think I saw one of your boards in Pismo yesterday. A blue mid length (7’ish) swallow, white deck and edge style rails. Ring a bell? Very nice looking board.

Some guys don’t like being watched. Makes em a little nervous. Others don’t want someone stealing their techniques. I never cared. If someone is paying for a board they have the right to a shaping appointment if they want. I think Spencer agrees. Funny thing is, I rarely get appointments anymore. I used to do 2-3 a week. I’ll bet I don’t get 2-3 a year now.

Since we are a small time company I let many of my clients join in on the experience of making their custom surfboard. I think this is why I get many mouth to mouth customers. I also love seeing how they find out that making a surfboard is not as easy as they thought and how it takes an artistic eye to have the surfboard come out really well. I have even had people who asked me to guide them through making their first board. No problem. They usually pay me to make the next one [smile]

Thanks. Unfortunately, the board isn’t ringing any bells at the moment. If it weren’t the likes of Ole, Jeff Bushman, Bill Cilia, Paul Gross, and others letting me lurk in the beginning, I’d still be struggling with holding a planer. Many thanks to them all. No secrets to withold other than, “hunched over foam, planing.” Blue walls, dust, and sweat.

wow, i am really excited about the response, of course i forgot to list my email( those willing could contact me. in addition i should mention that i’m not necessarily looking for instruction but rather whatever the shaper is comfortable with. sureley different people will have thier own unique ways of contributing. also, i’m located in the bay area and travel up and down california on occasion. so if you live in australia, i’m stoked for you… but chances are the lurker can’t make it. thanks again.

I’ve had the good fortune to watch a few accomplished shapes foil a custom board for me. Each one had a little different way of approaching things. I tried to keep out of the way as much as I could and ask what I hoped would be intellegent questions during the pauses in the process. No need to call out any names but I can assure you that some shapers are far more open minded and willing to step out of the box, so to speak, than others. They are the ones I’ve gravitated toward over the years. I’ve had some excellent results and some not so hot. The better ones came from the more open minded shapers. Usually I have been around until the board is roughed out and ask if I can come back for the final sanding. When you get to sight things carefully during that final critical process you can tell how close the board will be to what you’ve invisioned. When the shaper picks it up when it’s all glassed and says, I’ll like to ride this one." You know the meeting of the minds has been a successful one. There are other shapers that feel having the customer there will not serve the process at all. The standard line being that they feel the customer will just be in the way or be an interference. This will work for some but being there has always been what it’s about for me. One just has to remember to keep one’s place and be sure not to do anything that detracts from the process. Sharing ideas can be constructive. Phrasing them as questions nearly always a good idea, remembering who has the tools in hand and who the professional is. In addition just watching quietly can be a most enlightening experience. I have had more than one magic board that are the result of such a process. Mahalo, Rich

Well said Rich. I have had sim feelings… I wish I could have discribed it that well.

…(KEEP IN MIND:The prices are from 1975,and don’t necessarily reflect my opinion)… …Custom shapes,your blank(add $50.00)(from my hand selected blanks), …7ft.and under $50.99 …you want to watch $101.99 …you want to help $202.99 …This is who introduced me to the world of pro boardbuilding.He must have seen something in me, concidering the number of times I saw him run people out of his room.Herb

I’m with Rich. I had Doug Haut build me a board that was my design. You want to talk about a master shaper. Doug took what was in my mind and made it into a work of art. Everyone that see this board is stoked. Rich I know you were when you saw it. Doug let me see the board at every step. We would talk about what I wanted the nose and tail to look like, I would leave and the nose,and tail would be cut out. Then the rocker would be done the same way, then the rails. Doug let me have my say on everything on this board. I don’t surf it a lot since it is very gunny. But let me tell you when the walls stand up and I want to go down the line in a hurry. It is my call. I have tried to make my own board, infact I have made my own board but I can’t make it like I want it. Doug did what I could not. My hat is off to those who can, and those that will let you have your way.

the funny thing about watching a shaper work is the potential for witnessing disaster. a friend of mine was shaping me a board and took the planer up to the nose where said planer took large bite out of stringer near the tip. oops! he says, maybe you should leave. i agreed. i’ve been making my own ever since… (i don’t mind people watching me shape their board, but that moment is always in the back of my mind when they’re watching!)