Surfboard Templates

Before you shoot me!!! I have spent the last 3 nights trawling the internet and swaylocks for surfboard templates and come up with naught but a handfull. Theres heaps of info on how good it would be to have a template resource (there is one for keels) but thats it. I’m happy to set up a website that could be used for sharing board and fin template files. Its my opinion, after shaping a couple of boards, that just saying a board is a Frye Fish does not make you Skip Frye and am not expecting commercial shapers to have to give away any secrets (although they can if they want).

I have drawn my templates in Autocad, but happy to have any type of files. Files would preferably be accompanied by a photo/image of the finished product and text file of all the relevant details.

Ill post an email and website address depending on the response I get. I hope this kinda post is allowed under forum rules. Swaylocks for Ever


i think for the home-shaper, a website like that would be a good recource…or maybe we should just make a section of this site devoted to templates? in the recources?

i wouldnt expect to see a yater template or something, but if i saw one that another homebuilder made and liked it, i would use it, or start from there and modify it.

Obviously, having the Pro Shaper’s templates DON’T make you a pro shaper.

And copying a template is just criminal. You should design your own!

Copying a shape is almost impossible for a pro shaper to copy his own shape! YOU trying it is ridiculous and BIG HEADED of you for thinking you can even come close.

I once saw a very very big time pro shaper (whose name will go unmentioned, but let’s just say it’s a long name starting with a P) come into the boatbuilder’s shop where I was working and trace some templates off some boards left in the shop. Maybe it was not considered copying but rather sharing among friends. Maybe that’s waht PEET has in mind.


Any resource is better than no resource.



Copy or to create? Flatter or to innovate? Either must start somewhere. Template resource denitely helps.

Perhaps a similar format as presented in “Essential Surfing” by George Orbelian. He breaks down the rocker and bottor contours for each templates.

~ Ghost

I think this would be valuable to us beginners, and I don’t see why it’s criminal to use a template someone else has offered up as a resource.

Of course you can build a crap board with a great template if you don’t know what you’re doing, but you can’t build a great board with a crap one…

Additionally, it’s tough to learn to create workable templates without seeing others.

At any rate… If folks were interested in sharing some, I think that would be helpful to folks.

It’s also worth mentioning that some are available in the pdf of the surfboard construction book that’s here on swaylocks… although, not everyone might be too interested in the transitional shapes that are in there (of course, I sure am!)

Pencil, paper, tapemeasure, 1/8’’ masonite, saw, hand plane, sandpaper, and a good eye. Do it.

As I prepare to work on Board #0003 this summer, this subject is near and dear to my heart. I made templates 1 and 2 with a combination of the Thrailkill method and watching JC’s Shaping 101. In both cases though I had lots of images of finished boards and my own purchased boards to keep me on track. The biggest headache I had was a good flexible material to “connect the dots”.

I think an archive of templates would be great so long as they are submitted by the creator, and people use them just as guides. If you just print it out and trace it on a blank you won’t learn anything. One of the best tips I found on Swaylocks was to trace out your paper template in chalk on your driveway to make sure it is what you want before proceeding.

PS - I was in Linden’s shop last night to check out his new quad board and I was drooling looking at all the templates laying around!!!

I’ve copied numerous Templates from boards other people and myself have rated. Not only do I copy the outline template, I copy the rocker too with a special instrument I made just for that job. A good spread of templates makes it easier to find curves when tweeking an old design or dreaming up a new one and although it is very difficult to exactly copy a board, if you use an outline template and a rocker template you will get a board that will surf something like the original. How many times do you get requests from people to make a board like the one you made for so and so or like that JS my mate has got. Maybe I am ripping off someone else’s idea but they more than likely took on anothers idea in there turn.

I’m all for a template resource. If I can get it together I’ll post some of mine.

LeeDD. Don’t be such a jerkoff. Notice in the original post how he said this was a resource more for backyarders (who should be sharing tempates with each other) but he would gladly post pro templates if they were given to him. You are always so negative. If you have nothing valuable to contribute, then don’t. No need to mouth off to a guy attempting to create something very valuable for the rest of the Swaylocks community. I, for one, am all for the idea of a template resource section or site. Everyone has to start somewhere, and templates is only a small part of the equation. DO IT!!! Don’t listen to the naysayers.

Aloha Peet,

I don’t consider tracing a shape to be criminal. An outline of a surfboard is hardly a “copy”. It is simply a one-dimensional outline. That outline is a very minimal part of the actual board from which you are “copying”. The rocker, rail configuration, bottom contour, deck, fin, etc., are all part of the complex three-dimensional aspects of “copying” a board. Use the nose of one board, the tail of another, change this, adapt that, use a different skeg, add a slight roll or V. The board is guaranteed to be a far different board than the mere outline tracing of the one you are “copying”. There are no new ideas…just imagination added to a previous. Trace all you want and add a little of yourself and your own style to it. Enjoy the ride!


the best way to do a template is with PVC or some similar stuff and via computer to a CNC router…

…here you see a “double” templete, so you obtain 2 curves, for 2 different boards…

Actually, APS3000 ( is free, fun, and easy enough to use that I could look at a 2D pic of any board and draw my own version of it with my own outline changes, rail profiles, in 5 different lengths in 15 minutes. Save it all to PDF and get printed the next morning at Kinko’s for 5 bucks a pop.

Or I could cop the thing curve for curve from an imported pic and the finished product would still be different enough from the shaper’s result that there’s really very minimal ethical dilemma anyway…

did LeeD show up? I musta skipped his post…

I agree, ever since i found aps3000, my surboard shaping life has become so much easier. The “print full size outline” option negates the kinko step. My method:

Make a shape on the program, print out the pdf and really take a look at it on paper. I can turn my head 90 degrees as much as i like, but having that pdf print out makes all the diff. Then once i have something i’m sure of, i’ll print out the full size out line, use my 3m adhesive spray and glue all the different pieces on my strip of 1/8 in. masonite. Then jigsaw about an 1/8 of an inch around the outline and clean up with surform/sanding block. Total time is about 30 min if i have all necessary supplies available. But that usually is not the case, ha.

I do have a ? to all those more familiar with aps3000 than i:

It maybe because i’m using a mac (OSx) but i can’t seem to make use of all the functions (ie. importing and what not) Can anyone shed some light on if there is something i’m overlooking or if there is something more to doing this. I’ve heard of people saying they can import an image and pretty much trace it’s outline…that would be sweeeeeeeeet.

All that stuff is (should be) right there if you click on “FILE” and choose “image board” and then browse your own image files for whatever images you have saved to your computer. And your saved APS boards are “Ghost” outlines you can compare a given shape you’re working on with.

I use a drawing program like adobe illustrator to make a vector file of a board’s outline. I massage the curves until I’m happy then I blow it up to the actual size in photoshop, cut it up into 11"x17" sections and print it out on heavy paper. You can make the sections 8"x11", but it would be more sections. I tape the sections together and then use that to trace over a blank. I roll up the templates when I’m done. We also trace the shapes onto 1/4" or 1/8" masonite and plywood to make heavier solid templates. The solid templates are easier to use, but harder to store.

Using the drawing program gives me the freedom to play around with the curves. You can use a picture of a board as a model and copy that as a starting point. We have also used boards we own and trace them onto masonite or ply, and we have tools that can copy the rocker of a board, copy the side contour from rail to center, or copy the rail/rocker line. A lot of times the rocker at the rail is different from the bottom rocker. These tools only help guide you. It’s your hands and eyes that ultimately create the finished board.

I believe that the great shapers create boards that most people can’t copy perfectly 100%. There are some really subtle nuances in their work that makes them special. That’s why these shapers are so great. That doesn’t take into consideration what a good glass job does to finish off a great shape. The 2 parts are equally important to get a good board.

As far as ripping off someone’s design, we’re all doing that to small degree. Only new thing I’ve seen in a long time has been Jeff Alexander’s Gemini with the crazy nose and four fins, and that looks like it was copied from a hydroplane race boat.

In 1968 my father drew us a design for a board that was based on a Navy destroyer ship. Pointed narrow nose, low hips and wide tail. It even had 3 fins, but in a different configuration. My brother sent it to Greg Noll or someone like that and never heard back. Today that planshape is very similar to the thruster, and a lot of racing sailboats.

most top shaper have their own shapping machine or use someone elses if you have a llk machine with scaner you can scan any board with in 1/64 of a inch or closer which most shaper do and everone is copying each other and with all the other program if you put in the same mesurments you will get the same board now days the material and the glass job make a board as much if not more than the shaper

and with the new technology and material things are going to be changing fast…

Hi everyone,

I have the url, and always wanted to use it for this purpose (template sharing).

Why it didn’t happen, I don’t know? Maybe because I love swaylock, and don’t want to “make” another one…but the fact is that I could make this template site only ‘file orientated’. No chat or so, only data.

I am a shaper in The Netherlands, (the only pro one) and I will be nothing without the input I got from US shapers and swaylock. I consider that I got to the level I have because my goal was “ to mach US standards quality and shapes. Copy? I do not think so, inspiration? Yes; admiration? Certainly.

Due to very small and weak waves here, only outlines and flow can be use to make boards. The rest is up to me to match the Dutch conditions…

Anyway, I have some programming skill, free web server (big ones, and free designer) at my disposition. The only thing I do not have right now is time (as I am in full shaping/glassing/polishing season).

This is a good winter project.

I f you guys show interest, I will do it. It should be cool to share DSD, EPS3000, KKL, Illustrator, Shape3d files all over the place. We could also put security for the Pro shaper, like this they will always have data online as they travel the world…

Anyway shoot-up with input, I will keep it in stock and use it when I make it



And remember, always use Lokbox to plug your fishes…….:slight_smile:

hey SharkCountry,

just a little piece of advice: you can design 1:1 scale in Illustrator, and divide the drawing into printing pages, without using Photoshop at all, and Illustrators lines up the pages for you to print.

Check the “print” options for details, or let me know which version of AI you’re using and I’ll try to remember where the option is (they keep changing it)