Why I said it takes 8 years

As Tom Leykes says,“I didn’t say everyone”, but the reasons are. In the first 4 or 5 years, with your training wheels on, how many boards do you really shape? Who is taking the time to show you the ropes, I mean really hold your hand and show you the right and wrong ways. Today I see all too many folks learning from some one who “learned” from some one who “learned”, so on. But not many had a chance to be launched into the industry by a knowledgible craftsman/person. So, with this in mind and the limited amount of boards, where does this quantum leap of knowledge and ability come from? When shear volume is there to be done, this is when the learning curve starts to leap forward. Walking into a factory and seeking a shaping job is like trying out for a pro sports team. Many try out, but also many wash out. It takes many years to get to the point that a mfg. is willing to use 2nd string rookies. It has nothing to do with fear of the “New Guy”, mfgs. just don’t have the time to babysit a novice or go over their shapes to clean them up. Now I thought I was such hot shit when I first got to the east coast from Hawaii. After all, I had 30 boards under my belt and at that, knew a lot more than the shapers I was meeting. I got jobs everywhere I went, but when I met Carl “Tinker” West, owner of Challenger Surfboards and tried out for a shaping job, boy did I have more than a thing or 2 to learn. I din’t know shit about how to use the planer, I wasn’t seeing twists, bumps or a dozen other screw ups. My wide points were in the wrong spot, rails were different shapes and sizes, but I was winning contests on them! People were buying them! But they were still pieces of crap when the chips hit the floor. So I started in 1961, got hired at Challenger in 1966 and by 1968 was shaping for Channin/Diffenderfer. You can’t learn to shape over night and without a good mentor, the odds go way down.

good stuff and well written jim… i think a lot of the crew here get confused between a SHAPER and a DESIGNER… i read all that about the copying etc of other shapes… half of them didnt now that difference and i think the other half forgot… eg: one of the label/shapers who team rider featured extremly well in the quiky pro here has only been shaping 7 years… did 500 boards of profile curves before even picked up a planer and handshaped one…i think he is a good designer of 6’0"-6’4"( and a good businessman) but im not sure whether you can call him an acomplished shaper…not writing him off mind you… just using him as an example… im also told of a couple of lawsuits happening in your part of the world where guys paid for a custom from a particular shaper/designer and he didnt touch it except to sign it… they want to get what they paid for… its all in the perception… i think crew need to be more open and honest with thier customers… http://www.feraldave.com

C’mon Dave aren’t you a grease monkey turned repair man turned shaper with a five year plan to milk the industry, exploit (oops help) the balinese and walk away??? get back in school bitch! Or at least go to bali and work for Free ( I think that’s what you said )for five years and rebuild the industry for them.

Honesty is important and if you sign a board you should have shaped it ( at least that’s my opinion).Are there any Mcghosts in your Mcfactory?? and do you Mcshape all the longboards you sign Ben oops Dave???

If you invision it, design it, shape it, test ride it, and find that other surfers like it too, then you did your job right. I know that shaping and glassing are a real art / craft. I know that I still have a lot to learn. But I wouldn’t freak-out if one rail is 1/32" thicker than the other. “If it looks good, they will come”. “If it rides good, they will probably return”. “If it rides good & proves to be durable, they definitely will return and thank you”.

Well said Jim.I started with Jim Phillips in the wood hooby shop at age 15 hacking away on Walker seconds…we built a lot of board for a couple of high school kids…this was around 1963.Jim moved from Hawaii and did what he posted.He hired me as an apprentice in 1969 and I got my first taste of the planer,I must have skinned 50 blanks before I ever cut an outline.From there I learned the basics and went on my own.Jim stayed miles ahead of me but over the years we kept in touch and I always looked forward to him arriving at one of the factories that I started (three in all) for a tune up.No matter how good I thought I was Jim would come in and I would see how far I had to go.You go your own way and then get help for the next step.I truly believe that it toook me probably 3 or four years and a thousand or so boards before I actually became a shaper.To me there are different categories…designers…designer shapers…and lastly the humble master craftsman that quietly toils in the background “ghosting” for other people.You never hear their names but they are the backbone of the business.So I guess that what I call a shaper is the guy that can see a board…any board… and duplicate it by eye…he knows exactly the right steps to pull it off and it will be perfect.If we had such a thing as Swaylocks back in the sixties there is no tellin where things would be at this point. Just another opinion…R.B.

i agree with you cl i will let my work stand in my own defence… i wasnt writing anyone off… just hoping some people would start to think a little about the difference between finishing profiles for a couple years or handshaping a couple thousand over the areed 8 years… http://www.feraldave.com

Right on Dave.Sanding a machine shaped blank is just that…sanding.A good shaper can get a 5’4 fish out of a ten foot blank and it will be right including the deck (might be a little soft but what the heck…just making a point) R.B.

I have to agree with most of what is said above. All of you feel that a craftsman is still someone who should be sot out for the quality of his work. There IS a difference between a guy who has shaped 10, a guy who has shaped 1000 and a guy who has shaped 10,000. The difference is usually diversity and repetitious. I learned from skilled craftsman and one (John Rice) told me from the first day, “a great shaper can shape anything.” And that takes time. 8 years… it doesn’t stop there. That’s just getting comfortable with the tools. You NEVER stop learning and if you do your letting yourself and your clients down. And that goes for every aspect of the craft. Not JUST shaping. A great craftsman is one who can do it all.

As a 10+ year novice, I consider myself more of a craftsman than a real shaper such as yourselves. I have a quick question, on average how long does it take you guys to go through a truely custom (Not just a stock/rack board) shape?

…Unless you’re really,really gifted.Herb

Dave, That can be anywhere from 30 min to 8 hrs. Depends on who and what. With a guy like Bill Hartley or Mike Notary we sometimes have to start with building the blank, rockers, thickness flows, ect., and go all the way through to the finshed shape. I’ve had their boards take me two days or more.

I read all this and take it all in and I understand everyones postion on this topic. Herb said something though that everybody has overlooked what if the person is truly gifted and is able to produce good clean shapes even after 10 ,15, or 100 boards, shapes that highly respected shapers look at and call good and this person handshapes every one no computer shapes at all.What then guys? I look at this way,it is the understanding of the art of surfing and years of studying all the available styles of boards and finding what you enjoy the way a artist studies all the mediums and then choses his own style.We must understand that the surfboard community as a whole is very closed minded to new people and new ideas and we must except that some can shape a excellent board in 10 boards while it might take someone else 1000.I’m just saying that not everyone is the same it might take you longer to grasp things than others (this is not intended to put any one down). I say give everyone the same respect that you want to be given, because some one new might teach you something.Thank you, Rick http://www.ancientartsurfboards.com

Well ya’ll Swayholics, I’ll be most likely off line for the next 3 weeks. I’m going back to Cleanlines and my old stomping grounds, the halls of Radford High school and the north shore of O’ahu. Will the old mans bullshit on how boards work be a test of courage and design, orbe sent home packing with his tail between his legs!!! I think I’ve got the quiver, may be too much macho for my own good! I started off with a single wing swallow, with more fin boxes that Carter has pills. A 7’9" “Greg Loher” retro round pin, single fin, down railer. An 8’2" thruster, 4 curved stringer, round tail semi gun. A 9’6" Island 7 stringer, single fin longboard. A 9’6" thruster swallow gun and lastly a 9’7" thruster 7 stringer round tail gun. You won’t see me doing tow-ins , but I hope my balls are still as big as I thought I was good. Love you freaks, Jim

Jim, Hope you have a good trip. Waves have been pretty good as of late. Supposed to be 6-8 ft. today. Forecast calling for calm winds up to Sat. FD

Have fun Jim…if the wood hobby shop is still there chip up a piece of our old resin off the floor for me.Be careful with all those boards as Stanley Parks may still be skulking around.Wish I was going. R.B.

Its been 14 years of silence, its been 14 years of pain. Its been 14 years that are gone for ever and ill never have again.

Rick, Do you think that after 10-20 hours in the water I could surf like Kelly Slater? Or after that same time I could operate on a human heart like Dr. Debakey? Or be an orator like Bill Clinton? Or be a driver like Dale Earnhart? Or a writer like Jimmy Breslin? Or have the skills of any really fine craftsman? With all due respect, it takes time and not realizing that proves the point I have continued to make to Jim. The only ones who see, the only one who know, are your peers. Novices and the public can’t see or appeciate. Jim, have a great time.

Greg, First I respect your and Jim’s opinion on this and many subjects that you have posted for discussion. But you missed my point or I did not state it clear enough,the point I was trying to make is that their are people with talents and they can achive quality results in a shorter period of time. People are all different and what took you eight years to acomplish might take someone else four years or maybe fifteen. As a whole I feel that this time frame you have set up is a good genralization but with all things in this world is felxible and you as a “Mastershaper” should encourage people to push themselves and the craft. And for the record I could also spout off a list of Masters of their craft whether it be film,litature or sculpture that have achieved aclaim from their peers in a short time and were considered excellent if not great by them. It takes determination to to do anything not time.I feel that with the right amount of determination,talent and a basic knowledge someone can achive their goals in any time frame. Much respect, Rick http://www.ancientartsurfboards.com

Sorry to use up so much space for the record I am not stating I am a great shaper far from it I posted these response’s for the sake of arguement and to encourage others to trust themselevles and accomplish their goals and exploit their talents. Thankyou plenty, Rick http://www.ancientartsurfboards.com