I started shaping surfboards in a shed in my grandpa’s back yard and have hand shaped production custom boards for 10 years; An invaluable and exciting learning process of hard work and sweat. Over time the ‘hands on’ approach of handshaping thousands of boards
teaches your mind to imagine different waves and to mesh the vast array of surfboard designs to a wide variety of different surfers’ styles.
Your hands learn to create a specific shape that is going to become the synergy between wave and surfer.
Hand shaping allowed me to develop the style and character of my boards.
Over time you begin to find certain designs that work like a dream; the ‘magic boards’ I like to call them.
We’ve all had them; those ones that just go insane…fast when it’s small, yet loose and holding in when it’s big; the boards that do exactly what you want them to do and when you want them to do it. Well, the busier you become hand shaping boards, the more of a toll it begins to take on you. Duplicating the proven ‘magic boards’ becomes time consuming, backbreaking work. Try holding a planer in your hands just above waist height and being on your feet all day buzzing away foam. Your back, wrists, elbows, knees and eyes start to hurt. And at the end of the day you can’t be assured every board is going to stay at that magic level you want.
ver the last two years I have been using the DSD System (Digital Surfboard Design). Each board is virtually shaped on a CAD three-dimensional design program. I start by choosing from one of a series of proven ‘magic boards’I have on file.
These are my best handshapes (and more recent computerized modifications) developed over time through feedback from team riders, individual customers, friends and from just going surfing.
Then I adjust the length, width, thickness, rocker, rail shape/ volume, and hull contours to complement and enhance each particular surfer’s style.
Every surfer has a different way they approach a wave; the DSD system allows me to customize the board to the surfer, the type of waves they ride and the direction they want to take their surfing.
The true beauty of this system is two-fold: The shaper/ designer can spend time designing and refining boards, interacting and catering to customers. And the surfers (that simply want a great board which is dialed in specifically for them) can get
consistency, quality, and record quick turnaround for their custom board.
All files are kept on a database so your ‘magic board’ can be identically replicated at any time. Let’s say your magic board is/was magic, but now you’re 10 pounds heavier and it is feeling a little small…we get your file, pull your board into the design program, add 1/16″ or 1/8″ thickness to it keeping the rest of the shape the same…Or let’s say your magic board is perfect at your local point break, but you want another board just like it but slightly looser at the beachbreaks….so….we grab your file, add a little more bend to the rocker between your feet, or a little kick out the last bit of the tail off the back fin – and there it is; perfect, fast, loose and holding in through the tight spots! ….Or let’s say you want to put this outline on that bottom curve….this same board with a flatter deck and fuller rails, or vice versa…
The capabilities of the DSD design process are limitless really and help board design to move ever forward providing us all with better boards.
I was once asked by a customer when I first started designing boards on the computer, “What about the soul man. Isn’t it like cheating?” I explained these same capabilities of the DSD system to him that I have just explained to you, and when he understood he replied,