Years working together: 15Keanu, what makes working with Wade different?
KA: What makes Wade different is that he surfs 10-foot Pipeline and he can surf well, which make his boards that much better. He knows exactly what is going under my feet and takes my boards and really test them. It’s like a chef making food, the chef knows what his food tastes like. Wade isn’t shy to really lean into my boards and put his feet in the wax and give them a good test. I love that about Wade.
WT: I surf almost everyday and feedback from the riders like with Keanu is crucial. So I take what feedback and information they give and sometimes I’ll ride their boards too. Then I can figure out, okay I know what you’re talking about now, and make some adjustments from there. It is really helpful information from the surfers and myself. With Keanu, we are about the same size so we’ll go paddle out and swap boards, talk about it and I’ll get feedback: stuff he likes, and I’ll figure out what’s best for him. So it’s real and it’s crucial. I’m really fortunate that I can surf with these guys and get that feedback.
KA: My knowledge about surfboards has grown over the last just decade just working with Wade, getting into so much detail. It really helps what you’re doing in the water, knowing what’s under your feet and for me that’s a big step. He doesn’t just give me boards to try, he really explains what he has done – the specifics – to help me learn.
Keanu, have you been in a performance rut in recent memory and if so, how has Wade helped pull you out of it?
KA: If anyone has ever told you they’ve never been in a performance rut, they would be lying because every athlete goes through times they’re struggling through challenges they’re facing. Wade really helped me through those tough times, just opening my mind to newer models or foam dynamics and opening my vocabulary about surfboards. When working with a shaper, it’s about always being patient. Magic boards don’t pop out all the time. It’s about digging deeper to find what works for you. Shapers have the ability to make you great, but if you’re not honest there’s nothing to grow from.
So, there’s a lot of trust within your relationship, yeah?
WT: I think trust is really important, being open and communicating, because not all the boards work. Some work unreal, some don’t. So you need to be open and just have a good communication, like with any other relationship. Just being flexible, trying to make things work. Trust is really important because surfers are trusting you to give them the right equipment to do their job in little waves or even life- threatening waves.