Surfboard shapers are the unsung heroes of the sport. They make dreams come true for wave riders to express themselves in the ocean and catch the best waves of their lives. A shaper’s attention to detail and their remarkable patience separate master craftsmanship from mass-production machines. I’m a firm believer of supporting your local shapers and local businesses. Plus, it’s ideal for surfers to ride gear created specifically for the waves you’re surfing, since every fraction of an inch of foam can make the difference between a frustrating surf session versus finding your “flow state” – the ideal immersion in any activity.
It’s a beautiful thing when you find that perfect board below your feet, allowing your surfing to progress. The fine-tuning of a keen shaper opens up new opportunities to ride waves we once thought of as unsurfable, and to do new maneuvers on the wave and above the lip. The innovative progress of surfboard design and diverse fin set-ups have transformed the sport in so many ways. Yet, shaping and glassing can be quite the thankless job with little or no financial incentive. The men and women behind the scenes do it for the love of surfing, because of true passion.
This issue of Freesurf is the “Beach & Board Buyer’s Guide”, dedicated to helping you find your perfect summer quiver. We asked the top Hawai’i surfers to describe their favorite summer surfboards in detail, and what works best for them in Town amongst other summer destinations. You’ll read tips from aerial masters and barrel hunters like Josh Moniz, Kai Martin, Moana Jones, Kainehe Hunt, and Makua Rothman. You’ll hear from Waikiki all-star loggers like Kelia Moniz, Kaniela Stewart, and Keoki Saguibo. From longboards to shortboards and everything inbetween, we’ve selected a variety of fun shapes and high-performance boards to make sure you have a blast this summer.
Retro and single-fin enthusiasts: you’re in for a real treat! In this issue, we share a history lesson about a shaping revolution that changed everything, according to Sunset Beach boardmaker Randy Rarick, bridging the gap between the end of the longboard era and the start of the modern shortboard. Inspired by the “Summer of ‘69”, Rarick gathers the timeless styles of Leah Dawson and Willy Asprey to test out some gorgeous retro shapes and takes notes about how they perform. We get into the nitty-gritty of rocker, fin evolution, tail shapes, and the ways different craftsman approached design to provide smoother rail-to-rail exchange. So much has changed over the years, but these classic boards are making a comeback for soul surfers who paddle out for “their daily medicine,” as Leah Dawson would say.
We hope you find your perfect match. True love is a beautiful thing. Be experimental, be authentic to your own surfing, and—most importantly—have tons of fun doing it. And don’t forget to thank your local shapers for making it all possible.