Kerry Tokoro’s shaping factory sits deep on the East Side of O`ahu. It requires GPS guidance to get there, and even then it remains rather confusing. Once you arrive, however, his factory is located on a beautiful area of the island, full of nature and absolute silence—an ideal spot for an artist to focus on his craft.
And that’s exactly what Kerry is: an artist dedicated to his trade. He is also a solid mathematician, thoroughly understanding the numbers and dimensions and their correlation with the contours of nature—in this case, with water. His deep relationship with the sea gives him an edge and strengthens his understanding of how surfboards work in conjunction with the ocean’s many hydrodynamics. His surfboards are functional works of art.
We caught up with Tokoro in the shaping bay on O‘ahu to talk story, find out more about the current trends in board design, and get a sneak peek into what we can expect from the Tokoro winter quiver this season.
Describe your introduction to surfboard shaping:
“It all began about a year after I started surfing. As a teenager, my passion for surfing was running pretty hard in me, however, surfboards weren’t easy to get ahold of due to my financial situation. As a youth, I really enjoyed constructing things and wanted to understand how things worked mechanically. After some research on board design and the building process, I bought a surfboard kit and that’s when everything clicked. After a couple of attempts, the finished product finally began to resemble a surfboard, and my friends gained confidence in my newfound craft and started to ride my boards. My brother Wade and I formed a brand called Fluid Designs. We built boards under that label for a couple of years until I started production with Hawaiian Island Creations.”
What’s currently trending in board design?
“The majority of the surfers are still requesting boards that are a little shorter, wider, thicker, flatter rocker, and more volume than in the past. This creates more surface area for paddling power and speed: the shorter length gives the surfer more control and more maneuverability. There’re also a lot of guys interested in alternative designs such as twin fins, wings, channels, etc… I’ve also been seeing an increase in EPS/epoxy boards. The EPS foam is a bit lighter and more buoyant in comparison to the polyurethane blanks. The common winter quiver will consist of 6’0″-7’0″ all M7 models, rounded pins, and FCS II.”
Share some feedback with us from your stand-out team riders about their new boards:
“I am very pleased to work with athletes like Joel Centeio, Josh Moniz, Kainehe Hunt, Luke Tema, and Leila Hurst. There’s a good range of models in the HIC lineup that cover all types of waves which my team guys all have on hand. The feedback that I get from my crew is very important because they go around the world surfing many different types of waves and conditions, be it during competition of just freesurfing. The small details that they communicate with me help fine-tune little things. I’m always striving to improve my designs, to evolve, and move forward.” – Kerry Tokoro