Ron, you’ve been shaping for Kai for some time now – how have you guys evolved?
RM: Working with Kai and new team riders, right off the bat there’s a learning curve. Kai and I met through Dave Wassel. Kai’s had an outstanding year this past year, and he’s helped me out a lot and I’d like to think that I’ve helped him out too. The bottom line, I think, is sticking with one shaper. You’re much more likely to reach your potential as a surfer. It really helps and Kai has been loyal. Sometimes, yeah there are times new boards aren’t working out but in the long run there’s benefits. Most of the time if a surfer hits a rut, it can be easily identified and fixed. I don’t throw Kai and other riders a curve ball, I might shape a board out of a different blank. And what doesn’t feel right with the board comes down to communication. If you can communicate the problem, it can be fixed.
KM: Ron is easy to work with and he understands. He’s not too bullheaded, he’ll do what you ask. Some shapers are set in their own way, but Ron will switch it up for whatever is best for you. His board works really good for me. Communication is really important, because if you don’t tell the shaper what you do or don’t like, they won’t know. The percentage of good boards I’ve had has been 100%. It’s pretty cool to pick up a board and know its going to work good, take it out and it surfs great, all on your first session. He hand shapes his boards, so that’s pretty hard, and he’s very consistent.
RM: We’ve had a good relationship. For Kai’s boards, we’ve had to make a few tweaks, like building resistance. Kai has lower tail rocker and the bottoms of his boards have healthy concave…it’s one of those things where you make a few tweaks here and there. We did that to his boards this winter, and he responded well. He surfs unbelievably well, and Kai is one of the true power surfers, something that seems kind of lacking today.