Shaper du jour?

DJR

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2018
810
913
Carolina Beach NC
over the years we’ve all seen shapers be the hot commodity of the day -
how or what dictates this? And this by no means is a judgement to who deserves it or not by any stretch of the imagination-
for example a few years back it was Pavel, Christensen, Lovelace, Manny Caro, and now Andreini seems to be getting his due at long last - Skip is eternal apparently and for good reason
who next and why?
 

shapewright

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2006
934
932
USA California
It is soup dejour, I watched the mass migrations to Gene,Tyler, Rich, my self for a while.
The buying public is not that savvy about the surfboard itself, but follow the rhetoric about it.
It is one reason I invite nearby or visiting client to sit in on the shaping of their board. I want an educated client base, I see a myriad of labels come through the Ding King next door, I can spot the computer shape almost instantly, they all seem off the same format.
Robin Kegal had his run, John Wesley, Wayne Rich stays near the top, it is an evolution
 

Patrick Riley

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
408
744
Jacksonville Beach
I'll take a shot at this, most likely without actually answering the final question. All the examples you gave have some traits that set them apart, but also give them commonality. Pavel may not be one of the best business-wise to work with (Hearsay is all I have to go by) but his shapes are quality and proven, his name also lends credibility to a design he was a part of spawning.

Gene Cooper - not mentioned, opened my eyes to the craftsman quality side of building longboards and just what was possible on that spectrum, they were out of reach at that time in my life though but it spoiled me into not accepting status quo crap. He continues to be the shaper I hold in one of the highest regards.

Chris Christenson, who I'm partial to because he was my first access to real quality surfboards at an affordable price - see next sentence. My first real Log was a 9'8 moonlight-glassed, heavy traditional single fin CC slider that I got around probably 1999'ish (purchased used through a close mutual friend at a steal) that I kept and surfed for over 20 years. That board ruined me when I looked at some of the other longboards I saw at the time. That taught me the value in buying a board that will last. Chris learned and shaped under some of the greats and was *one of the first of the younger generation to be consistent in refining and updating traditional shapes like eggs, fish, etc, while still paying homage to their roots. He also pushed cutting-edge big wave board design as well as the endeavors into his passion for snowboarding and contributing to that. I know Chris has gotten some flack for CNC'ing boards and I actually asked him about it last time we had lunch. His answer made sense, He basically said I either had to adapt to technology or be replaced by it. My boards are all my designs and I've worked hard to get to where I'm at, I'd rather see more people riding my shapes than less. I actually think new member and friend @ColeH drew a great parallel. He said something to the effect of "I don't mind buying a CNC'd shape from a great shaper, it's like buying a print from a great artist, it's not the original, but it's still just as beautiful." Chris has become an extremely good businessman without a ton of social media presence which really says something in this day and age.

Manny pushed and continues to push innovative designs and pulls them off with elegance and simplicity while maintaining what seems to be his core values and principles. I remember first seeing his shapes on Swaylocks and thinking how elegant and refined they were while still being minimalist in execution. Attention to detail in subtle ways. Modern art.

Lovelace I put in the category of Manny with more flair, experimental but functional and attention to detail that is literally worth the wait, and boards that can be challenging to ride which in my limited exposure to them is true, I felt lost the first time I hopped on a V-bowls, but that left me excited. Derek Hynd talks about not wanting to ride boards that are easy to ride in one of the Kidmann films and I totally did his perspective. I also applaud Ryan's unwavering dedication to the handshape and although some may argue the nuances of the trimcraft label, I think it's a noble concept that supports the evolution of the craft and old world generational lineage of passing a platform and skills on to the next young crop. Something I see happening through a few initiatives like the CAP program that Logan at Eternal life surfboards started.

I'm glad Andreini is finally getting the recognition he deserves, I'll be honest, my interest wasn't really there until I read the gift. I have friends that swear by his boards and I was always kinda just luke warm. Reading a book like that makes you want to own and feel the medium that person has described, especially after learning about its evolution.

So who's next? Three-part answer. First part is a generalization that I'm borrowing from @JBorbone - We will see the surfboard industry splinter into two factions, with the eventual growth of the sport, the advent and future proliferation of wave pools, mass-produced surfboards will continue to expand and boom. The aspiring wave pool ripper from West Viriginia will not find the value in a custom hand-shaped board that does not help him land his high school surf team's buzzer beating air reverse for the win over Eastern Tennesse's rival surf team in the mid-inner-atlantic regional pool finals. Firewire and the likes will still flourish.

But I believe we won't lose the craftsmanship of our true artists if we are willing to pay them what they deserve. There will always be those who want refined craft that has drops of a shaper's sweat embedded in the foam, some for different reasons, but we still need to make sure these skilled artisans are supported. probably a bit biased, but I feel the Eastern seaboard has long been a hotbed of some amazing talent.

As far as specifics, I believe the East Coast will not continue to play second fiddle and be the eternal bridesmaids. There is a wealth of talent here that's starting to getting rightful recognition. Borbone, Falcone, Peterson, Beriau, Telinger, just to name a few who are already some of the names gaining traction not only out west, but Japan as well.

The young generation of shapers who are also phenomenal surfers are also one of the key ingredients that tended to skip a generation generally speaking. You don't have to be a phenomenal surfer to be a phenomenal shaper, but in my opinion, that kind of R and D is priceless. Burch, Flores, and the likes are leading a charge and I hope that symbiotic relationship between rider and producer continues...

I don't know if I answered anything, or this was just a giant rant, but I just kind of typed out loud.
 

Patrick Riley

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
408
744
Jacksonville Beach
It is soup dejour, I watched the mass migrations to Gene,Tyler, Rich, my self for a while.
The buying public is not that savvy about the surfboard itself, but follow the rhetoric about it.
It is one reason I invite nearby or visiting client to sit in on the shaping of their board. I want an educated client base, I see a myriad of labels come through the Ding King next door, I can spot the computer shape almost instantly, they all seem off the same format.
Robin Kegal had his run, John Wesley, Wayne Rich stays near the top, it is an evolution
Jim, your commitment to quality and craft is top-notch, just want to take a second to say thank you and let you know I appreciate the level of craftsmanship and commitment you put into your boards. I'm a nobody in the surf world, so I know I don't carry much clout, but I have a short-list of builders I really want to order a custom from and I really hope I get that opportunity from you someday soon. It's apparent to me that your soul is in your boards and everything your hand's touch and that's something that will hopefully keep an eternal demand for that level of a surfboard. I hope you are recovering and feeling better, please stick around for a while. This planet needs you.
 

tuskedbeast

Well-Known Member
May 25, 2020
265
325
San Francisco
,,,,how or what dictates this?

Tangible skill... which translates to functionality in the water... then add:

 
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dr flavors

Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2019
203
323
ca
desire wedded scarcity long ago.

not to diminish all the pretty boards, the beautifully functional artcraft but

guys on this forum perv constantly on the handshape

is that the gold standard? or the cult status?

christenson increased the value of his brand by decreasing desire for the object itself. he became a board builder rather than a shaper. appropriated a bunch of marginal designs and dq'd idolatry.

ci's mid has got to up there with the most desired shape of the year, even got a whiff of the rarefied jam air, partly or wholly because of dh and because britt and co are shit at meeting production demand

jon pyzel scored twice with the florence bros. back to back wins with the ghost and padillac. while the paddy was a niche win, the ghost had to be 2018's best seller amongst wannbejons and was solely responsible for some of the worst surfing ever to come to a beach near you

what about rusty? he is a great board builder and has done as much, if not more, than anyone to further surfboard design. runs a tight, efficient production and has been extremely generous with his knowledge for decades. but he designs performance shortboards and he's another cad guy so doubly jam dq'd.

funny biolas went on one of his rants about how producing performance shortboards for pro surfing was the pinnacle of board building because of the precision required by top talent. sorry wrong clique but

i'd agree. the reality is 99.9% of guys on this forum are total kooks and suck at surfing. doesnt mean its not a hoot and they aint having fun, but it does mean that their custom handshapes need only be beautifully crafted snd generally functional to scratch the itch

i love the hilbers rap about how hard it is to shape a surfboard that wont work. i mean one that is a complete dog. its fn difficult, so yeah have it with your chris with a k halls your elmores and arenals and burchs. maybe one of those will float up to skip status someday

in the meantime its really a stupid discussion trapped in a narrow minded little niche and driven by a fvckin little screen.

there are so many talented humans that never get their due. same as it ever was
 

shapewright

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2006
934
932
USA California
Jim, your commitment to quality and craft is top-notch, just want to take a second to say thank you and let you know I appreciate the level of craftsmanship and commitment you put into your boards. I'm a nobody in the surf world, so I know I don't carry much clout, but I have a short-list of builders I really want to order a custom from and I really hope I get that opportunity from you someday soon. It's apparent to me that your soul is in your boards and everything your hand's touch and that's something that will hopefully keep an eternal demand for that level of a surfboard. I hope you are recovering and feeling better, please stick around for a while. This planet needs you.
Went to the glass shop after dinner tonight, what surprise, I had been very frustrated and angry at how slow production was.
I blew up at the shop owner Sunday, it caused a rift and hurt feelings, but in appreciation to his determination to show me he could produce the quality I demand, there were the sweethearts waiting for me
 

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Patrick Riley

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
408
744
Jacksonville Beach
@dr flavors You raise some valid questions and arguments.

But I’ll just start with one.
Is the pinnacle of board building - designing high performance boards that make the top .1% of surfers better and if so, what percentage of the rest of surfers benefit from that? Or is the pinnacle of board building producing boards that actually help the average to above average lifelong surfer have a more enjoyable surf experience?

I learned a while back that 1/16” of width difference in the tail wasn’t going to propel me into the .1% bracket, in the process, I found out I enjoyed surfing as if no one was watching even more, and that if I could buy a board that my daughter may experience the same joy from in 15 years, it may be worth th it.

But what do I know. I’m just a shitty kook who enjoys surfing, craftsmanship and art along with all the other 99.9% of kooks on here.
 




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