What’s your specialty?
My specialty is building epoxies. Working with carbon and cork and wood veneers and vacuum bagging. Higher end, tough, light boards. That’s what drives me everyday. To make boards that perform at a very high level, are super light, and can take a beating. Not indestructible, just tough as hell. That’s what turns me on. I never thought that I would be “the world’s best shaper” and in fact I gave up on trying to grow a surfboard “label” a long time ago. My label, Inspired Surfboards does okay. I sell to a bunch of my friends, and friends of friends, and I’m very happy with that. Selling sucks.
I’ve been very fortunate to hook up with Matt Biolos and …Lost surfboards. Matt has some of the best shapers on the planet, and their brand is kind of a big deal. So I am very blessed to be able to build …Lost surfboards in all of my different technologies. And it’s the most fun I could possibly have, while growing a little “niche” in this industry. Matt’s super fun to bounce ideas off of, and he likes experimenting with new tech — which is perfect for me. I like all of the guys at …Lost it’s a great crew to be involved with. I feel like there is a real future there, which is kind of rare right now.
What’s the best board you’ve ever shaped?
I don’t know if one stands out more than the rest. For me, there is always something that I want to improve on. It’s a curse. I have a few gems for myself that sit in the showroom that I’m probably too fat for now. There was a run of twin fins that I built in college that I think about all the time. Every time I shape a twinny I think of that run of boards.
I have an eight-year old who I’ve been so patient with, waiting on him to get the bug without pushing too hard. And this past summer I built his first “real” board and that one is super special to me, because I’ve been able to have some great sessions with him this summer. Then there’s my wife’s SUP. I hate those things, in fact, I probably won’t build and sell another. But the one I built for her gets her out on the water with me. And the board I’m currently riding is an absolute keeper. It’s a new tech that …Lost will launch next year, and I got to go first. I love it. It came at the perfect time for a great hurricane season.
What is unique about being a shaper in Northeast Florida?
Northeast Florida is just a special place. It’s home. I’ll never leave here. There is a great crew of guys building boards all around Florida and I’ve made some great lifelong friends. I think in my city, the guys are awesome. Nobody is shy to ask to borrow a fin box or leash cup or something we are waiting on getting delivered. Because we are kind of on an island. We can’t just roll up to a distributor and grab something on the fly. There is no real industry here. It’s just us, and we help each other when we can. There is no real “competition” between the few of us. We have our own little deals, we service our own crews, and we all build different kind of boards. There are a few up and coming guys here in St. Augustine that I’m stoked to see them evolve. I haven’t seen any new guys come and really take a crack at it quite like I’m hoping to see the new crew do.