The Fine Art of Surfboard Shaping
Published in The Times newspaper. Surfboard shaping, largely a hand-craft pursuit, is a fraught and hotly debated topic in the surfer community.
“I was riding a rocker-chip, my bru, until a china tuned me I should try out his Spiderbomb. My bru, it changed my life! I got one made in a quad set-up. And I reckon I’m gonna try out a fish too — a twinnie. Might even get a Mini-sim. Build up my quiver a bit, bru.”
For the uninitiated, the gist is that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” formula when it comes to the shape of a surfer’s wave-riding vehicle. The rule of thumb is that the longer the board, the easier it is to learn to surf on. From there on in, anything goes, and there’s been a trend in recent years to cast back to earlier board design for inspiration.
Polyurethane foam cores wrapped in fibreglass and resin dominate modern surfboard construction; it’s in the shaping of that foam core that lurks a black art of sorts.