The Fine Art of Surfboard Shaping

SUNSET INDUSTRY: Scarborough-based Pierre de Villiers is known for his eclectic but thoroughly big-wave tested surfboard shapes. Photo BYRON LOKER

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.

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