Crafting a surfboard

(Video from my first surf contest, 2016 shaper self shape contest)

Just a few minutes from me is an amazing little place where you can learn to shape your own surfboard or rent shaping space, Shaper Studio. Ever since it opened I became possessed with the art of shaping and was determined to shape my own longboard.

Why not just buy a retail surfboard or get someone else to shape one for you?

I’ve been surfing since I was a ‘tween’ obsessing with surf culture and surf art. It’s also why I was drawn to Southern Californian to begin with.

Getting the opportunity to shape my own surfboard has brought me even closer to the understanding of the roots and history behind surf culture.

When I’m not making art or videos, I get my exercise and inspiration from the sea. I guess you would say I’m an introverted extrovert, in that, as much as I enjoy traveling and the outdoors, I also enjoy getting in the zone with my work and tuning everything out temporarily.

I decided to build a longboard for my quiver. I had a few design ideas in mind, specifically inspired from shaper and surfer Donald Takayama. Donald was world famous for his riding style, boards, and originality in design. I studied many of his longboard shapes, which feature a wide loose tail and soft rail for solid hold in a wave while stylishly cruising down the line.

I combined elements from the Gary Hanel longboard models as well, which have a more blended concave shape to the bottom rocker.

I was envious of both board styles and wanted to find a way to combine them while creating a board I could use in mellow to slightly larger surf.


Deciding on a rail and tail shape. I went with a 50/50 rail which is typically what you would see on a noserider or retro style surfboard. A wider rail creates more hold between the surfboard and the side of a wave. The square tail shape is for more hold from the back of the surfboard while you are standing on the tip of nose.


Taking down the stringer. The stringer is a the piece of wood that runs through the center of the board, it increases the strength of the overall board.


Creating some rocker on the bottom of board.



Signed final shape


A few week later my design is glassed and finished! Color block ink brayer design style, color swatches chosen from my local Ace hardware. I decided to go with a mellow color palette since it was my first self shape.


Finishing touch logo, my pet cat Misha.