Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

I know, I know you've heard it before...Get to know your local shaper! There are soooo many reasons, and really if you are reading this I'm preaching to the choir...but there is another aspect of this relationship that you may have not thought about. Yes, you need to get to know your shaper, but you need your shaper to get to know you as well! This does not mean that you should come down and waste your shaper's time when he, or she is trying to shape your board! I mean that you should surf with your shaper. To really get the most out of the shaper/surfer relationship, your shaper needs to be familiar with how you surf. A lot of people think that the reason you get a custom board is to get the exact board you want...usually at a discount. But the real reason you should be getting your new board custom made is to get the board you NEED. If the person that is making your board is familiar with the way you surf (the way you really surf...not the way you surf in your head) and where you want to take your surfing...he, or she will be able to design a board that will get you there... or at least get you headed down the right path. Am I just fishing for dinner dates and invitations to the ranch? Maybe, but in the end you will progress faster and be a better surfer.

Let's take myself as an example, shall we? As the wife of a shaper I usually feel a little like the cobbler's daughter. (You know, without any shoes) My quiver tends to consist of hand-me-downs, and left-overs (albeit, some very nice hand-me-downs) . It's actually only recently that I can even claim to have a quiver. I have, for some time now been subtly, and not so subtly asking Jon to make me a board that I can use to transition from a long to a shortboard. Well I recently had a birthday, and guess what I got as a gift???? (gift giving has become so easy since I learned to surf!) I asked Jon what his thought process was on the design, and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the answer he gave me.

Taken from my conversation with my shaper (and husband) Jon Wegener...

I know you've been wanting a shorter board, and you are going to need a smaller board for steeper drops and hollower waves, and I've been thinking about a board that my brother Tom handed down to me. It was a Rick Surfboard shaped by Phil Becker...I kind of based it off that a little bit. That was a great board, me and about half my friends learned to surf on that board.

The nose of your board is semi-full...I wanted to keep it kind of full to help with your paddling. The width is carried farther back into the hips to keep it volumous. But then the board has a bump winger on the tail to use as a pivot point. You tend to surf from the middle of the board so that long straight rail will let you turn from the middle of the board like you do on your longboard, but the bump wing will act as a pivot point so that when you do learn to step back and turn with your back foot you will be able to do a tighter turn. It will loosen it up and make the board feel like a short board.

Why a single-fin? Your surfing lends itself to a single-fin...single-fins generate speed by moving up the board, and by trimming...not from doing roller coaster etc.

Tom told me I couldn't get a new board until I tube-rode that old Rick. (Do you think Jon was trying to give me a hint with that comment???-r)


Now, most of you will never have a shaper that knows you as intimately as my shaper knows me;) but the idea is still valid. If the person that makes your boards knows you and how you surf, and you give them the creative freedom to make you what you need, not just the board you will be a better surfer for it.

That sort of relationship is what the pros have with their shapers...but the beginner would benefit tremendously from that sort of relationship as well. Now Jon (or any other shaper, for that matter) does not have the time to watch video of you surfing and give you feedback...but he does like to surf. And while he doesn't talk much in the line-up, he is paying close attention to what is going on around him including how people surf, and how boards work for them. That is his job, and his passion after all.

And if you don't have a shaper that you are getting to know...I'm willing to share mine! shaper...not my husband!



  1. What a great post and belated Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday, Rosa!
    Love, Cher and Steve

  3. Thanks was a very happy birthday indeed. And it has been really fun surfing on my new board! r