Pros and Cons: The Custom Surfboard

Laying your shekels down on a hand-crafted surfboard is, and isn't, a peach of an idea.
US Open of Surfing
Kolohe, In the Final © Damea Dorsey
By Derek Rielly


A spray: And here you are, trembling just a little as you step into the hallowed surfboard factory with tear sheets in your little hand, for what you believe will be surfing's equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. So much detail! So much colour! The world ain't seen anything like it since Pottz's famous Saint spray on his Spider Murphy twin-fins. This board will make you so proud!

Peculiar measurements: Thin legs, a terrific paunch, shoulders that stoop. There ain't a stock board that can work for your strange dimensions. And therefore the act of having a board created from thin air is just so right!

A sense of proprietorship: From talking to the shaper, the glasser, the air-brusher and the bearded man at the front desk who swipes your plastic, it feels like, for the month or so your board is in production, that you are a part of the company. You face, for this precious time, is swollen with love!


The spray: Yeah, well, with the notable exceptions of Marty Worthington in Sydney and …Lost's Tez Shin in San Clemente, there ain't a lot of Michaelangelos. That elaborate tapestry you wanted is now three block colours running mid to tail.

The laissez-faire attitude of shapers to measurements: Yup, thanks for the order kid, now let me punch out a six-o by 19 by two-and-a-half. The dimensions will appear just as you ordered on the blank, but eyes and hands and feel don't lie.

The turnaround: Four weeks? Didn't you know that one-month turnarounds are an in-joke? It's four weeks to your initial call to find out how the board is going, then a blank is taken out of the racks, next call gets it shaped, the next gets a glasser to reluctantly chuck it on the stands etc etc. Three months, min.

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