Welcome to my column called Making Stuff with me… Today we’re gonna shape a surfboard in 35 minutes. Now some people will have you believe that to shape a board you need to know every important design breakthrough in surfing history, that you need to understand that this process is a science and a religion and maybe they’re right, but I never said anything about making a good board.
Step 1. Ok, first you need a template to trace the outline of your surfboard. The template I’m using here is based on George Greenough’s “Buddha at Sunrise” concept, where he places a statue of Buddha on the beach then as the sun rises quickly traces its shadow on a piece of cardboard. Gotta have the good vibes.
Step 2. To cut your outline you’ll need a saw. Although a raw blank feels fragile you can karate the shit out of that foam block and nothing will happen at all. No need to be careful here, pretend your blank is Chopper Reed’s ears and rip right into it. Smooth out any big chunky hacks later on.
Step 3. Planers are gnarly. One wrong move and you could easily cut off your legs or even worse… your hair! The good news is you feel pretty badass as white shit flies all over the room with every sweep of the blade. In this shot I’m working my rails. Look closely and you’ll notice I’m also trying to shoot lazers out of my eyes.
Step 4. This is me taking some volume out of the deck with the planer. Everything up until this point has taken about 20 minutes, so I’m well on schedule. In fact, I might go get a coffee. Note: Don’t try and sip your coffee with your shaping face mask still on or the coffee will spill onto your orange T-shirt.
Step 5. If you’re gonna shape a board in 35 minutes, then you may as well pretend to know what you’re looking at when you’re finished. I recommend holding it up at different angles saying stuff like, “Hmmmmn… good nose lift, nice and flat through the middle, boxy rails.” Nobody is gonna argue with that shit.
Step 6. Shaping is an artform ‘n’ all but it’s a piece of piss compared to glassing and sanding. This is where I call in my good buddy Gnech. He’ll hotmix the board for extra deadliness. Then it’s straight out for a quick arvo shred then back to the house to listen to Dead Moon. It’s pretty much that easy.