It takes patience and courage to dedicate your time and labour to shaping boards by hand in a world and time where this kind of craftsmanship is almost forgotten, sometimes even depreciated.
Twenty years ago, all surfers still needed shapers. And a great part of them still had a special relationship with the man that singlehandedly carved every curve of their surf craft.
As with everything else, shaping got mechanical, surfers got themselves believing that riding Occhy’s board would make them better and everything started popping up of bigger factories.
Hopefully it still takes creativity and experience to design a surfboard and many surfers are still interested in riding a special board. One made to fit their own needs. One they won’t find next to them waiting for the set at their usual peak. One shaped for their skill and swell conditions, and not for the ASP’s top 10 pro-surfers.
Looking at this Cyrus Sutton short piece, you know that Ryan Lovelace is one of those dedicated and vocational designers that on a daily basis try to make people happy. Ryan, and every other shapers who decided that shaping is meant to be a personal, self-expressed and hand-crafted quest, are the necessary factors that make surfing a millenary culture and discipline.
It is vital that surfers consider what a surfboard really is and why it is better when it is hand shaped by someone who cares ; discussed, thought through, and adapted to their own criteria.
The hand-shaped way is the only real research and development left in surfing. It is a genuine pursuit of performance, excellence, and happiness. It is a calling that few people on this planet answer for the greater good, and who's work we should all be more aware of.