The Shape of Things

New Zealand Surfing - - Between Sets - Send hi-res jpegs of your mas­ter­piece along with your de­tails to cory@nz­surf­mag.co.nz. Re­mem­ber to put ‘Nixon Art Comp’ in the sub­ject field. Get busy and cre­ate…

Lost Surf­boards shaper TOMMY DAL­TON of The Board­room, was re­cently in Cal­i­for­nia fine tun­ing his skills in the Jedi school of shap­ing. But in­stead of wield­ing a lightsaber, he was carv­ing foam un­der the tute­lage of mas­ter Matt ‘May­hem’ Bi­o­lis with the aid of a planer. To tune in to the lat­est de­signs un­der the watch­ful eye of such a leg­endary shaper is not only price­less for Tommy’s shap­ing, but also for the surfer of NZ who will have ac­cess to the lat­est de­sign trends di­rectly through his shapes. Tommy gives us a heads up on the trip. Fill us in on what you were do­ing in the states re­cently? Hang­ing out with the Bi­o­los fam­ily, shap­ing, surf­ing, and tak­ing it all in. You are the Lost li­censed shaper in NZ, how im­por­tant is hav­ing a di­rect re­la­tion­ship with one of the most re­spected shapers in the world Matt Bi­o­lis help your own shap­ing? It has been ab­so­lutely huge for me and my shap­ing ca­reer. I started go­ing to the USA and stay­ing and work­ing with Matt [Bi­o­los] in 2001, and have been go­ing ev­ery year since, ex­cept for the last three years as my two boys were born. Matt sent me to Europe two years in a row to make the Lost surf­boards at the Pukas fac­tory as well. It’s crazy in the States for a young NZ shaper like me, as there are leg­endary surf­board mak­ers all mak­ing boards within walk­ing dis­tance of each other, from where I was work­ing in Matts shap­ing bay. When Matt wanted to shape boards, I would step aside and just watch, and there would al­ways be lots of pro-surfers turn­ing up with their magic boards, want­ing to go over them with him and or­der more, and I used to stand in the cor­ner and watch and lis­ten like a froth­ing lit­tle grom­met. I look at it like this - if you were a grom­met that surfed great, would hang­ing out with Kelly Slater ev­ery year for two months do any­thing for your surf­ing? So yes, it has defini­etly helped with my shap­ing ca­reer with­out a doubt. With all this talk of pop out boards and ma­chine shapes, how is the state of the hand shap­ing move­ment in­ter­na­tion­ally? I think pop outs re­ally af­fected busi­nesses like mine glob­ally a few years back, but I feel they have died right back. Pos­si­bly the learner surfer or first time board buyer will go for a pop out, but then once their surf­ing pro­gresses they will want a board that is more in­di­vid­u­ally suited to their abil­ity from a surf­board shaper. Ma­chine shapes have ben­e­fited both the surfer and the shaper giv­ing great con­sis­tency, and they al­low a lot more time to work on the finer de­tails of the board and cus­tomers needs. And I have all the boards I make on file so you can re­order that magic board when needed. Have there been any rev­o­lu­tion­ary changes in board de­sign and man­u­fac­ture you wit­nessed in your stay? Matt has al­ways been one to give new surf­board tech­nolo­gies a go and has lots of dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies avail­able at his fac­tory. The lat­est one I have seen was an epoxy board vac­uum bagged with a cork deck, su­per cool look­ing board! But all these other techs are a lot more costly es­pe­cially down here in NZ, and they don’t surf the same as the tried and true PU board. I would say that at least 80% of Matt’s boards are PU like most of the boards built in NZ. Kiwi shapers have al­ways had a rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing fine crafts­men, but many pun­ters out there are un­der the influence that over­seas shapes work bet­ter than a lo­cal shapers. You’ve seen the best shapes in the world and have a good knowl­edge of our own board build­ing in­dus­try, lets put the record straight - how do our shapers de­signs match up with those over­seas big la­bels? I think a lot of surfers will buy a surf­board be­cause of the big la­bel and they will not al­ways be su­per happy. I think surfers should deal with a shaper and lis­ten to what he is sug­gest­ing with re­gards to size, vol­ume, and shape of board, as these as­pects can make a huge dif­fer­ence in a board and help the surfer. I know an amaz­ing surfer get­ting lots of over­seas boards and he finds it very hard to get that con­sis­tency that work­ing with a lo­cal shaper would give him, but he gets them for free. There are some stand­out world class shapers here in NZ, that know our waves and would work with cus­tomers closely to con­sis­tently cre­ate the best boards as your surf­ing and abil­ity changes through the years. This is def­i­nitely how you will get the best boards... end of story. So from this re­search and de­vel­op­ment trip what can we ex­pect to see in this sum­mers STD shapes and how will that im­prove the bot­tom line, mak­ing us shred? I feel like we at The Board­room have been con­sis­tently mak­ing boards that suit the NZ con­di­tions. Af­ter a trip to the USA I al­ways come back re­freshed and en­thused, full of new ideas and tech­niques, and I am al­ways want­ing to make team and cus­tomers boards the best they have ever rid­den, over and over re­gard­less of their abil­ity.

As surfers, art is gen­er­ally a big part of our life­style. As groms we drew waves in our home­work books, we find drift­wood shaped like waves on beach walks and shoot pics of our­selves get­ting shacked un­der rocks and trees that re­sem­ble waves.

You could say our lives are owned by the thrill of surf. So it’s only nat­u­ral that we should re­ward the artist in us all. Nixon has gen­er­ously come up with an amaz­ing time­piece for each is­sues fea­tured artist.

JEF­FREY SMITH of the Coro­man­del proves you don’t have to be a sea­soned artist to win the Nixon Art loot. In only his third paint­ing ever, which looks un­can­nily like Leon San­torik pulling in on the cover of is­sue 139, Jeff ex­presses his love for surf­ing, af­ter pur­su­ing the art (ex­cuse the pun) for the past six years.

PHOTO: KENYU TAKA­HASHI

LEFT: TOMMY AND MAY­HEM WORK­ING ON DE­SIGN IN THE LOST BAY.

PHOTO: CORY

ABOVE: TOMMY TAK­ING TIME OUT TO TEST HIS SHAPES, JUST DOWN THE END OF THE ROAD FROM THE FAC­TORY.

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