G L O B A L MAYHEM
In case you you’ve spent the last 30 years with your head in the sand and haven’t heard the names Lost, Mayhem or Matt Biolos, then we are here to connect you with one of the best shapers the world has ever seen, a man who has crafted a career shaping for some of the best surfers on the planet and who’s label was thrust into the limelight when a series of movies produced of the team in the 90’s created a cult like following. Shaping under the label ‘Mayhem’ Matt was recently in New Zealand fine tuning his local shaper Tommy Dalton and spent a solid week pumping out a heap of boards for some of our top surfers. We were honoured to be invited into the holy grail of surfboard production ‘The Shaping Bay’, were sprayed with foam dust and chewed the fat on board design and his return trip to Aotearoa. Hey Matt welcome to New Zealand it’s been 16 years since you were here last what’s taken so long to get you back to these shores?
Firstly thank you, I love being here and I love NZ. I haven’t visited in a while as Tommy my shaper here had been coming to California every year for the last 8-10 years and spend 6-8 weeks shaping with me over there in your winter, so he came so often that we kept in touch that way. He shaped well, we got along real well, surfed together, shaped together so there wasn’t really a dire reason for me to come out here. This trip came about with me recognising I need to support Tommy here, he does a great job and we’ve worked together for years and I trust what he’s doing here for my brand 100%. We’re a global brand but we think locally, so it was also a chance for me to come and engage with the local market. Lost Surfboards it’s globally recognised, we do global marketing, we have international team riders, but the reality is we work with local manufacturers in all the key communities, so in NZ we work with Tommy Dalton, and it’s a smaller market, but it’s local. They can come here and talk to Tommy face to face about getting a custom Lost board, they can view our website and see all our models and designs and they can pick em and fine tune em right here in NZ. And this is the same throughout the world in other markets where although we are a global brand we have local affiliates connecting to their communities all over the world. But being an active surfer yourself, wouldn’t the allure of our waves be enough to attract you here, aside from the business aspect?
Yeah, I’ve surfed here before and I really enjoyed the waves on offer here, I surfed the Island here in Gisborne and took a boat over and surfed the beach breaks really nice. But since then I’ve had four kids and I’ve opened up businesses in a lot of other countries throughout the world and to be honest life just gets hectic and bigger markets like Australia, Europe, and Brazil I have to visit to keep a check on things. Since you first started shaping the industry has changed massively with the introduction of the shaping machine which has really changed the face and process of the shaper as we knew it over the last ten years or so, how has that become an asset to design?
It’s been around a lot longer than that, I got my first CAD CNC machine in '99, so it’s been almost 20 years now. And this is one of the tools that has allowed us to have and made it possible to have a global brand that was consistent, so surfers in NZ, Brazil or Europe could get the same boards that I was designing back in San Clemente. In Europe, they were up and running around the turn of the century, Australia not long after. So, once I had partners around the world with the same machines that could read my design programmes, that’s when the international connection began to take off and become super accurate. It allows a shaper to be more of a designer instead of all day just labouring, you can focus more on the details. We’re still shaping, but we’re shaping the details, the machine’s doing the grunt work. During this period the surfboard aided by these machines has begun to see leaps forward in design and also manufacturing technology, obviously a product of freeing up the shaper to become a designer that you mention?
Yeah well up until then the shaper just didn’t have time, we were doing less design and it was hard to replicate precisely to get a quantified result. When you’re hand shaping, its much like doing a painting, it’s art and craftsmanship. It’s not so much glamorous but it’s romantic you know. It’s like doing a big oil painting every time you shape a board, and it’s beautiful and it’s cool, and I spent 12-15 years of my life doing it all day every day, but now what we’re doing is more refined, it’s like designing a car body of a race car, or an aeroplane, we’re really accurate, we’re fine tuning, we’re exacting and we’re replicating consistently. So, there’s that part but at the same time as you said, it frees up your personal time to think about design, materials, alternative constructions and branding. You can spend more time socialising and surfing with your team riders and work together to make better boards. Personally, where do you see this technology push taking surfboards?
Well the one thing that has been huge for our brand is the ‘carbon wrap’, which was actually developed by a kiwi, Dan MacDonald who is a part Maori guy based on the Gold Coast. He introduced me to the carbon wrap thing four years ago, and we decided to go after it, fine tune it and bring it to market two years ago. But it took a lot of development to get it to where it is. And this whole technology wouldn’t really have been possible without the CAD machine,
cause hand shaping EPS foam was just a big nightmare. And this whole EPS revolution which has seen a change in materials of choice in the industry owes a lot to the machine. And these technologies, what are they giving the surfer that they previously couldn’t access?
I think they just bring a liveliness to average mundane conditions, they’re a higher strength to weight ratio, therefore they’re lighter, but they provide a springy sensation in primarily small to moderate surf. They kinda make the day in day out surfing experience a little more fun, cause let’s face it, while we all dream of scoring perfect surf all the time, they typical surf we experience is of this kind. The surfer that I’ve noticed that will benefit the most from epoxy technologies across the board is not necessarily the pros, it’s more the average surfers, the everyday guy, faced with sloppy afternoon conditions after a hard day at work, or small waves and just the doldrums of struggling as an average surfer to ride moderate surf. The pros, their lives are focussed around chasing swells and finding great waves and they’re all better athletes than most of us and can catch and ride small waves and it doesn’t matter what they’re riding. But in saying that the WQS pros, the qualifying guys, they benefit from the epoxy technologies for sure. But the WCT guys for the waves they’re surfing, it’s mostly about controlling speed, more-so than gaining speed. You get to shape boards for some of the best international riders but you’ve just pumped out a heap of boards for some of our own surfers ranging from our top calibre to the everyday local, after all these years do you still get a buzz from that stoke and connection the customer has when they see their shape.
It’s fun you know, we’ve worked with a lot of the top surfers from NZ going back 15 years with Jay Quinn and then Ricardo and others and obviously they’re the stand outs, Ive made a few boards for Maz here and there over the years, but in general those guys are travelling the world getting boards off different shapers wherever they go, they’re used to getting boards from say me, or Darren Handley, Eric Arakawa or wherever they go in the world. But they really cool thing about coming to here is just making boards for the locals, the groms and various local surfers. We’ve done about 40-50 custom boards during this visit, so meeting some of them and witnessing the stoke, yeah that’s really cool and I’ve had an amazing time throughout this stay.
" I REALLY ENJOYED THE WAVES ON OFFER HERE, I SURFED THE ISLAND HERE IN GISBORNE AND TOOK A BOAT OVER AND SURFED THE BEACH BREAKS REALLY NICE.."