New Zealand Surfing - - Roady -

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.


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