First Board Advice: VA beach shops and General board info.
I'm looking to buy my first board I have been surfing for a few year (4 I think I have'nt kept track) and have used both short and long boards. I have not however used hybrid sizes, funboards, or fish. I'm looking for a board that is affordable as some family members are allowing me to pick it out as a gift and are paying for it. I've looked at Frierson Designs, Austin Surfboards, and 757 surfboards. I like the 757 designs and info posted up on their site. I need to know how dependable their boards are and how long they are likely to last. I need a board that will grow with me as I learn how to do more manuevering in waves. Also does anyone know pricing/types of boards that Frierson and Austin Surfboards typically make? I live an hour or two inland of the beach and therefore cannot regularly visit shops, does anyone have any reccomendations to make of the VA beach shops? any information would be greatly apreciated even if it is just how concaves work or the reason for a swallowtail on a board.
So you want to drop some coin on a nice custom in VB, eh.... Been surfing / buying boards around her for about 10 years, here are my findings:
not familiar with 757 boards but Friarson is possibly the finest custom shape that you can purchase in VB. He was also a co-founder of WRV (or something like that). The guy has decades of experience and makes a damn fine board. He is shaping because he wants to, not because he has to. I get glass jobs the same place he does and they aren't cheap but my boards outlast my friends lost's and CI's hand over fist. His prices are pretty high but it's vb's own Al Merric (in a sense..). On a big day at my spot all of the old rippers pull their friarsons out of the attic and get shacked!
Austin has always been "the new guy" but now that i think about it, he has been on the scene pretty much the whole 10 years. It shows, i've been in the shop lately and he does some awesome things with those boards aesthetically. Resin work is top notch. Lots of neat retro-ish designs cater to the vb type surf too. Most of his stuff varies greatly but prepare to drop at least $550. I would say go his way if you want a one off log, retro, or egg. I didn't see much performance oriented stuff in there. OH, hey, just remembered this- saturday morning at pendleton bring $25 and you can ride all of his stuff from 8-10am. Demo days type thing. I think that initial $25 bucks gets you in to sessions all year.
Lastly, don't forget Tim Nolte on the bypass headed to obx. It's on the right about 2-5 miles from the bridge. I think he is the best bet if you want a quality hand shaped board and you dont want to pay for Friarson's signature or Austin's pigment work. He has been in the biz for a few decades and this isn't his first rodeo. If there are waves prepare for the shop to be closed / delayed... for r&d right... right... A custom fun-fish out the door is like $450.
Last edited by leethestud; Aug 17, 2011 at 09:22 PM.
Lee hit most of the important points. Frierson in town- very good shapes, Tim Nolte if you want to head down towards OBX (some of the best lamination on the EC - his boards last), might want to add Scott Busbey of In the Eye down in Buxton he has been shaping for over 35 years (good riding boards at a very fair price).
You don't mention anything about yourself = height/weight/age, what kinda board you are looking for- where you surf, what you want it to do. If you give some of this info you may get some more useful feedback. Good luck Jim
757 surfboards is run by two local shapers robert and andrew. Andrew is my personal shaper his boards are amazing. they can make anything you want. He is actually making a new board for me at the moment. Brand new custom epoxy stick with 5 fin setup cost me only $450. Their boards are very durable and I would recommend them again and again. hope this helps. Local Sessions magazine actually just did a spread on them in their recent magazine.
Leethestud&JTS: Thank you that helps a lot I couldn't find some of the guys you listed in the phonebook or internet. JTS: I'm a 5'2 teenager at 117 lbs. I'm looking for more of a performance board. I like the thruster fin set up but I don't have anything against any other kind of set up. Aside from a single fin that is, I'd prefer to have the control that comes with multiple fins. For a first board I would like something that is about 6'0. I can learn quickly and am willing to go slightly over or under that height. sorry I didn't list that before.
Hickorywrestler64: Do you know how durable their boards are? Like how many years they would last or anything. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the FCS fin slots go into the foam before the glassing? Have you or anyone else had problems with the glass cracking because of the fin slots?
All of the above guys are right on the money... In my opinion, Nolte is the best around. I bought a potato chip comp board for the ESA back in the early 90's (5'8" epoxy thruster) and it's floating my son now with zero dings... after seeing some action in it's prime no less. I also have a 9' epoxy & 9'6" heavy glassed custom Nolte in the quiver too which I consider my "daily drivers." Tim is a humble down to earth guy too so, best deal around for a custom (again, in my opinion.)
Same for Scott Busby @ In The Eye. True Hatteras waterman who knows what it takes to get waves on the east coast. I have a 6'6" Fish from Scott and it was my hurricane board for years and years (until my quad skeg arrived.) Scott keeps it real and pumps out some good high performance boards too.
Finally, there is a guy named Mike Rowe who runs Hooked Surfboards down in the OBX. He's the real deal too when it comes to high performance. He's still a bit underground but, hand shapes some rockets for all the locals down in the OBX who take surfing seriously (out of the shapers shed in his backyard no less...) Kick ass surfer and skateboarder with a fine little kidney pool on the premises too. Mike makes real good stuff and is worthy of mention. All three are east coast proud so, everyone is a winner.
...and might I suggest a good used board before you go custom... save yourself the $$$ and worry of dinging something you're trying to learn on. My first board was a beater 5'11" Seasoned I got for 150$ and still have fond memories of waves in Hurricane Hugo on that thing. Once you've got it wired and ready to upgrade, go custom and keep it local. These guys all shape boards for a living and damn good at it.
All good info here. Another guy to mention if you are considering making the drive down the OBX is Lynn Shell at Outerbanks Boarding Co. He's a great shaper, but the reason I buy from him is because he and his guys are hands down the nicest, most hopeful shop owners I've ever dealt with. I've literally stood in their store for hours on end, discussing the ins and outs of what kind of board will suit me best. When i walk in WRV, I'm lucky if anyone even says hello.
Another advantage here is that you have the option of buying something used, something new, or even a custom shape from Lynn.