we are aware he doesn't *actually* shape, right? i'm sure he's shaped more than a few boards in his time, but tom eberly did the bulk of the shaping work for his joel tudor label & kookbox is a collaborative effort of various experienced foam mowers.
I read this and thought, except for Takayama's boards I've never been crazy about any of the stuff Joel Tudor puts his name on. Some of it looks good, just never been for me.
"It wasn’t that it was falling off. I was at a point where I’d ridden for him for ten years. I wanted to try **** Brewer’s and Rusty’s, not just longboards. That’s the thing. Nobody can touch Donald with longboards and I’ve ridden everything. I knew he was one of the best surfers in the day. He was as good as David, but Donald was a shaper so he wasn’t able to be in the limelight. He was awesome. It was just very difficult to get things out of him. There’s ego involved. It’s like, “You make amazing longboards. You are making the best boards that I could be riding at this moment but I want to try something different.” Then Stu was giving me boards and Donald’s feelings were getting hurt. Finally, he just got to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore. His ego got in the way. He said, “I can’t make your boards anymore. I’m over it.”
"It’s just cooler to do stuff that you can’t get everywhere. It’s not like we are doing all of this stuff to make money. That’s not our deal. We’re creating stuff that’s fun. There is some profit in it, but we’re not going to be RipCurl. We’re trying to backlash on ****. You can spend $200 on a wetsuit and look like a ****ing billboard but when you buy high end designer clothing it’s very discreet. It has its own unique style. That’s what we are trying to do for wetsuits."
locally, i'm a huge fan of brian wynn's work. impeccable glassing, very approachable, & he has an open mind w/ a solidly east coast/hp proclivity.
i'm also a fan of scott busby, who shapes under (& started) the in the eye label in buxton, nc...another guy who is very down to earth, a master of his craft, & willing to experiment w/ alternative construction techniques.
overall, though, i have to say my all-time favorite shaper is malcolm campbell. he created the design that i prefer over all others-the bonzer.
That's a tough one... so many different approaches and influences, who do you pick, and for what? Maybe I can name a few?
Rich Pavel, for what he's done to take the original fish shape and make it "performance," relatively speaking.
Tudor... for his ability to break away from the norm (although his shaping skill is a matter of debate).
Stretch... for what he's done with epoxy and bamboo - changed the game in mainstream board production, in spite of it's obvious advantages that had been in the market for decades.
Mike Daniel... for the amazing tech in combination with board design (you can't separate the two).
Bert Berger... one of the original Firewire guys now doing his own thing with Sunova, who took perimeter stringers and wood skins to a new level.
Matt Biolos... I actually like his boards better than Rusty's or Al's (but I'm taking NOTHING away from them... just my personal preference).
Then there are all the guys like Terry Martin (recently deceased) and his peers who's skill set as a pure shaper are so far ahead of everyone else that watching them is like watching a magic show... "how the f did he DO that???"
Then you have all the ghost shapers... the unsung heroes in the industry who can crank out quality shapes fast and accurate... one after another... to near perfection, and get passing grades from the eyes of the master shapers. That's a whole other ballgame, and one that deserves respect.
Then you have the local guys that know their waves and know their boards, and have fine tuned their own designs literally in their own back yards.... putting in their time in the water, testing designs, refining their shapes, and coming up with boards that work at least as good as the big names' boards, if not BETTER. And if they don't, what are they doing in the business... go ahead and shape for fun. But don't call yourself a shaper. Might as well call yourself a phoney.
Joe Virgilio and George Gall... They shaped probably 15 boards for me over the past 10 years. They, and this is a BOLD statement, are the best shapers EVER out of San Diego... Retro eras excluded, but in modern times, their designs and boards BLOW AWAY anything else coming out of California... Their team riders are the best in the county, they designs are just insane... they are the most progressive guys doing it... They have stayed ahead of the curve and have been putting magic sticks together for 25 years now.... They blew up pretty big, but they still locally shape out of OB and Point Loma... My friend does some glass work for them still....
Its funny though, 5 years ago when I went back home to OC MD, they guy at Malibus hooked me up with a team rider board for the week that I was there and when I went in the shop, they had like 8 Plus One's on the wall, all had shaped by George and Joe... Whether you want to punt ridiculous airs, carve up the OB jetty or get shacked on the biggest days at blacks ever, plus one is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the guys... Including Al Merrick and Rusty....