Lets be honest there aren't many "local shapers" around NJ that can compete with the quality coming from most Ca. shapers. The only few i can think of are AJW, and WRV. Both are not from NJ but at least the east coast. AJW does not even shape on the east coast that often anymore.
I would PREFER to buy local, but I am not going to sacrifice performance.
As much as I love locally shaped boards or at least the idea of it, my best board before the one I hand shaped myself came from California. Before that board, a buddy and I each had a local board done and they were exremely fragil and I couldn't get a call back on how best to deal with the damage. Ended up fixing it myself as best I could, rode and enjoyed the board for a year before outgrowing it. It takes years to learn all the facits of shaping and glassing. A board can look beautiful when you pick it up but just fall apart whether it is from a local shaper or not. Unfortunately when there is not enough support for a small guy in the beginning, giving him the time to earn his stripes, his shaping just dries up. I was happy to support the local shaper I bought from and was willing to deal with the issues just to give him a chance to learn more, become better and hopefully be one of the best around someday. That said his boards were and are light years ahead of my hand made hack jobs .
I have had quite a few boards shaped by small shapers, and they held their own. I didnt mean to say any small time shaper cant compete with a large output shaper, because there are plenty of small shapers like wynn, wooster, erie, etc. that shape reallly realy good board. Just not many in NJ.
Although, i have heard lots of good things about Wynn boards and should probably consider making one of his boards my next purchase. He could mostly likely dial into small NJ coast waves like no one else.
ever hear of graham preston?> best boards i ever rode....theres no way a local shaper is gonna be less quality than a shelf board...even if its lost or CI...if anything its gonna be just as good or better....btw theres a used 4'11 x17x2 sittin in right coast shaped by graham go check it out...