Right from the start, I wanted to make better boards for myself, then my friends and soon others wanted my shapes too!
I am often asked who influences me the most, and I find it difficult to answer. Shapers like Bob McTavish, Midget Farrelly, MP, Geoff McCoy, MR, and Simon Anderson stand out to me, for the Shaper surfers they were. Whether they were first creating some innovations or not, they refined things and made them publicly desirable. Then also, I guess the guys I worked with at the start had an influence on me. People like Martin Wright (UK Champ), Billy Grant, Syd Wilmet, Nick Maz, NP senior, Zappa, Jim Banks and Nev.
I saw things like Munga Barry bring home boards from good shapers all over the world, and then Nev running over them with a ruler measuring them up and discussing how they work and didn’t work with Munga. I then saw him get his tools out and shape a bunch that afternoon inspired by what he saw. He would then hand shape team boards in 30 or 40 minutes putting new features and concepts in from those boards.
That inspired me to learn from others and refine things. I was given some reject blanks that were profiles along with machine shapes from shapers that were hot at the time. When I finished them off and glassed them, and they went terribly.
So I learned pretty quick to build on my ideas and experiences. So about then after that first year of shaping, I decided to stop copying. I wanted to understand why and how it works, and I couldn’t do that if I just copied designs. I had to do my thing, Needing to understand the path of how I got to that shape, Why it worked and why it worked that way.
It wasn’t enough to have the perfect bottom curve. It was the sum of all parts that made a board work. From the outline to the rocker, the foil to the rail shape, bottom contours and correct fin placements that made it go well. My reputation grew as being experimental and of being “Diverse” I made all kinds of boards from twin fins, quads, guns, etc. tow-boards, wings, flyers, channels, etc. you name it I had a go at it.
I started exporting boards to Japan. They loved the concave decks and my flyers I was doing then. That was the “stealth model” the variations to that shape are still big sellers for me today. Current examples are the “favourite” and the “Rough Diamond.” Today this style of board is a common shape, but then it was seen as weird stuff. I was diverse by name and diverse by nature.
All the shape experiments I was doing taught me so much, I would go way to extreme first and then I would see the big effect. What it did and then I would tone it down and bring it back, make it into something useful. Then using this and combining it with other features adding or losing something that I had until I was confident it worked and knew what it did. I made it a “feature with a purpose.”
Later as I progressed from handshapes to the bottom curve profiler and onwards to the computer shapes the changes I made were much smaller and more precise, having control to making refinement upon refinements helped me create magic happen a lot. To this day I still wake up with an idea, grab my laptop and design something immediately. I tend to revisit the computer a few more times before I cut it in on the CNC. I feel good, saving a blank from too extreme, and then putting a more thought out design into the water to test.