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john wesley

Retro Stoke Harvester

John Wesley x Stoke Harvester

December 29, 2012

Joining Almond, Dewey Weber, and Harbour… is our friend John Wesley. JW hails from Dana Point, California… which is also where he hand shapes his boards. We interviewed John back in July. If you’d like to get to know more about him, you can click here.

We currently have five of John’s shapes available on Stoke Harvester. Each board is priced with a single color, gloss & polish finish. If you’d like all the bells and whistles, shoot us an email. We can hook you up. ;)

– John’s new site
– Photos by A & G Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

John Wesley: Surf & Design

July 11, 2012

John Wesley is a 21 year old craftsman, shaping boards out of Dana Point, CA. Founded in 2010, ‘John Wesley Surf & Design’ continues the tradition of hand-shaping fine surfboards, whilst many in the industry have switched to CnC machines.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping after glassing my friend Dodge’s shapes he was making out of his garage. That was around my last year of high school. I had a unique school schedule that left me with a lot of time to work, surf, and start building surfboards.

What was it like working with Terry Martin?
Terry was amazing, and probably the most encouraging person in the surf industry. When I really started to get some traction, he wanted nothing but the best for me. He instilled the idea that making surfboards can be fun, if you have the right mentality. He taught me to be thankful for having the ability to shape surfboards. That attitude has stayed with me. As a result…I truly enjoy every day I go to work, and I give people the best possible board I can. All of that stems from Terry.

What’s your favorite shape, in the John Wesley quiver?
Hmm…that’s a tough question. I really like both shaping and surfing the Spacepin. On those nice shoulder high off shore days I pretend I’m surfing Tavarau or something. Lately for the small summer combo beach-break stuff, the TFP has been my go to board. It all really depends on what mood I’m in at that point in the day. I always have at least 2 logs around…I’m really trying to keep my surfing balanced.

What would you say makes your boards stand out from the crowd?
Right now I’d say it’s how personal I make each board. I’m at a point in shaping where I have my set models, and a base line for them…but love when customers come to me, and throw out ideas that I really have to think about. I mill them over, then bam… it hits me. I go straight to the shaping room and blend all their ideas together, to make a functional board that’s exactly what they want. I would sum it up by the overall attention to detail I take, in every step of the process. I’m not just making boards that look different; the function and theories behind each board make them what they are.

You mentioned that your girlfriend lives up in the Seattle area…have you surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
No, I’ve never surfed up in the Pacific NW. I have spent time in Vancouver & Victoria. Everything about that area is absolutely beautiful. I’ve heard a bunch of about point breaks hidden away in coves, which I’d love to surf one day. Maybe see and orca go by….I don’t know.

You use a lot of great  shots taken by, or featuring the Swansons. What’s your connection with them?
Yeah…Greg and Alex Swanson are really great kids. They’ve helped me out a lot, in more ways than one. We met up after I left the company I was shaping for. I told them that I wanted to do this for real…and on my own. They were really supportive with everything. I wouldn’t be where I am at without their involvement. It makes everything I do a team effort, and not just me.

How was your recent trip to Portugal?
Portugal was amazing… truly a trip of a lifetime. The waves and the countryside is something out of a book. I personally love Europe, and to be able to go and shape there because of Rui at Magic Quiver Surf shop…was unbelievable. It pretty much made my whole year. I’d like to go back at least twice a year.

What’s on the menu for John Wesley in 2012?
Basically, just keep pushing forward.  To deliver the best possible work we can…with only hand-shaping . There will never be a CnC’ed JW.  With Alex & Greg’s surfing and photography work… and my good friend Brandon doing a lot of design, we have a few projects for summer. Basically the team goal is to keep bettering ourselves in everything we do. We also have a few colabs coming up…

You can check out John’s boards on the JWSD site. Wesley also has a pretty active blog with some great shots of the OC & Newport Beach crew…jazzing the glass.

1. Alex Swanson
2. Christoph Haiderer
3. Greg Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Sea Glide: Greg Swanson

October 15, 2012

Greg is a Costa Mesa born surfer, currently living in San Francisco, Ca. I interviewed Greg’s older brother Alex a few weeks ago. Like Alex, Greg shares a passion for photography, the water… and a variety of surf craft. Greg also joins Mike Black and Doug Mitchel, in our group of surfer/educators.

How long have you been surfing?
My older brother, sister, and I have been going to the beach as kids since I can remember. Eventually we got a surfboard to share (I think I was around 8) and since then we have been surfing, bodysurfing, swimming, and anything else you can do in the ocean.

What is your most memorable moment out in the water?
This is a tough question because it is constantly changing and being replaced by another awesome time in the ocean. The last one I can think of was this past summer when Alex, Natasha, and I went on a rock adventure in Laguna Beach. We jumped, swam, and hiked through rock tunnels, caves, and formations.

What are you riding these days?
All summer I almost solely rode a John Wesley Cali 66’. It is the most responsive single fin log that I have ever ridden. When it gets a little bit bigger and faster I take out my 6’6” Spacepin. After riding my brother’s Spacepin I knew I had to get one for myself so I asked John to make me a mid-length that fits me. That’s all I am surfing now up here in SF for the semester until I head back south in December. I am very much missing my Vampire Hull Ryan Lovelace made me (I can’t wait to surf Santa Barbara points on it again).

What are some of your other interests?
I really love teaching and working with kids. I am currently working on my Education major so I can eventually start working at a school. This summer my brother, Alex, and I started to dive around the coves and reefs in Laguna Beach. I find so much peace out in the water and this just added another element to this. I also love reading older fiction books and short stories while listening to Duke Ellington on my record player. Lastly, God as well as my family bring me so much joy and support in my life, these are fundamental to the person I am.

When did you first become interested in photography?
Looking up to my older brother, Alex, I got interested in photography through him. He had been taking photos of the things we were doing and this idea of documenting the adventures we had was so interesting to me. After meeting up with some dude on craigslist and getting a $90 film minolta I started in my brother’s footsteps. I took photos of what my friends and siblings were doing and eventually it became more surf oriented.

When I was cruising through your albums, the photo below caught my eye. What can you tell us about it.
This came from the first and only true black and white film roll that I have used. My friends and I were just skating around and I wanted to try out this film form Ilford. We went down to Blackies and I found this spot of light that just seemed so cool to me. I still go back to my older film photos and get inspired on this idea of having one shot and making it count.

How’s San Francisco treating you?
San Francisco is pretty dang cool. It is totally different from anywhere that I have lived before (dense, diverse, and weird) but I am really enjoying it. I am so thankful to be able to spend this semester learning about urban life and its effects. I am currently interning at an elementary school that has a majority students that are at risk. While I have only been here for about a month, it has been really eye opening for me. I have also still been able to get my fair share of surfing in. Some really cool people (Beamer and Miles) have been able to keep me updated on the swells, take me surfing, and let me take photos of them surfing.

From your answers so far, I can tell you are quite intelligent. Can you please put this internet meme to rest… How many squares do you see? ;)
Haha I could be totally off but I think 36. It seems like a nice round number.

What’s on the menu for this coming year?
School (for the most part), surfing, adventures, reading, listening to music, taking photos, and spending time with family and friends. My family just got a yellow lab puppy, Adho, that I still have yet to meet so that might be the biggest thing I am looking forward to.

Greg’s Tumblr – Sea Glide

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Ten Piggies Over: Alex Swanson

September 26, 2012

Alex Swanson is a Newport Beach native, talented photographer, and slave to the wave. If you spend anytime reading online surf porn, than you most likely frequent his blog; Ten Piggies Over. Even if you haven’t been to TPO, you’ve probably still seen his photography. His subjects include John Wesley, Ryan Lovelace, Erin Ashley…and many other talented individuals ingrained in California’s surf community. When Alex isn’t behind the lens, he’s in front of it…and most likely in the water.

How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing when I was 12 years old, with my Dad taking us all down to San O, Bolsa Chica, and Newport Point. We used to pile in his ‘86 Saab hatchback and we would ride these big old, tri-fins; Russell and Line Up boards.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I found a Canon Élan 7e hiding in one of our closets, borrowed (permanently) two of my Dad’s lenses, and just started shooting my friends a ton. I was initially drawn to the side of surfing that wasn’t published in magazines and seen in well-known surf movies.

What are you shooting with?
I currently shoot with a Canon t2i, GoPro Hero2, a Fujifilm Polaroid, and my girlfriend’s old Pentax, and occasionally the Élan 7e. I only own three lenses that I switch intermittently… a 50 mm f 1.8, 28-135 mm, and a 75- 300 mm.

You often post photos of shaper John Wesley…How did you guys come to know each other?
We met in the water at Churches a few years ago, and ran into each other on and off. Right before last summer, when John was starting on his own shapes, we just started shooting a ton and getting all weird together… and it’s been happily ever after since then.

What’s your favorite watercraft these days?
A 6’2” Fish… Single concave, double concave, single bottom, triple concave, stinger channels, to a displacement hull, to a deep vee at the tail. And a 7’5” JW Spacepin  that has pretty much been my primary board for the past year.

Via your blog, I’ve admired your travel over the last year. What’s your next destination?
Yeah, Erica and I decided get out of the country (for the first time) right after graduation, and settled on backpacking trip through the Mediterranean coast of Spain, France, and Italy. We’re hoping our next trip is more of a surf-oriented one, maybe a tropical destination. But for this year, it’ll probably be more local/camping surf trips along the beautiful California coast.

Spent any time surfing in the Pacific Northwest?
I’ve really been limited to the amount of places I surfed to just Southern California, from San Diego up to Santa Barbara, but would really like to get up to some colder water in the near future. I’m really inspired by looking at the Patagonia surf trips up North.

Between Greg, Worm, Wesley and Lovelace…who would you pick to join the X-men, and what power would they have?
I would pick Worm, because she has the appropriate wetsuit… And her power would be to be able to believe that it’s not butter.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Besides spending the majority of my time with the new love of my life, a yellow lab named Adho… Short for “adho mukha svanasana”. This is a big transition year for me, and everything is up in the air. But I’ll be pursuing a couple of my career goals and hopefully still have the time to shoot and surf!

I’m hoping to get Alex’s brother Greg, up on the site within the next few weeks. He shares similar passions, along with with the Swanson Smile.

Ten Piggies Over
All She Wants is Diamonds – John Wesley’s blog

1. ?
2. Alex Swanson
3. Greg Swanson
4. Erica Burtrum
5. Alex Swanson