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Shaper

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Surf | Craft: Ryan Lovelace

September 7, 2012


Ryan lovelace is a 206 born surfer & shaper…currently mastering his craft in Santa Barbara, Ca. He was the man behind Point Concept Surf Boards…and is presently shaping under his own name, with Ryan Lovelace Surfcraft. Get to know him more, in our interview below. 

When did you start surfing?
I started surfing when I was young, thought I don’t know the year; my family would go visit my grandparents in hawaii every summer; my only though there was the ocean and how I could get my dad to paddle me and my brother back out for some more waves.  We went every year for a while until my grandparents moved to Arizona (what a contrast………!).  At that point I started surfing in Oregon and Washington whenever I could, though living a few hours away from the ocean and being a full-time ski-bum made that a pretty rare endeavor, though my board stayed in the middle of my room year round and I could never pull my face out of whatever surf-rags I had.

You grew up in Seattle…Any memorable sessions in the Pacific Northwest, you wouldn’t mind sharing?
The first time I experienced REAL offshore wind…stinging sand blowing all the way into the lineup.  It was small but in a beautiful little cove in oregon, set in a national park.  The water was so clear that whole week, like a crystal.  I love cold water for that clarity it has when the conditions come together just right.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping in 2005, on my 19th birthday.  I had been saving for a new board until a friend told me he had built his own and it had only (HAHAHA) taken him 6 months or so to do it in his garage.  I figured that wasn’t too bad so I got into researching the subject as much as I could, though getting my hands on the materials was the real education.  I got finished with my first board (even hand-foiled the fins out of plywood with a surform…try it sometime…) in just under a week.  It was all I could see…I was possessed.

Out of the Lovelace quiver, what would you say your favorite board is?
I have a number of loves within the quiver of what I build, i find different obsessions with all different types of craft though if I had to single one out…Her name is v.Bowls.  The design has flipped my thought process on it’s head and truly opened my eyes to the unlimited potential that shaping offers as a total mind-f*ck.  Once you thought you knew something it can instantly be flipped on its face and you’ve got a whole new beast…that beast is v.Bowls for me.  Coming into the design has reshaped my entire quiver.

Favorite surfer and/or shaper?
I have a hard time finding favorites of any type in almost anything…I dare you to ask me what my favorite pizza is. I’m pretty well removed from the mainstream of surfing, I don’t pay much attention and theres so much out there that I just could care less about…I stay pretty well holed up in my own little world, so my influences and favorite surfers are all local guys and people I’ve meet through my travels.  Travers Adler comes to mind very quickly.  Trevor Gordon, Dan Malloy, Ari Browne in Byron Bay Australia…he rides a finless board better than anyone else I’ve seen.  He’s got a pretty sweet Zebra costume also, I really like that about him.

In the shaping world, it’s still hard for me to single anyone out; I find my influences there mostly in the way that people carry themselves as humans within the profession and in that its becoming difficult these days to find people that I have deep and true respect for.  Rich Pavel comes to mind as a very unique and special influence of mine, as does Ryan Burch and Cyrus Sutton.  Gregg Tally is a hero for hand shapers and anyone who walks the walk.

When I was cruising through the shop on your website, Vol. 1 caught my eye. Can you tell us about it?
I suppose since day one I’ve always wanted to incorporate art and other people in my work; not really aiming for it I started attracting a lot of amazing people and artists into and around my shop.  Most of it came in the form of photography and as time compounded over the past number of years I’ve collected enough photos and material to crash my computer and fill a few hard drives; things people shoot around my shop, in the water, anywhere.  I put it all together for fun one day and made a book out of a pile of my favorite photos as well as the sketches that I do for my board designs…basically a hand-bound surfboard porno.  I started Vol.1 when I ended Point Concept, my old label.  My work and path within the surf world moves and changes with my whims so I thought it was a good time to start making a definitive collection every year of whats gone on; the best sessions, the most striking images, my influences.  As I collect stuff through the seasons I’ll keep compiling it and making new books to keep track of my progress.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Hopefully some nice tubes and lots of bottom turns…

I’m heading to australia for my second time this year in a month or so, then going to Bali to shape at Deus Ex Machina.  I’m bringing a pile of friends along with me so it ought to be an unreal adventure…then I’m back home for the surf season and around Santa Barbara we try to stay put when there are waves, so my plan is to keep up with my whims through the season and come up with some new stuff; particularly refining the Rabbits Foot and a few big wave boards for my friends to travel with and carry into some precarious situations.  I can only image what v.Bowls will continue to teach me through the coming season.  Once the swells die down though I’m headed back to Australia to shape, then to Europe again for my yearly ‘tour’ over there; its usually a few weeks of really heavy duty shaping, I come back pretty ripped…my girlfriend likes it.

If you’re in the SF Bay area tonight (9.6.2012), stop by the RVCA gallery on Haight. Ryan recently collaborated with artist Blake Marquis, and will have some boards on display.

Connect:
RLovelace.com
Ryan’s Blog
Ryan’s Facebook Page

Photos:
1. Blake Marquis
2. Morgan Maassen
3&4. Ryan Lovelace
5&6. Alex 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.

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

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Dave Allee: Almond Surfboards & Designs

June 19, 2012


Dave Allee is the proprietor of Almond Surfboards & Designs. Almond is a brand modeled for those of us that like our stuff made the old fashion way; by hand.

Where did you grow up, and when did you start surfing?
I grew up in Newport Beach, California.  I was actually born in the hospital across the street from the Almond shop.  I didn’t surf for the first time until 5th grade… and got my first board when I was 13.

Ever surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
I have not surfed in the Pacific Northwest, although it is definitely on my bucket-list.  I spend some time in Northern Idaho every Summer with my Grandparents, and the lake up there is always so glassy that I have spent many afternoons day-dreaming about surfing with a backdrop of pines and mountains.  I’d really like to surf around Victoria, BC someday… seen some breath-taking photos of the coastline up there.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping my first board at 19… and solid balsa singlefin with five 1″ redwood stringers and a glass on redwood fin.  After that 12-month long project, I decided a foam/fiberglass board would be a bit easier… so I shaped myself a 5’10 twin fin fish that became the inspiration for the Sandia model.

How did Almond Surfboards come to be?
Once I made a board for myself, a few other friends wanted one… that’s when I started putting “Almond” on them.  About the same time I started shaping, while I was in college, I started to formulate a brand-concept for Almond… I felt like there was a gap missing for a lifestyle brand around the stuff I was interested in… I would use my ideas for Almond as a filter for the stuff I was learning in school… which helped me further develop some of my ideas.  When I met Griffin Neumann-Kyle in 2008 it really set the stage for us to be able to grow, because he was looking to shape all day every day, and I was more interested in the big-picture dreaming and business side of things.  Once we started working together, things really started to click.

I understand that your brother Jeffrey & cousin Taylor also work at Almond. What’s it like working with family?
My brother, Jeff, helps me run the shop during the day… which is great.  It’s a different dynamic being older brother and boss… but he’s a willing worker.  My cousin Taylor does our accounting stuff… because it takes a uniquely gifted person to stay on top of all of the incoming and outgoing invoices.

Do you have a favorite board in the Almond quiver?
My favorite is changing all of the time… but this Summer I think it’s the Almond Joy.

Are there any other shapers out there you would like to collaborate with?
There aren’t any other shapers I’d like to collaborate with… Griffin and I have a good thing going.  We’re like yin and yang… he’s like 90% function and 10% form and I’m like 90% form and 10% function. He’s always trying to make them work better, and I’m always trying to make them look a certain way.

I am all-for collaborations though… and we have a number of new collaborations coming down the pipe.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
The bread-knife.

You have a lot of items on the Almond menu…boards, fins, wetsuits, apparel…Any new branches planned for 2012?
The Almond tree is always growing… deepening our roots and expanding our reach.  Keep an eye out for more Surfer+Craftsman collaborations, projects and profiles coming in 2012.

Stoke Harvester is proud to be an Almond dealer. We will have a few Almond boards, t-shirts & fins available through our store, in the next few weeks.  :)

Cheers,
-Shawn

Connect:
Almond Surfboards – Official
Almond Surfboards – Facebook
Dave on Korduroy

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Wefi Surfboards: Hollow Wood Shapes in Lantzville, BC

April 6, 2012

Wefi Hollow Wood Surfboards, from Vancouver island.

I was recently cruising around Vimeo, and stumbled on to a short film by Mark Wyatt. Mark’s film documents the creative process behind Randy Weflen, and his company Wefi Surfboards. Randy shapes beautiful hollow wood surfboards using red cedar, found on the west coat of Vancouver Island. Check out Mark’s video, and our short interview with Randy below.

In Mark’s film about Wefi, you mention that your father is a carpenter. Is he also a waterman, or did you pick up your surf skills by yourself?

I grew up building everything i could think of. Both my parents inspired me to be creative as they were themselves. As for a waterman… nope…But I think I have them talked into surf lessons this summer though… Haha. Learning how to master the construction of Wefi boards was a few years of trial and error. I was fueled by my passion for wood and a lifestyle I love…

What’s your favorite board in the Wefi quiver? (Favorite board to shape / Favorite board to ride)

In the past few years my favorite board to shape was our fish… the 5’10″fish… but recently Wefi surfboards has started to pop out a few 5’8″ Bonzers… those are definitely a treat to construct and shape. Soon to be available to the public, the Bonzer is a mix of local salvaged cedar and a touch of Pauduk (found in Africa) used for the lil Bonzer fin setup..

How would you say your boards ride in comparison to a glass/epoxy?

Hollow cedar surfboards have always created an argument in the surf world with there weight. In fact, the only issue wood boards have with weight is on land. Carrying the extra few pounds is all that affects them. In the water, the feed back I get with them is that they have a more lively feel.. The momentum and buoyancy generated by these boards makes for a more lively surf… they all say how much more you can feel the energy in the wave

Wefi Hollow Wood surfboards are shaped in Vancouver, BC

Any favorite shapers?

My favorite shapers are our local shapers. There is a ton of talent out here on the west coast and the personalities are great! Some of the bigger names in the industry have obviously helped inspire me to keep with a few retro shapes, but I gotta say, support your local shaper or you’re missin out.

Who would those shapers be?

Ark surfboards, Aftanas Surf Designs, Barracuda Surfboards & Northwest Surf Design..

Do you have a favorite surf flick?

Not really. but there’s a few I’ve watched more than once;) I seem to be a real sucker for short vids that tell a new story.. GotSurf.ca has some really cool vids that i tend to check out ;)

Still building bird houses?

Well up until a few years ago…I had to stop and challenge myself to build some key-chain holders.. it made for a nice easy transition into hollow cedar surfboards;)

Anything new and exciting planned for Wefi in 2012?

Absolutely!! As this company grows month to month, new goals are set on a regular basis… 2012 will be a year where you’ll see more media about the use of wood and how it has a very important role in the industry as well as some new shapes and designs. We also want to start gearing up to facilitate a classroom for those who are interested in building their own hollow cedar surfboard. And we are shooting for late 20112 to start that up.

If you’d like to know more about Wefi, head on over to Randy’s home on the web. www.wefisurfboards.com

Cheers,

– Shawn

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Functional Artwork by Renick Woods

March 2, 2012

Renick Woods (the Vanilla Gorilla,) is a Pacific Northwest artist and surfer. I first met Renick when I was working at Cheka-Looka surf shop. Since then he’s helped us print our hoodies, teach a few of our SUP classes, and even represented Stoke Harvester in the 2011 Round the Rock. Recently, Renick’s been busy in his workshop shaping hand planes. You can check out the planes here . Get to know Renick a little better, in our interview with him below.

I know you’ve been shaping surfboards for some time, but what sparked your interest in hand planes?
What sparked my interest in making hand planes was just needing to do something creative that involved the ocean in some way. That, and I love to body surf when the waves are good for it. I don’t have the room right now to shape surfboards, but I loved being able to design something and then go test it in the ocean. Functional artwork. At first it was just trying to back up my thought that I could make my own surfboard. After getting it dialed in it became about making boards for friends, and watching the joy they got from something made for them. One of my favorite things is seeing a smile on a friends face because of something you created. It’s the same notion with the hand planes. Just a different ride.

Your hand planes all have some killer artwork. What other mediums do you work with?
98% of my artwork is digital. It just makes things easier to change. That being said, I’ll use anything that will get the desired look I’m going for. I love watercolor, and airbrush.

When you are in the water, what are you usually up to?
When I’m in the water I’m usually up to whatever the situation calls for. If it’s steep shore break I’ll body surf. Mushy I’ll ride my fish or long board. Recently I’ve been doing lots of SUP both in and out of the surf. I guess mostly what I do is try and have the most fun I can in the water. Could be down winding in the sound or surfing the coast. Either way is good.

Favorite break?
Anything that’s breaking with fun shape.

Tell us about your toys (Surf, Skate, SUP)
Well lets see I’ve got my surf boards that I’ve shaped. They run from 6’0(short board) to 9’6(long board). In between is a fish and a few other short boards. Then I’ve got a 12′ Laird paddle board that my wife mostly uses now, and a 14 C4 V1. Love the C4! One Sector Nine skateboard. Of course a couple of hand planes for myself …

Do you have Tom Hanny’s phone number? I really need it.
I do have his number, but I better not give it out here.

Favorite surf flick?
Boy that’s tough. I’m gonna go with top three. In no particular order … Doped youth, Wave warriors 3 or 4 (can’t remember which is which), and Shelter.

Connect:
Renick’s site
Renick’s hand planes