FOCUS ON SURF SHAPERS | Christian Beamish – VC Reporter
“Ventura holds a special place in our state’s surf culture, emphasizing performance over looks.”
How did you start shaping and when?
I shaped my first board in Santa Cruz when I was in college at [University of California, Santa Cruz] in 1995, inspired by what Dave Parmenter was doing with his Stub Vector design – a wide nose, low rocker three fin with a large tail block. The board offered an alternative to the Slater-style “elf-shoe” shapes of mainstream high-performance surfing at the time.
The shaping was done on sawhorses with sure form, and I think I may have traced the outline in freehand pencil. It was a good board, and from then on I made my own boards exclusively, picking up planers, tools and jigs along the way.
What designs are you most excited about?
I love the channel bottoms – both twin fins and singles.
What do you think of machine-shaped boards?
For a very long time, I was anti-machine shaping, and I’m still committed to the philosophy of shaping by hand. But now that I have my own label and shape professionally, I realize that essentially good design serves the surfer best, even if the board ends up under their feet.
I believe it is important to consider the scope of our work and its impact. Naturally, I need to support my family and I want to be financially successful, but I don’t think I need to set up factories on every continent and fill the racks of surf shops around the world to achieve that. .
What other shapers have influenced you?
I grew up in Newport Beach in the late 70’s and 80’s.. . We were lucky that Greg Pautsch builds McCoy surfboards. He’s probably the main guy, but also Australians like Allan Byrne, the Neilsen brothers, MR [Mark Richards] and Simon Anderson. But back to California – Russell’s guns and Stüssy’s work are also big influences. I also have to mention George Downing, Pat Curren, Diffenderfer and Brewer, as these guys’ boards represent the lineage from which we all descend as shapers.
What is your favorite thing about life and surfing in and around Ventura?
I like the offshore wind pattern here in the winter. It makes for amazing surfing experiences. And there is also a very high level of surfing on these beaches. Ventura holds a special place in our state’s surf culture, emphasizing performance over looks.
— Interviewed by Warren Barrett