SURFER's Complete Guide To Your Next Board




Matt Calvani - Head Shaper of Bing Surfboards

Head Shaper:

Matt Calvani

Behind the Brand: Bing Copeland started surfing in 1949, at age 13. He opened his first surf shop in the fall of 1959, and became one of the major surfboard manufactures of the '60s and early-'70s. The business grew at an exponential rate, and Bing expanded his factory to include a glassing area and a team of first-rate shapers. In 1974, G&S took over the license to manufacture Bing Surfboards and Mike Eaton continued the Bing legacy through the '80s and '90s. In 2000, Eaton passed the legacy along to a new generation in the form of Matt Calvani. Matt's been shaping since 1988 when Wayne Rich gave Matt his first blank to shape. In 1993, Matt was offered a full-time shaping position at Becker Surfboards as Phil Becker's main production shaper. It was while at Becker that Matt created an impressive shortboard program, shaping for the likes of Greg Browning, Geoff Moysa, Pascal Stansfield and many more. But all the while, he continued to do some shaping for not only Hap Jacobs, but also Lance Carson and Rick Surfboards, where his passion and talent for building traditional longboards became apparent. Today, he operates out of his recently opened shaping and glassing factory in Gardena, California.

About his Most Popular Models: "The Bing Lovebird by Chris Del Moro is the most popular longboard model in the Bing catalogue, and the Bing Synchronizer is the most popular shortboard. Both are the most versatile models in my line. The Lovebird is ideal for knee-high to overhead longboard-conducive waves, and the Synchronizer is ideal for punchy, waist-high to double-overhead waves."

Taking the Pulse: "In this day of consumer research, I'm really stoked to see surfers researching board design and functionality on the Internet and online forums in order to make educated buys, rather than solely depending on sales people or the media alone."

Shop Talk

What makes your brand unique? "Bing Surfboards is unique because it has such a long history of surfboard design and innovation, dating back to the late-'50s. But it has managed to stay progressive and in the moment with its designs, whether it be the 1965 David Nuuhiwa Model, the most famous of noserider longboards in the history of surfing, or the Foil, ridden by Rolf Aurness in his win at the 1970 World Championships, or the Bing Bonzer, which was designed by the Campbell brothers. I feel fortunate that I can be a part of that tradition."

Which project are you and your customers having the most fun with? "I'm having fun experimenting with ProBox fin systems's versa plane concept with its unique fin-box insert that permits changes to the fin cant as well as fore and aft adjustments with a compression fit equal to a glass-on feel. With the ProBox fin system, a surfer can interchange fin configurations to suit various size waves and conditions, so you always have the right board.

What was the biggest design related lesson of 2008? "I've come to the conclusion that speed is the most important aspect of board design, because a fast board can do anything on a wave. That will be my focus for 2009—designing boards that maintain speed while enhancing control and maneuverability."