Clean and simple. Too many bells and whistles narrows a board's range.
Initially it was financial-I was too broke to afford new boards. Over time it grew into a passion and a career.
I came from the school of "if you're going to shape, shape it all." Grom board, high-performance shortboard, longboard, quads, and guns.
The boards that really blew up this summer were our shorter, wider designs-The Nugget, The Wombat, and The Rockfish.
Being in such close proximity to some of the best surf on the East Coast really makes a difference. Refining surfboard designs requires water time-from the shapers to the guys in the factory building them, to the team riders. Any small changes in rocker, thickness, or bottom contour get tested right away and fed right back into the shaping bay. Because we're all surfing all the time, what we're building is state-of-the-art and refined from the last swell.
Know your skill level and be honest with yourself.
To shape high-performance boards that are constantly being refined and evolving, to always be hands-on, and to try and capture the cosmic energy that our planet provides, transferring it into the foam to bring joy and happiness to any and all.
It's not possible to narrow it down to one, but there's no question that by giving me the opportunity to work in his factory, Rusty and all the guys there were a huge influence.
What makes every shapers' boards different is the accumulation of knowledge, personal experience, and research combined with their craftsmanship, vision, and feel, for the "final product" that is unique to themselves.
Living and shaping on the Outer Banks is amazing. There is a ton of history here, combined with many great waves and surfers. The crowds and stress levels are low, and the countless miles of coastline keep everything that way. This place eats boards on a good swell.
Always do your homework, shop around, ask questions, buy American, don't fall for the flavor-of-the-month board. The ultimate goal should be to eventually narrow the search down and build a relationship with a brand through your local surf shop. In the long run, it will pay off.
Shaper: Jesse Fernandez
Year started shaping: 1974
Number of boards shaped: 12,000
Shaper: Bob Yinger
Year started shaping: 1989
Number of boards shaped: 8,000 (approx.)