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San Diego Surfing Home > Surfing School > Shaping - Board Building

Surfing School - Shaping - Board Building

The subject of board building is near and dear to this author's heart. In the late 1960s, I started designing boards and surfing for a shop in Huntington Beach called Soul Surfboards. At that time, Dale Velzy was their shaper, and I got to spend many hours in the shaping stall with Dale going over board designing, watching and eventually learning how to shape.

When Dale retired from shaping around 1971 and went to Roger's Foam to sell blanks, he gave me his shaping stand, templates, planer, lights, and other equipment so I could shape on my own. I subsequently was one of the shapers at my shop, Wave Trek Surfboards for several years, and still have and sometimes use this equipment today.

Among the items Dale gave me are the two historical templates shown in the picture (Figure 5-1). Although I haven't confirmed this with Dale in over twenty five years, I believe the two shown were used on the first foam surfboard ever built. I have included this picture for posterity. Additional information on template building is included in Appendix C of this book.

A shaper needs to know what materials work best and how to use good equipment to insure a quality product. For equipment, an electric planner, jigsaw, shureform, tape measure, various size and shaped sand paper blocks (both balsa and foam rubber), small hand plane, straight edge, right triangle, and various sandpaper grades are all needed. In addition, he needs to know how to handle his art, and how to keep it protected so a glasser can do his job efficiently. This section discusses techniques necessary in shaping and building surfboards.


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