Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Shaping Career

I started helping rough shape Balsa boards for Velzy and Jacobs in 1958, in their Venice shop. I was also shaping in my garage for Dave Sweet (first foam blanks) about 15 boards a week and building my own boards with my label at the same time. When I graduated from High School in ‘59 I went straight to Hawaii to live my dream. I met Don Hansen there and we discussed opening the first surfboard shop in North County San Diego. He would be the owner and money guy and I would be the Hot name surfer shaper. His bankroll was $15,000. I shaped for Hansen about 6 years mostly making my own Mike Doyle signature model and designing some of his line like the first short board called the 50/50 designed by Mike Doyle. I shaped about 5 boards a day so it added up to several thousand boards over my career which still is not over. In 1970 I came out with the first soft-board with Tom Morey. It was a real hit and the beginning of surf schools. I remember we made 3000 soft boards in one year. Nobody even considered us in the surfboard business yet we were making more boards than anyone in the business but they still thought of them as gimmiks,toys etc. We laughed all the way to the bank. Shaping and riding your own equipment is a fantastic feeling. What other sport can you do that? Every curve, rocker shape and fin combos make the board react different. Now I am just shaping a few boards for my wife and friends and prototypes to be sent to China to be hand copied. You don't lose your touch with age in fact you get better. In 2009 I received the coveted award... I was inducted into the Surfboard builders Hall of Fame. Quite an honor. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,
    Glad to find you here and learn more about your awesome surfing history. I hope you'll write more posts about the 50s and 60s history of surfing in Cali and Hawaii.

    I also wanted to write to say thank you for your help and instruction kite surfing that day a couple of months ago at Boca del Salado. Your insights were incredibly helpful. Your generosity of spirit is a rare thing.

    I also blog about surfing on the East Cape and Maui - come and check it out - - maybe some of your readers will find it entertaining as well.