5 Essential Tools: Idan Kaplan

Having the right tool for a job helps eliminate wasted hours and frustration. Our goal with 5 Essential Tools is to have the experts guide us into the specific tools that have allowed them to thrive in their careers.


With a passion for the sea and surfing, Idan Kaplan began repairing and building surfboards at the age of 11, making him the youngest surfboard shaper in Israel. Seven years on, Kaplan has developed into a respected board builder, an accomplished surfer, and a world-class strapless kite surfer. The rigors of kite surfing require strong and durable boards which has led Kaplan to seek out the finest materials and learn time-honored lamination and finishing techniques. That’s when we first met Kaplan, December 2013, when we received his first order through our website. We caught him between boards and sessions to ask which 5 Essential Tools he can’t live without.

Learn more about Idan Kaplan at  https://www.iks-surf.co.il/

and follow along @IdanKaplan1 and @IKS-Surf


Link to the update Hitachi P20ST planer here


“My favorite tool, by far, is my Hitachi P20sb. A few years back they modified it to accommodate surfboard shapers so I desperately wanted one. With the help of [the community] on Swaylocks, I was able to modify the planer to my specific needs. My first version was super ugly but the planer worked like charm. After using that original one for a few years, I’ve picked up a new planer and refined my modifications. I still keep the old-one as backup. I’m absolutely in love with the planer. I do about 80% of the shaping with it; all the rough work. It feels so natural at this point, like it’s an extension of my arm.”

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Link to FGH’s Caliper, made from renewable and durable bamboo

“Easily the best $80 I’ve ever spent. Accuracy is one of my guidelines while I’m shaping. This simple tool ensures precise accuracy and allows me to assess measurements at full speed.”



Link to FGH’s velcro backed Blue Foam Shaping Pad


“The FGH Blue Shaping Pad is a very simple tool that works like a charm. It’s super light so I don’t get any arm fatigue. It has the perfect blend of rigidity and flex so you can bend it to your desired shape. I always keep two on hand; one for concaves and another for convex contours.”



Link to FGH Razor Blanks

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“Razor blades, it’s a love-hate relationship. I’ve gotten countless cuts from them because they are super sharp and tiny but after you get the hang of it, these little tools are perfect for accurate cutting. I really like them for cutting cutlaps and for ding repairs.”


Link to FGH’s various sizes and densities of Flexpads

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“I keep lots of Flexpads on hand, different densities and different sizes. Every pad has its own purpose. I see so many shapers just using a random generic pad for their sander, but once you go with high quality pads like these then you can never go back to the cheap generic pads. Choosing the correct pad saves you tons of time and repetition.”


In addition to building custom kite boards and surfboards, Kaplan also offers shaping lessons at this shop in Netanya, Israel and kite surfing lessons in Israel and Mauritius. You can follow him @IKS_Surfboards and at  https://www.iks-surf.co.il/

Find all the tools you’ll need to shape, laminate, and finish at FiberglassHawaii.com where we also have everything packaged into two easy kits; Essential Shaping Kit and Essential Glassing Kit or level up to the Pro Shaper Kit and Pro Glassing Kit.

And follow along at @FiberglassHawaii