First Time Surfboard Shaper: Race Skelton

This is Race. He loves surfing. He's happy because he's going to shape his own surfboard
This is Race. He loves surfing. He’s happy because he’s going to shape his own surfboard

Channel Islands, Rusty, and Eric  Arawkawa build boards for professional surfing’s elite. They have the coolest logos, the best outlines and brightest airbrushes. So were they always this good at building boards? Were they born this way? Did their parents train them at an early age to be the best shapers, probably not. The reality is that they started at the beginning like everyone else who has ever grabbed a blank and started hacking.

We decided to give Race Skelton from Contrast Magazine that same opportunity. He’s never shaped a board in his life and is a self-proclaimed novice when it comes to tools. We styled him out with some basic tools as well as some pretty cool ones too. Race told us what he wanted to make so we recommended the appropriate blank, a US Blanks 6’0”R, and some masonite from the hardware store so he could make his own template.

Race shaping in the legendary Downing Hawaii shaping bay.
Race shaping in the legendary Downing Hawaii shaping bay.

Race got down and dirty and had to learn along the way which forced him to experience the full range of emotions throughout the project. He went from being stoked and expecting the best, to almost depressed once the reality set in that his board wasn’t going to be worthy of receiving a Channel Islands logo. Check out what he has to say about the benefits of trying to shape your own board.

Race using the new Fiberglass Hawaii shaping pad. Just one of many new products coming out soon.
Race using the new Fiberglass Hawaii shaping pad. Just one of many new products coming out soon.

Shaping is an art form. The experts have spent their lives and based their careers on honing their artistic talents. We hope Race’s experience inspires you to give shaping a go or at least earn a deeper respect and appreciation for those big names who keep you in the water swell after swell.

Tools:

shaping tool kits, surfboard shaping tools
Surfboard shaping tool kits are assembled for your convenience. Click on the chart to enlarge.

Check out our suggested shopping list for beginning shaping tool kits.   You can read more about Race’s experience in his own words at  www.contrastmag.com

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