Jon Wegener designer of Wegener Surfboards shapes wood surfboards. Wood gives boards stability and momentum. Photo by Promise Yee
Jon Wegener designer of Wegener Surfboards shapes wood surfboards. Wood gives boards stability and momentum. Photo by Promise Yee

Top local surfboard designers gather for a Q&A and demo day

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Five top local surfboard designers had a Q&A and demo day at Patagonia outdoor gear and clothing store on Jan. 25.

The day allowed surfers to talk one-on-one with designers and get an insight into the philosophy behind their designs.

Maurice Cole of Maurice Cole Surfboards is a legendary Australian shaper.

“He had cancer and is getting back into it with new shapes,” Dalton Smith, Patagonia sales associate, said. “The Hipster T is a fun board. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”

Jon Wegener of Wegener Surfboards is known for his wood boards. “He makes shorter, fuller boards,” Smith said. “They’re all wood or woodskin.”

Wegener said wood gives surfboards stability and momentum.

“Foam doesn’t have a lot of structure,” Wegener said. “Wood goes a lot faster.”

Wegener’s recent designs are surfboards without fins that ride like a snowboard by cutting into the wave with the edge of the board.

Manny Caro of Mandala Surfboards makes fun, high buoyancy boards for local small waves.

“His boards have a short, full shape,” Smith said. “The unique shape gives them a different ride.”

“I design and ride everything I make,” Caro said. “I make it for waves around here. Boards for small waves and maximum fun.”

Caro also designs and makes the surfboard fins.

He said his designs are based on proportional harmonics that can be described as designs with geometric relationships.

Ed Lewis of Enjoy Handplanes has a unique story behind his designs.

He repurposes surfboards, T-shirts and wetsuits to make handplanes used by bodysurfers.

Board blanks are crafted into handplanes. Then T-shirt graphics and wetsuit swatches are used as design inlays.

Lewis receives a lot of the material he repurposes from Patagonia.

“The joke is they give us their trash and we sell it back to them,” Lewis said.

Noah Shimabukuro attended the event as a sales representative for Takayama Surfboards.

Shimabukuro was a team rider for Takayama.

“Donald was well-known for longboards,” Shimabukuro said. “He’s also gone through the general surfboard evolution.”

Takayama surfboards are still made from designs by late, legendary surfboard designer Donald Takayama.

“Donald had the foresight to put all the boards into the computer,” Shimabukuro said.

Tommy Maus, master shaper, and Charles Kirkley, finish shaper, finish the surfboards.

“They’re classic longboard shapes,” Smith said.

Surfers at the Patagonia event were able to test out the designers’ boards in exchange for leaving their driver’s license and credit card as collateral.

Smith said the event gives surfers an opportunity to try out a board before they spend $1,000 to buy it.

Smith added this is the first time the store has held an event of this scale.

The event is part of Patagonia’s efforts to connect community and manufacureres.

“You can meet these guys who create these boards,” Smith said. “It’s cool to get them all together in one space.

“You get to hear what goes into making something. It gives you a different understanding and appreciation.”

Patagonia carries surfboards and handplanes by all the designers at the event.

Noah Shimabukuro, representative for Takayama Surfboards, sizes up a board. Takayama surfboards continue to be made from Donald Takayama’s designs. Photo by Promise YeeManny Caro designer of Mandala Surfboards shows off one of his hand crafted surfboards. “I design and ride everything I make,” said Caro. Photo by Promise YeeEnjoy Handplanes are made from repurposed surfboards, T-shirts and wetsuits. Most of the repurposed material is collected from surfboard shops. Photo by Promise YeeEd Lewis, right, designer of Enjoy Handplanes talks to Joe Hallaux, of Cardiff, about his handplanes. Five handplane and surfboard designers came together for a Q&A session with customers on Jan 25. Photo by Promise Yee