Every time we grab our boards for a good surf sesh it is easy to forget where that the magic came from. Shapers all around the world are developing new shapes and concepts for board designs, but September 7-8 in Orlando, Florida, four shapers will be asked to do something a little different. The skilled crafters will participate in a shape-off that brings light to the pre-modernized nature of shaping itself.
Including 3X Tribute of the Masters/ Icons of Foam winner Ricky Carroll, four shapers will test their skills by crafting a surfboard out of a block of foam. The three following shapers participating are Juan Rodriguez (One World Surf Designs), Bill Johnson (Teqoph Surfboards), and Stewart Sharpe (Sharpe Shapes). These men will all be put to the test at the East Coast Chunk of Foam Challenge by finding a surfboard within a 8′ x 2′ x 2′ chunk of EPS foam.
Scott Bass, The Boardroom show director commented, “I’ve produced nine shaping events since 2007, but never one this raw…” He further elaborated on the concept by saying, “I threw this concept onto Facebook a few months ago and it’s received plenty of attention from both passionate board builders and salt-of-the-earth surfers. Americans are thirsty for authentic craftsmanship. This challenge helps to highlight surfboard shaping, the craft and Lord knows these shapers deserve it.”
Line of Events
The event begins with three surfboard designs on the “spinning of the wheel” and whatever design the arrow lands on, the shaper is required to replicate the board as exact as possible; all four shapers will replicate the same exact design.
Next is the “unveiling” in which the shapers can touch and examine the board for 60 seconds (time strictly enforced) where it is then put behind stanchions with no one allowed 10 ft from the board.
However, one of the most interesting concepts of the event is the lack of tools shapers are required to bring. Each skilled shaper can bring only one power tool and that is all. And finally, the shapers are left to craft their magic in three hours time later to be judged by a select panel.
So what is the point? Why do this?
There are hundreds of world-class surfboard shapers in the world but who can shape a board so quickly from just a chunk of foam? It leaves us to question, is board shaping so modernized that is is impossible to create a board using just hands and some simple tools? And yes we can look back and be grateful that we no longer lug our heavy wooden boards due to countless innovations in the industry, but this event will bring back the unique nature and feeling of board shaping itself.
You won’t want to miss The Boardroom at Surf Expo this September. In addition to the Chunk of Foam Challenge they will be featuring:
Tribute to the Masters / Icons of Foam presented by US Blanks honoring East Coast legend Rich Price
World-class surfboards and surf equipment
Live music, art, film, and culture
The west coast version of the competition takes place Oct. 5-6 in Costa Mesa, Calif.