More and more people are beginning to explore the world of self-shaped boards.
This phenomena has been especially prominent amongst the longboard community.
Many surfers begin to test out their own shaping techniques and skills at least once throughout their surfing career.
Out of this experiment, some begin to discover their natural talent and even create a career out of it.
In this article we will look at a few of our favorite longboard shapers that are dominating the scene today.
What is the Difference Between Shaping Shortboards and Longboards?
For starters, the size. Since a longboard ranges from 9-10 ft instead of a 5-6 ft shortboard, it requires a lot more materials.
With this comes extra shaping time. If you have ever ordered a custom shortboard and longboard, you may have noticed that the turn around for the two boards differ.
Since a longboard works with so much more surface area, it can take much longer for a shaper to complete the board and ensure every inch of it is perfect and ready to be glassed.
Finally, the shape.
There are a few features that most longboards have which greatly differ from a typical shortboard.
Instead of a pointed nose and a swallow tail, most longboards will have a rounded nose and more of a squared tail.
What to Look For When Buying a Longboard
Depending on your height and weight, different lengths of boards will work better. The most common longboards come in 9’2, 9’4, 9’6. With that being said if you are on the shorter or lighter side, aim for a 9’2, or you can move up if you think you are taller or heavier. Many shapers are willing to give you their input, so if you have a question about which length of board would work best for you, go ahead and ask them.
Each longboard shaper has a list of different models that they have found to work best and serve for different purposes according to your surfing style. As you shop for a longboard or look into custom ordering, keep your eye out for the description of what each different model is best for, and see which best matches your style of surfing.
Longboards are known to rack up to be significantly more expensive than a shortboard. This simply is because of the extra material and time that it takes to shape these type of boards. With that being said, set a budget before purchasing or custom ordering, and make sure that the final board will come out to match that given budget. Keep in mind that ordering custom boards with specific designs or color may rack up the price even higher.
Common Features That Vary in Longboard Models
Longboard noses often appear rounded, pointed, or a little in between. Rounded noses offer more stability for easier noseriding, while a pointed nose allows the board to speed up and maneuver through critical sections.
The two primary types of longboard rails are hard rails and soft rails. Soft rails are more commonly used because they are rounded and provide more balance for the surfer as they walk on the board and noseride.
As you look at different longboards, you may find that many of them have different shapes of tails. Some styles include square, squash, pin, and diamond tails. Most popular out of these is the squash tail which provides a little extra width and volume that allow the surfer to perform strategic maneuvers that push them through the wave.
Longboards have significantly less concave than that of a shortboard. Still, some models, commonly named stap decks, will have a blended concave closer to the nose of the board which gives a different feel to the ride of the board.
Our Favorite Longboard Shapers Today
Michael Takayama is a longboard shaper out of Oceanside, California who’s most popular models go by the names Mana-T, Comp, Annihilator, Perplexer, and WTF.
Though Takayama’s boards are some of the most expensive on the market starting at $2,200, all of his work is done strategically and by hand.
Before beginning a board, Takayama discusses with the surfer what they are hoping to get out of this board and their skill level.
With this in mind, he will work directly with them to make sure they are getting exactly what they want. Since these boards have been seen ridden by some of the best longboarders today, Honolua Blomfield, Nique Miller, Kaimana Takayama, and Haley Otto, there is a long waitlist to get your hand on one of these magic boards.
Another place many people go to get their longboards is Bing Surfboards. Although there are multiple different shapers under the company, the primary shaper is Matt Calvani. Still, every single one of these boards are hand shaped. While custom ordering from bing, there are an astonishing 28 different models that you can choose from. All of these boards have been tested by surfers like Mele Saili, Mick Rodgers, and Tommy Coleman to ensure they ride as good as they are said to be and perform how the specific design is meant to.
Not only is Troy Elmore a skilled surfer on all types of boards, but he is also a skilled craftsman when it comes to shaping.
Troy first got into shaping just because his friend had a shaping shed and wanted to try it out. Now his boards are being ridden by Vans team riders such as himself, Karina Rozunko, and Lola Mignot.
Plus, just this year he has expanded his business to the field of selling his own fins.
If you are interested in your very own Elmore Surfboard, you can go to his website and choose from the 9 different models he offers.
After choosing a model, you can still tailor the height, width, and volume to your preference.
Another popular shaper in the longboard community is Russell Surfboards out of Newport Beach. Recently, the shapers here have taken Vans team rider, Grant Noble, under their wing and allowed him to shape under their name.
So, if you find yourself shopping for a new Russell Surfboard, you will have a choice between traditional Russell models, and the new Grant Noble Models.
It’s good to note that the Grant Noble longboards typically cost around $200 more.
This is the cost some customers pay for their board to be made by a well known and experienced longboard.
Like many of these other shapers, Tyler began shaping when he was young and after trial and error, his techniques began to click.
With the influence of a few mentors, Tyler’s skills continued to improve to get him to the place he is today. Now, you can order a board from any of his 13 different models.
Some of his more popular models that can be found in local surf shops include the classic Noserider, the Diamond Tail, and the One Fin Pin.
Along with surfboards, Tyler Warren has his own brand of fins that you can purchase to match perfectly with your board.
Shaping Longboards takes a certain amount of patience, commitment, and skill level that not every surfer has.
Luckily for us, there are great surfers that discovered their passion and skill and have created a business where they can create any type of board that we desire.
Take a close look at a few of these shapers websites and consider ordering your own custom board the next time you are in the market for one!