The Spanish and French sections of our European tour are coming to an end… Matt and I have made a lot of boards and a lot of friends.
I can say one thing for people who want to learn to shape surfboards: you really learn fast when working in front of a crowd of people! Your senses are are totally one and focussed – I don’t mind shaping in horrid light conditions, because I shape by feel more than sight. I feel the curves and how the water will flow over them. Then, in the end, I measure up the curves to make sure they are even, though a wave really doesn’t care if your board is symmetric.
Will shape for beer – at the Salinas Surf Festival in Spain. Matt is meeting the locals.
In Zarautz we shaped a board off to the side of the Quiksilver “king of the groms” final contest. The 16-year-old finalists were hashing it out on one peak and the a crew of kids trying the alaias for the first time were on the other. I was so stoked to see the difference. I couldn’t say the finned boards worked any better – the competitors had specific manoeuvres they used to get the points, while the alaia riders were doing everything and riding the waves all the way to shore. Unlike trifins, the alaia doesn’t slow down in the white wash, so every wave takes you to the beach at full speed. I shaped a board and then Matt paddled out on it and caught a wave. The crowd cheered!
The next day we shaped a board for the cameras in the hills of Zarautz.
After a few more days Matt is a bit tired. Here we are off to do it all again at the Wallako Surf Shop in France. During the day many people came around including my alaia hero, Fred Compagnon. Here he is on youtube, taking off on his SUP board and then hopping off on his alaia (which he is strapped to). It is amazing surfing. Fred is the man.
We’re off to the UK soon, hope to run into some of you there!