Lito Antifora (Angel Surfboards)
Do you remember the first board you shaped?
I really lost track on those first boards but luckily I managed to dig-deep to find them again. It was really important I found them because it’s a strong part of my history.
Considering the exponential growing of surf culture over last years in our country, can you name the pros and cons of this growth?
Pros: More people in contact with the ocean and the positive energy shared. Surfing changes people for the good. I think from 100% of new surfers 70% will keep surfing and for the other 30% it is just a phase.
Cons: The hard part is to find a balance between the large amount of surf academies and surfers on the water and how they manage the surfing etiquette. In some places if you don’t follow the basic rules, you might have a hard time with locals.
On the shaping room, machine or by hand? pro and cons?
We shape our boards manually all the way – from the blank to the gloss. Shaping is a craft, I was really lucky because I inherited this art from my Dad. It was a special connection between us. About machines, I respect the choices of every shaper but in my opinion the machine only increase the production, not the shaper’s spare time. I mean, more production equals more sales and once you fall in that circle, you lose the focus and the real meaning of shaping a board and the special feelings involved. When we started this surf shop, we tried to create a space where the surfer can be comfortable, not the typical mega-surfshop with thousands of brands.
Do you notice any trends in the current shapes? Is there any particular style which is more requested than others?
At the moment we are focused on longboards and trying to make them as perfect as possible. Beside this, there is a shape that my dad sold really well: The basic twin fin redesigned by him in the 90s. I’m noticing the progressive removal of surfers from the classic stereotype or the commercial circuit (contest – sponsor – extreme adrenaline posse) to a more connected, relaxed surf (relaxed or connected doesn’t mean less emotion or adrenaline!).
Talking about Sponsors, how do you deal with the new riders looking at your brand?
I prefer to collaborate with some surfers to develop their boards and of course the final price is much lower than the selling price. I realize there is a lack of commitment in the young surfers, so I prefer to keep it that way.
Please describe a typical day in the shape room?
We are two people shaping: My friend Jose Frias and I. We share the shaping work. Usually it is a really nice and relaxed atmosphere listening to music. Sometimes the owner of the new board will come to visit us and that is something really important to us because we can feel the connection between the surfer and his board.
Do the customers usually take your advice and suggestions?
Yes, most of the time, but we try to share the overall idea. I like to see the board as a personalised item, not as a line production.
Since the situation in our country is not the best, how do you manage the lack of material to shape?
We always think the best material come from the US, today and after 50 yeas of surf history in our country it is sad to say that we don’t have any development in the surf industry. We have some providers for the foam but they still use imported chemicals. My dad taught me to endure and solve these kind of issues. We promote and investigate new alternatives for the materials, trying to develop less harmful polyurethanes.
The material development is a well known and sad story here. You told me about the story of Gordon Clark coming to your father’s shaping room?
Yes it was awesome. Yeas ago my father developed a mould to manufacture homemade foam. After a lot of calls and arrangements, Gordon Clark came to my dad’s shaping room to check the blanks and in his very own opinion the quality was the best that he had ever seen in all of South America. What I’m trying to say is that if you focus and research you will be able to achieve quality products.
Epoxy VS glass: Which do you choose and why?
We always use polyester and foam. I’ve tested epoxy boards and I don’t feel comfortable enough. The epoxy boards tends to over-float and the paddling is not so effective. I find a better balance on the traditional boards.
What are your favourite shapes to work with and why do you like them?
I am really stoked with classic longboards because the natural shapes and rails. Beside that, I like the challenge of more complex boards with double wing and channels. These are boards where you have to test your ability.
How do the pop-outs boards being made in Asia (China/Korea) effect you commercially? How do you see the fact that some big names are also behind these productions?
It’s just a continuous pursuit for easy money. The value of the true shaping and the connection with the owner of the board disappears completely!!! Surfboards aren’t toys. The problem is simple: there are people willing to pay an insane amount of money for a board made in a production line. Argentina has high quality shapers and I feel a lack of respect with the arrival of these inferior products.
Please name three shapers and three surfers who inspire you?
Shapers from Argentina:
Renato: He has always made beautiful boards and keeps a low profile.
Pepe Gil: He got an amazing knowledge and he always is open to share it.
Jose Frias: His momentum is inspiring. He is always innovating.
My idol from the beginning was Tom Curren. He is a three time world champion but he always tried to be a part of the “surf novel” showing a simple way of life and a low profile.
My wife Soledad, who is learning to surf and has brought back my childhood spirit to go surfing and enjoy.
What are your five favourite surf spots in the world?
I like the north of Mar del Plata (La Perla Beach) , Santa Clara Del Mar, and El Merquesado in the south of Mar Del Plata.Chacahua in Mexico and Santa Catalina in Panama.
Last one: Why do you surf?
Since my father was a pioneer as a surfer and as a shaper, i dont know how to live without surf. It’s something that always was around me. I think when you are in the water you recover your innocence, enjoying the sea with no worries. just the water, your board and yourself.
Check out one of Lito’s favourites Mar del Plata in Argentina