After 20-odd years as Bing’s primary shaper, Mike Eaton recently handed the mantle on to new boy Matt Calvani, who’s poised to reinvigorate the brand without losing any of its kudos…
Matt Calvani’s first job in the surf industry was apprentice to Tom Stanton, a South Bay shaper and airbrusher. Eventually setting up shop in his mum’s garage, Calvani did a roaring trade and soon made the step up to shaping. Moving out of the garage and into Shoreline Glassing on Hermosa Beach, CA, Calvani rubbed shoulders with Hap Jacobs, who gave him some rough shaping on the side. Jacobs was so pleased with Calvani’s work that he hired him as a part-time shaper, working on foam and balsa boards. Dennis Jarvis of Spyder Surfboards noticed Calvani’s talent and brought him on a job shaping for the likes of Tom Curren, Shane Dorian and others.
In 1993, Calvani was offered a full-time position at Becker Surfboards as Phil Becker’s main production shaper. While shaping for Becker, he created an impressive shortboard quiver for the likes of Greg Browning, Geoff Moysa, Pascal Stansfield and others. He was hand-shaping more than 25 shortboards a week in addition to longboards and mid-ranges, and continued to shape Jacobs boards.
With the help of his friend Jeff Stoner (son of Rick) Calvani was simultaneously building Rick surfboards, and he built a limited number of boards with the original Bing & Rick logo. While on a trip to Baja with some friends Matt ran into Bing at one of Bing’s favourite points. The meeting was to open up a whole new avenue for Calvani. “I went up to Bing and said ‘You’re Bing Copeland – I owe you some royalty money for some Bing & Rick boards I built for Jeff Stoner’. Then I told him that if he ever needed someone to build his boards I’d be happy to do it!”
Luckily for Calvani, Bing decided to swing by old pal Mike Eaton’s place on his way back to Idaho and discovered that Eaton was overwhelmed with work trying to produce Bing boards in addition to his own Eaton Surfboards and Paddleboards, and was relieved to hear that Bing might have a fresh face to take over guiding the Bing brand.
So in 2000, Dan Bendiksen, head shaper for Bing Surfboards in the late 1960s, introduced Calvani to Bing Copeland and Mike Eaton. This introduction paved the way for Calvani to inherit Bing Surfboards and in 2003, Calvani set up shop alongside Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards, watching and learning from this master craftsman. When Hap Jacobs retired in 2004 Calvani came full circle and took over the brand, moving into Hap’s premises on Hermosa Beach, right next door to Shoreline Glassing. Today he shapes exclusively for Bing, Hap Jacobs and Rick Surfboards, with his most recent Bing shape being the Silver Spoon, a single fin, traditional board that befits Calvani’s relatively new-found love of longboarding.