Destination: Shaper Studios
What do you know about surfing?
You do it at the beach, you paddle, you stand up, most of the time you fall and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you catch a wave. If you know more than that, I’d put you in a category above me.
At 26 years old, I believe I’m pretty far from a mid-life crisis, but I do feel that something is missing, that I’m lacking a certain fulfillment that only comes from working with your hands. This creative stagnation though, is one that Paige has identified with, she understands, and thus she delivered one of the best birthday surprises that I could have never seen coming.
Enter Shaper Studios.
A California-based company, Shaper Studios embraced the camaraderie of surfing, the experience of custom boards and put the tools of the trade into the hands of the people that love the sport. On its own, the mission of Shaper Studios is admirable; not only developing the surf community further, but expanding the base and the appreciation of the art of shaping that goes into each board as the focus is taken away from creating just another number, and surfers learn what it means, in my mind, to be a rounded and complete water man.
But I don’t know anything about surfing.
Like I said before, my knowledge is limited to a documentary about the legendary Eddie Aikau, and I know the name Kelly Slater, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of surfing.
Developing that appreciation is where Shaper Studios excels. As a total rookie with a hodgepodge idea of what shape I need for East Coast surfing, my instructor Corey walked me through the process. From picking a blank, to measuring and skinning it, it didn’t matter that I had no idea what I was doing. What’s even better is the fact that I didn’t need to have an idea.
With most things I do, I get nervous, maybe anxious is a more appropriate word, that I won’t be as good as I think I should be. To some of you that will sound ridiculous, but I know that for a few, you’ll know exactly the feeling that I’m describing.
The fact of the matter is though, without having ever used an electric planer, or a sure-form, I shaped my first surfboard. I could have bought one but I didn’t.
I have a beautiful red and white hybrid that is literally unique to me, and there’s no feeling better than that.
I could give you the ins and outs of shaping, even share some youtube videos of people showing you how, but my suggestion is to do exactly what Paige did for me. Find a Shaper Studios near you, sign up for that six-hour class, and go to town in that billowing cloud of styrofoam as you literally shape your future.
That’s just my story of stepping outside the comfort zone, and I’d love to hear yours! If you’ve got a hands-on experience that shaped your life, drop it into the comments below!