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I had been buying boards off the rack, or pro models used off of craigslist for years. I was still learning, and was naive as anyone else when looking at new surfboards. I wanted to ride what Andy Irons rode, what Taj was getting barreled on. I thought if I watched enough of their clips, got the board they were on, I would eventually get the hang of it, right?
How very wrong I was. How very frustrated I became.
And allow my trials and tribulations help you down the right path. It really wasn’t until I bought my first custom for a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago that the light bulb turned on in my head...
I have the ability to tweak dimensions of a template I liked for my own height and weight, the waves and conditions I was surfing, and be able to talk it over personally with a local shaper - ALL while still staying under the price point of Surfer X’s new shortboard model at my local shop. It seemed too good to be true. Sure, it took a little longer. 4 weeks seemed like an eternity, but it was worth the wait. I've heard the saying "Good things come to those who wait. Great things happen to those who wait even longer". It couldn't be more true when it comes to fine tuning a custom surfboard.
In return not only did I receive a board just for me (my name was even glassed along the stringer!), but also the knowledge and insight inside the design of surfboards in general - what I needed for certain situations, what sort of volume I needed to get the performance that I wanted, etc. Bill has the plethora of information and experience, so I might as well ask him what he thinks would work.
I still ride that board to this day. Sure, it's in a rotation of about 4 or 5 other custom boards, but when the right conditions call, I know I have a board dialed in for whatever Mother Ocean throws at me.
That's the beauty of going custom.
A few years down the line, and you have a personal quiver unlike any other, and you have the knowledge and arsenal to go to battle whatever the conditions may be. It made me look at surfboards differently. It made me feel more in tune with my equipment and the surfing I was envisioning.
For San Diego, my shaper isn’t recommending the same tweaks for boards that I want for Central America and vice versa. It’s those “subtle” details that make all the difference. And it's the main reason why I’ll go custom for as long as I surf.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love walking into my local shops to get a look and feel of the different designs the Industry comes up with. But I won’t be ordering off the rack again, especially knowing Bill can help create exactly what I’m looking for.
Surfing’s quite the investment to begin with, which is why people hesitate when I bring up Custom boards. That I totally understand. But to be honest, when I put down the money to get a custom through Bill, I’m not worried like I was all those years ago leaving the surf shop with a brand new stick, wondering if this was the right board for me.
The confidence I leave the shaping bay now with new templates and picking Bill’s brain, gives me the peace of mind that the board that is coming will do what I'm looking for. It's been discussed and thought out, and not an impulse type of decision, which can come sometimes when buying a surfboard.
It’s built for me.
If you've been surfing for a little while, I highly recommend going custom as soon as you can. Call us, talk to me or Garek, we can even set you up with Bill. He's very approachable and at the end of the day will get you stoked on a board that will last you for years.
When will you go custom?