Surfboard shapers are revered as artisans of the surfing lifestyle. Through their vision and skill they turn chunks of foam into refined surfboards that provide us with lifetimes of fun out amongst the waves. From a handful of backyard shapers in in the 1950s the surfboard manufacturing industry has exploded into a billion dollar business. Factories are no longer even based alongside surf beaches – some, in fact, are located in Asia where teams of non-surfers work alongside precision shaping machines to construct creations that will be shipped and ridden at beaches all around the world.
The hubs of surfboard manufacturing are Australia, the United States and Brazil, with healthy industries in Europe, the UK, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand. There are some dominant players in the surfboard manufacturing industry – think Channel Islands, Firewire, Hayden Shapes – but there remains a whole spectrum of smaller players who produce boards that excel in terms of quality and craftsmanship.
Surfboards are beautiful things. Here is a list of companies that make them.
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‘Established in 1978 on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Aloha quickly picked up momentum and in a relatively short time was attracting positive support from an unprecedented number of world professionals. As a result the Aloha brand was set to march across most surfing territories over the next decade following the world tour, and was being exposed on all major surfing continents. Professional surfing has helped shape the Aloha ethos and has very much driven the design, and Aloha’s own team reads like a who’s who of surfing; with most long term members joining in the junior ranks before making their way to ASP or WCT tours of today. Over the years our surfers have, through their extraordinary surfing and individual personalities, cemented the Aloha brand into Australia’s and the world’s rich surfing history. At 36 years young Aloha has the respect and acknowledgement from the world’s surfers which is a true testament to our ability to be at the forefront of surfing and lifestyle’ ‘We are a growing group of like-minded individuals drawn together as custodians of the Aloha brand. Our goal is to create quality crafted boards, and apparel designed thoughtfully and with an attention to design and art. What we do is a little different, because you are.’
‘Here at BeachBeat we always like to deliver the best to our customers. Whether it’s high performance short boards, beginner to intermediate boards or something custom designed. The same knowledge and craftsmanship goes in to every board we design and build, so you get the maximum enjoyment and longevity out of whatever craft you choose for whatever style of surfer you are. We work on state of the art CAD shaping programs to design our boards and operate our own APS 3000 shaping machine, one of the most dialled and accurate machines the world over. An incredible asset for fractional custom design adjustments and the duplication of your magic design again and again. We also have a team of UK and international board designers and shapers headed up by Marcus Lascelles, youngest son of the late, great Peter ‘Chops’ Lascelles. Working closely with our riders and local surfers, we test our boards extensively in the water before releasing our board models to the public and to our range, so that we’re confident it will work for you.’ ‘Beachbeat surfboards was founded in mid 80’s Cornwall by a young Australian surf star and world wonderer Peter ‘chops’ Lascelles. After arriving in St Agnes in the early 80’s Chops made Cornwall and St Agnes his home. Employing a couple of local Aggie rippers and boat builders to look after the glassing and sanding and Chops as head shaper, the Beachbeat surfboard factory and brand was born, it fast became one of the most iconic brands in the European surfing world. With international surf stars and board shaper friends visiting Chops regularly and taking over the bars and breaks of St Agnes the surf and surfboard scene was truly buzzing. We now focus on shaping, designing and running our shaping machine and work closely with one of Europe’s finest finishing factories for the glassing and finishing of our boards.’
‘In 1977 John Milius developed the Bear surfboard brand for the movie Big Wednesday, one of the all time cinematic classics, focusing on the Malibu surf scene of the 60’s and early 70’s, a time when “boards were made of wood and men were made of iron”. The first Bear surfboards were made by legendary Kauai shaper Billy Hamilton. In 1980 another legend joined the team when Randy Rarick from Oahu’s North Shore began shaping Bear Boards. The quality of Randy and Billy’s boards quickly earned Bear a reputation for excellence. That reputation continues today, with Bear excellent clothing and boards shaped by some of the finest craftsmen in the surfing world. The bear is still growling, the legend continues.’
‘Over 20 years ago BIC Sport launched the first molded production surfboard in the history of the sport. This radical idea opened the sport to tens of thousands of new surfers by offering a winning combination of performance and durability at a reasonable price. In order to design a full range of molded boards BIC sport partnered with some of the best board shapers in the industry. One of those shapers, Gerard Dabbadie, understood and believed in the idea of making surfing accessible to everyone as well as the fact that each of his original shapes would be built exactly as intended, in each board that came out of the mold. Gerard has been with the brand since the beginning and still is today. He designed most models in the BIC Surfboard range, including the legendary 7’9 and 7’3 models, both of which have seen more than 100,000 units produced and shipped from the production facility in Vannes, Brittany. More recently BIC Surf received the European Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Brand of the Year award in 2013 and as well as the Ecoride Gold award in 2013-2016 for environmental commitments throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. For 2017 the BIC Surf is exited to offer the most comprehensive range of boards we’ve ever developed, as well as key new features and benefits.’
‘Since 1969, Channel Islands Surfboards has been dedicated to performance and quality through hard work, innovation, and originality. Over the last 43 years, Channel Islands has grown from a local grass-roots operation to a cutting edge organization, catering to the best surfers in the world. It started with hard-core surfing and quality in mind and these guidelines have brought us through four decades of constant change in the surf industry. Channel Islands will shape the new millennium with innovative design and quality as our main focus. CI is a privately held organization focused on rider-driven product and manufacturing the best possible equipment available. Located in a state-of-the-art facility just blocks from Rincon Del Mar, the CI HQ represents a foundation for developing, testing, and building boards while providing jobs in Santa Barbara for many years to come. Channel Islands Surfboards was created by Al and Terry Merrick in 1969. From his birth, Britt spent his days in the factory by the beach in Santa Barbara, from toddling around blanks to sweeping out shaping rooms. Eventually he started shaping alongside his father Al in 1990. He is now the lead shaper and designer for CI and carries on the family tradition of developing high performance board designs collaborating with the world’s greatest surfers. From Tom Curren, to Dane Reynolds, Channel Islands continues to evolve with the highest standard of surfing.’
‘Firewire is dedicated to building high performance surfboards and accessories through innovative design, materials and construction methods. We strive to do so with the lowest possible impact on the environment while also giving back to the global surf community through support of various environmental and humanitarian organizations. Firewire believes that refinements to the shape of today’s modern surfboards can only produce incremental performance benefits. Exponential improvements in performance require the ongoing development of new materials and construction methods which, in turn, will fuel new design opportunities.’
‘We are a Surf & Skate Manufacturer in San Diego, California and have been family owned and operated since 1959. Founders: Larry Gordon & Floyd Smith. Currently, the business is operated by the second generation brother and sister team: Eric and Debbie Gordon. At our current Surfboard Factory, we not only glass our own boards but glass other top shaper brands in San Diego. It’s still all about Quality and Craftsmanship after 57 years in business. We have 3 experienced Shapers who 100% hand-shape all of our boards. We can duplicate your favourite, come up with a custom from scratch from our newest model templates, or pull a design from our library of 5 decades of proven models to suit your needs. Our skateboard warehouse is next to the Surfboard factory and our skateboards are built at Watson Laminates in San Diego. We are currently producing reissues in collaboration with some of our teamriders.’
‘Jed Noll opened the doors of the Noll Surfboards flagship store in San Clemente in April 2009. Having working shaping bays, vintage Noll surfboards on display as well as having a gallery full of wood surfboards and art shaped by Greg and Jed that is constantly revolving has made this shop a destination spot for all ages. We offer the entire line of Noll surfboards, Noll clothing, and all sorts of great surf accessories.’
‘Founded in 1971 by brothers Stephen and Jimmy Tsukayama, Hawaiian Island Creations started as a small surf shop in Kailua on Oahu’s Windward shore. Through a commitment to quality, service and aloha spirit, the brand has built a reputation as an icon of Hawaiian surfing recognized throughout the world. The retail chain has grown to include fourteen stores across three islands, providing authentic Hawaiian surf gear to both locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the ride wherever you may be with HIC clothing and accessories shipped direct to you, from Hawaii with aloha.’
‘Surfing is art. Art is surfing. Over the decades, HB shapers and surfers have worked to create surfboards for all levels of ability. HB’s goal is to build surfboards that work best when you need them – when waves are the best. All of the HB Model computer cut-files are continually refined using feedback from HB’s surfers who test all models in one of the world’s toughest arenas, North Narrabeen. HB’s shapers work with the latest computer software ensuring accuracy and the capacity to reproduce all models to the highest standard and accuracy. Our CN Customs use Australian Bennett foam exported to our dedicated manufacturer. The CN factory uses only the best imported raw materials and is continually researching best practice production techniques in both polyester and epoxy construction. The result is quality, performance and choice.’
‘Few surfers would be surprised to learn that Lost Surfboards is the largest manufacturer of surfboards in the United States. And in such a competitive and fast-evolving industry, such a feat cannot be a fluke and has taken years of consistent delivery, effort, quality and market-awareness for Lost Surfboards to take its place among the greats surfboard manufacturers. It has taken a combination of innovation, employment of cutting edge technology, a seamless supply chain and a focus on customer needs for the brand to get to where it is today. It is also very important to mention Lost Enterprises’ raw approach to showing the world ‘What’s Really Going On’ in the surf world and dismissing the false view that the boom of competitive surfing has caused.’
‘Surfing is a personal pursuit. We all have different paths into the ocean with different experiences and feelings, hopes and passions. But the differences don’t stop there – like anything in life, we are all surfers of varying abilities. Some of us prefer cruisy sessions with mates in easy waves, while others are happy to compete for surf. Some aren’t comfortable in big waves, while others thrive on challenging conditions. There is no right and wrong. No better or worse. There is virtue in all approaches and importantly, there’s room for everyone. As a shaper, nothing beats feedback that someone has just had a magical experience on a board you’ve created for them. This spurs me on to design surfboards that go faster, carve harder and showcase a continual evolution of performance virtues. Along the way, I’ve been pushing the boundaries of high-speed tow surfing, have worked closely with the world’s best surfers to feed their information back into the design process and have constantly strived to develop manufacturing credentials that are both sustainable and world’s best practice. The goal is to create a new, environmentally friendly Sustainable Surfboard manufacturing base – to draw on the latest technology to create longer lasting surfboards – and to allow me to pass on knowledge and experience that helps the shapers of tomorrow shape boards for you – the surfer.’
‘McTavish Surfboards is a high quality surfboard manufacturer based in Byron Bay, Australia. The brand was founded by Bob McTavish in 1962, with boards bearing the McTavish name in production ever since. McTavish Surfboards has been an important part of the Australian and international surfboard manufacturing landscape for more than half a century, just as relevant today as it has ever been. Bob’s lovable larrikin personality and his contributions to surf design and culture form the basis of what McTavish is all about – design excellence, excitement, fun and adventure. Today the McTavish team is proud to run an independent, low volume establishment dedicated to quality and craftsmanship, with a small, dedicated staff of about 20 people working in the Byron Bay compound, which consists of factory and offices, a showroom displaying over 200 new boards, as well as McTavish branded apparel and accessories.’
‘At NSP, we go a step beyond in the design, technology and manufacturing techniques used in all our boards. When you buy an NSP surf or SUP, you can be sure that only the best research, development, design, manufacturing and customer support goes into everything we do – our goal is to ensure your experience with NSP, both on and off the water, is the best it can possibly be.’ The name stands for Nature, Science and Passion.
‘Pukas Surf Shop is the multi-branded surf shop chain that Pukas has been running for over 30 years. Located in the heart of Spain’s and Europe’s surf culture cities (Zarautz and San Sebastian), these shops not only have great taste on brands and surf hardware, Pukas Surf Shop have been responsible for the organization of countless surf contests that brought, for the first time ever, pro surfers to the Basque Country during the 80s and 90s. Helping youngsters via sponsorships, bringing great international brands mixed with the local knowledge and lots of surfing, Pukas Surf Shops in Zarautz and San Sebastian are the places to meet the right people and find nice stuff to shop.’
‘Rusty Preisendorfer shaped his first surfboard during the winter of 1969/1970. The years that followed were full of study, practice, experience and testing. By the 80’s the world began to take notice of the innovation coming out of Rusty’s shaping and by the end of ’84 more than half of the top 16 surfers were getting boards from Rusty. Since that time creation has continued to flourish from Rusty’s hands and his brand continues to grows and expand globally.’
‘In 1978 Dennis Jarvis, a young – up and coming professional surfer from the South Bay beaches of Los Angeles started building SPYDER surfboards to better suit his own personal needs for a higher performance surfboard to compete on the Professional World Tour. In 1983 Dennis opened Spyder Surf Shop, to meet what had become a steady demand for his Spyder Surfboards. You could find Dennis shaping in the back of the shop, and get a custom board shaped while trying on a new pair of boardshorts in the front of the store. What started as an 850 sq ft. retail space at the corner of Artesia Blvd and Pacific Coast Highway in the sleepy little artist beach town of Hermosa Beach is today a nearly 7000 sq ft surf, skate, and snow mecca. We’ve still got some of those original Spyderboards. And the same pride and neurotic pursuit to build the perfect surfboard that went into creating those boards can be found in all the nearly 200 Spyderboards that fill the surfboard room. Some of the very best surfers in the world, from recent World Champions to pioneering legends have ridden or continue to ride Spyder Surfboards.’
‘In 1971 Craig Sugihara founded in Town & Country Surf Shop. The beginnings of this venture were humble – an old barbershop in Pearl City Hawaii served as the original storefront. Fueled by an unrestrained passion for surfing and initial start-up capital of $3,000.00 Town & Country has evolved into a multifaceted surf company and has solidified its passion as a worldwide industry icon. While many surfers are drawn to the ocean and the act of surfing, few have a real thirst for understanding and creating their own equipment. Craig is one of those exceptions. As his surfing skills improved his interest in the anatomy of the surfboard and its impact on performance increased. In 1971, with limited capital and limitless stoke Craig opened his first shop in Pearl City. At the time Kamehameha Highway was the only access to the North Shore and its many epic waves. The name reflected the shop’s position between the two epicenters of surf on Oahu – Town & Country. The strategic position of the shop and quality boards drove strong demand for Town & Country Surfboards. In early years such notable shapers like Glenn Minami and Barry Kanaiaupuni helped Craig meet growing demand. The logo, suggested by a t-shirt artist, has strong graphic character and deep meaning. Most simple and applicable to surfing is – BALANCE. This balance has defined the evolution of Town & Country over the years.’
‘Superbrand, founded in 2008 with team riders Dion Agius, Clay Marzo, and Ry Craike, is all about progression. By joining a team of young, innovative Surfboard designers—the Superbrand Shapers’ Collective—with a skate-influenced aesthetic and full-board graphics, Superbrand set new standards of excellence in the surfboard industry. Beginning with gaining a core following in the surf community with high quality and unique-looking boards, hype quickly grew.
In June 2010 Superbrand launched its first Apparel Collection, an assortment that followed the youthful, progressive, high-quality aesthetic of the Brand. With the bones in place, distributions carefully grew to core markets and fine boutiques in the US, Australia, and select other regions.’
‘JS industries has become one of the best known and respected names in the world of performance surfboards. Jason Stevenson (founder, owner and shaper) has built the company from ground up and his talents and love of surfing have gained him global recognition and excellent relationships with a world class team of loyal surfers. The iconic traktor logo is found under many of the top 34’s feet including Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson, Owen Wright, Dusty Payne, Ace Buchan, Jeremy Flores and Ryan Callinan. JS and Parko especially have had a long and productive relationship; which in the past few years has reached new levels in both surfing and shaping performance. From winning World Titles to breakthroughs in board design, theirs is one of the most fruitful surfer/shaper relationships of all time. Jason’s work is coming into 2016 at its absolute best; his shaping replicates all of the innovations and improvements the team and world champions were riding by the end of the 2015 competition year and we are incredibly excited for the future of surfing. JS will be there to see it progress!’
‘For those of you who don’t know me, I am Donald Takayama, owner of Surfboards by Donald Takayama/Hawaiian Pro Designs Inc. and Sufers Choice Products. I would like to give you a bit of my background in the surfing industry. I have been surfing, designing and manufacturing surfboards for over 55 years. I am a 5 time United States Surfing Champion and compete for fun whenever my schedule permits. The sport of surfing has been my life. I have been fortunate to have made many friends and appreciate those who have believe in and enjoyed the work that I do. From a humble beginning I taught myself how to shape a surfboard out of necessity. Most everyone at the time shaped their own surfboards in the backyard. In fact it was known as backyard industry for quite some time. Over the years I have had many different experiences and have been pround of being a part of the industry that I have watched grow to global proportions. As small as the network in the surfing industry really is, the impact of the lifestyle created it’s own culture, which has branched off into a multitude of the ideas for business and pleasure. I have tried to mix both into what I do. From surfboards and apparel to accessories. I hope that you too will enjoy a great day of surfing and maybe even good surf flick when the day is done. Enjoy and Mahalo!’
‘Spider shaped his first board in 1963 at the age of 16 and founded War Surfboards before joining Graham Hynes at Safari as their main Shaper in 1972 following the departure of Andrew Ogilvie. He is still in the shaping bay or on the beach everyday and has become one of the world’s most experienced and prolific shapers. Spider’s creative approach to surfboard design developed through his relationship with Shaun Tomson. Their partnership broke with conventional design and the results were boards which suited Shaun’s style of manoevering far back in the barrel. Having shaped boards for more than 20 World Champion surfers over a 45 year period, Spider has developed a consultative style that has and still does bring out the best from some of the world’s most innovative surfers.’
‘To make a high quality performance Surfboard you need many things. The best materials and the utmost passionate people with artisan craftsmen qualities . We at Formula Energy pride ourselves on these points. We meticulously oversee the creation of all our surfboard from start to finish. This dedication creates a surfboard “That will last longer and perform better”. Performance Surfboards built to outlast, Made in Australia. Our surfboards are handmade at our solar powered factory on the Gold Coast. The boards are custom made therefore we can design and create the exact specifications that you require. We strive to manufacture the most high performance product possible but are mindful of environmental impact and the negative values of using standard board building materials.’
‘Each surfboard is a true artpiece combined with functionality. Surf ’em or keep as collectors items. A product unlike any other ‘produced’ surfboard on the market today. Dick has been at the cutting edge of surf craft design for 30 years on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia.’
‘Simon Anderson has been a household name among the worldwide surfing fraternity since 1981 when he changed the way surfers would ride there boards forever! The Inventor of the Thruster surfboard has been a world title runner up & after the fact has shaped countless boards & influenced possibly every surfboard shaper & rider since. A wide variety of boards with new ideas all the time, mixed with the knowledge that goes back decades. Simon Anderson surfboards are at the top echelon of the industry. With boards that have been ridden by every pro imaginable Simon Anderson has a board to suit everyone.’
‘Stacey Surfboards, Supporters of Goodtimes. Started in 2009 by Lee Stacey to produce high performance shortboards and surfboards for the everyday surfer. Based in Tweed Heads, NSW they are known for producing some of the highest quality boards on the market. Team riders include Mitch Crews, Evan Geiselman, Kalani David, Jesse Adam, Dakoda Walters and John ‘Bear’ Cummings. It’s through feedback from team and customers that board development continues to evolve.’
‘Since 1979, Stretch has been creating distinctive and innovative custom hand built boards for surfing, sailing, kiting, and tow surfing. Born in Malibu, CA, he was taught to build boards by his father Mike Riedel, a shaper for Velzy Jacobs Surfboards in the 1960’s. His multitude of craftsmanship and wave riding skills eventually landed him in Santa Cruz where a life changing windsurfing accident in 1988 left him with partial paralysis. His enthusiasm for progressive wave riding continues daily with technological advancement, team feedback and a passion for building the best board possible.’