The perfect surfboard, every surfer’s dream, handshaped just for you and perfectly fitting your size and your surfing, the board that will take your surfing to the next level and help you take your best waves.
But getting a handshape custom surfboard is a like analog photography, you have an idea of the result you want in your head, but you can never truly know what you’re going to get at the end. To avoid unpleasant surprises and go for it serenely here are a few tips to help you choose you shaper and your surfboard.
Know yourself and what you want
To be able to choose a surfboard and guide the shaper into your dream board creation, you need to know what to ask for. Simply saying “I want the perfect board for me” is not enough unfortunately and sometimes the shaper must engage in a tough questioning in order to guess what board you need. Knowing yourself, your surfing level and your expectations allow the shaper to adapt the board to your needs. Only experience will help you know what is best for you, surf as many different boards as you can and as many different waves as you can to find out what you like and dislike. If you have never surfed anything else than the foam board at your surf school, it might be a little too soon to get a custom board, there are dozens of surfboard’s brands who make evolutive boards to help you evolve as a surfer and know yourself better before taking the plunge.
Choosing your shaper
Start by gathering informations about the shapers in your local area and about their specialties, ask other surfers what they think about their boards, their reputation, do a little benchmark before reaching out to them. Be careful of the stylistic effect, sure those pretty surfboards look good on Instagram, but they are made for surfing before anything else, unless you want to put them in your living room for the decoration you’d better do some research before falling for a beautiful board that isn’t good for you.
Exchanges with your shaper are very important for your board creation. If the shaper doesn’t ask you anything, run away! Amongst the frequently asked questions are of course your measurements and your level, the waves/surf spots you surf the most, your previous boards and what you think of them, your progress and ambition as a surf, your strenghts and weaknesses in the water, the kind of surfing/maneuvers you want to do with your new board, etc. Then you can talk design and colors!
Most of the time the shaper will suggest some of his own designs that he will then adapt to your size and surfing.
Time and budget
Timing is very variable depending on the shaper, some of them are really busy and wanted and you might have to wait a few months while others will deliver the board in a few weeks of time. In general it takes a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks to get your board done, then add another 2 to 3 weeks for the drying period.
In terms of budget, again it depends on the shaper, but usually you can get a shortboard for about 600€ and a longboard for about 1000€. All decorations and accessories are often extras, for example you will need to add an extra 200 to 300€ for a resin tint glass job or a special decoration.