Inspired perhaps by the TV show Beavis and Butt-Head, Kyten Traviss created a hand-shaped surfboard for the June 15 Vans Beach Day at Cox with an illustration of a skull and crossbones engulfed with flames and blood dripping down.
Traviss, a Storm Surf Shop team rider, said it took him about six hours to shape the 5’7” twin fin surfboard.
“I tried to make it so it was easy to get into waves and not too floaty so you could duck dive it,” said the nine-year-old.
Despite getting a lot of foam in his eyes, Traviss said the process of shaping his first surfboard was fun, and he hopes to work with Allister Fernie and the Storm guys again on another one.
Vans Canada marketing rep Paul Gonzalez was delighted to see so many surfers at Cox Bay ‘frothing’ to demo different types of surfboards.
“That’s why we come here. We love working with the local surf community to fuel creative expressions,” said Gonzalez.
Leading up to the Vans Beach Day, Vans dished out two surfboard blanks to three surf shops: Storm, Long Beach, and Relic.
Philippe Bourret-Roy, Ucluelet’s ding repair go-to, and Relic Surf Shop owner Mike Bray pulled an all-nighter to shape a finless 5’7” surfboard for the event.
“It’s a little square outline board with really, really deep concave and channels. The idea is that if you displace the water in those channels, that you’re able to grab a little under water with fins. It was really tricky,” said Bourret-Roy.
He went on to say that shaping a surfboard is kind of like a meditation.
“You put a lot of work into one piece of equipment. It’s a lot of try and error,” he said, adding that the first one he made probably took him more than 20-hours.
“The glassing is always really stressful if you haven’t done it. The resin will take a certain amount of time, like 20 or so minutes, and if you’re not quick enough then everything you’ve done could be scrap,” he said.
Bill Fend and the Long Beach Surf Shop family, above, shaped an 8’10” longboard called ‘The Smoke Show’ in honour of their departed shop cat Smokey. They even embedded a ball of the cat’s grey hair on the deck of the board.
Vans team rider Dean Petty journeyed from Cow Bay, Nova Scotia to Tofino for the Beach Day at Cox.
“This event is epic. I think the self-shape side of it is really cool and then the whole board library that they are building with the shops… It’s a different side of surfing that I don’t think everyone sees,” said Petty.
“It’s kind of intimidating to shape a board, but I think when you see people that aren’t really good at shaping or maybe it’s their first time shaping and then you get to try to ride it, it can promote that side of [the sport].”
He offered some advice for people looking at investing in a custom shaped surfboard.
“Find a shaper that you know and trust in a way. Find a board that is best suited for what you are trying to enjoy in the water,” notes Petty.
For parents looking at buying a new surfboard for their kid, Jay Rosene, founder of the Torpedo Kids Surf School, says to look at their ability and how much fun they want to have.
“Having the kids enjoy [surfing] first is probably key. And then have them try different boards. Save your money. Use a rental,” he said, adding that a kid’s first surfboard only needs to be a couple hundred bucks.
“They’re going to drop ‘em and drag ‘em down the beach,” said Rosene.
Lorne Acheson is a longtime surfer, but his interest in the sport extends beyond the tides. He doesn’t just surf boards, he makes them by hand in Parksville.
After learning Acheson was about to start a special board with the help of his wife, local artist Yvonne Acheson, reporter Adam Kveton from the Parksville Qualicum Beach News documented the process from start to finish.