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Jeff Timpone Surfboards & Surfwear, Maui, Hawaii
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This text originally appears on AllAboutSurf.com



Shawn Stussy, Jeff Timpone & Paul Huessenstamm.

Jeff Timpone began his shaping career in a Laguna Beach garage in 1968. Later that year he moved to Hawaii, working as a boat builder on Oahu where he continued to build boards and surf. After 3 years he returned to California where he was hired by Russell Surfboards in Newport Beach where he perfected his skills. In 1980 he opened Timpone Surfboards in Huntington Beach.

After almost 10 years of successful business in Huntington Beach Jeff Packed up his house and family and returned to Hawaii in 1989. Landing on Maui Jeff has shaped for the 3 largest sailboard manufacturers on the island. Doing this allowed him to learn all aspects of sailboard construction and board design. Once again Jeff set out on his own and opened Timpone Hawaii — a surf and sailboard factory that operates on the cutting edge of new designs and construction. Having over 37 years of experience allows Jeff to be constantly evolving new and better rail and rocker contours. Building the highest quality surf and sailboards has always been, and will remain, the first priority at Timpone Hawaii.

Every culture has had forward thinking individuals who were uninhibited in their quest for better design. They brought their vision to fruition, then gave it away for the rest to enjoy and expand upon. Surfboard design was no different.

In the late sixties, Brewer, Diffenderfer, and McTavish opened the door with their versions of the new surfboard. Theirs was an unconventional craft with the world's best surfers as test pilots riding the best waves in world. They changed the look of surfing, and it kept morphing, except the upper end of Big Wave Riding.

A little over twenty years later, Jeff Timpone, Gerry Lopez, and Brewer, once again, pioneered surfboard design for the next phase of big wave exploration: tow-in surfing. Their boards were being ridden like skates in a half-pipe.



Labors of love.
The seemingly animated riders were surfing waves so sensational that mainstream media capitalized on the "shock and awe" value with ads, movies, books, and even the cover of National Geographic. Over the last decade, the surfing done on these experimental boards has paved the way for all well respected big wave riders to explore the next level. As with all significant breakthroughs in the evolution of functional design, it inspired their respective shapers and became a starting point for the likes of JC, Al Merrck, and Rusty.

Jeff Timpone Sounds Off on 'Dis & Dat'

Q: Who are some of your influences?
A: "Keasy, Russell, O'day, Stussy, I was blessed to get started at a place where all we did was custom boards. It was all about building boards for people at different levels of surfing, surfing different places, different size waves, and different abilities of surfing. That's the way I learned how to do it. That's still how I do now, custom, at least 95%."

Q: What's your favorite music?
A: "I'm stuck in the sixty's, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, but I love classical, you know, ...original long hair music, good background music, good for at least a couple hours of solid working."

Q: Who are some of your favorite surfers?
A: "Carlos Androtti, Barry Kanaiapuni, Tiger Espere, Lenny Foster, Junior Beck, Paul Heussenstamm, Dan Flecky, Brian Duncan, Brad Gerlach, Herbie Fletcher, Wolfman, Darryl Diamond, Bob Stay, Corky, It's tuff to pull out individual performances or people that I really liked 'cause I was lucky enough to see and/or surf with a lot of them. There were so many."

Q: Who are some of your favorite shapers?
A: "Bob McTavish: he showed up on the north shore when I was living over there, after stowing away on a freighter from Oz. He jumped off in the harbor, swam to shore, hitched a ride to the north shore (so the story goes), hand sketched an outline on a blank, and shaped it. I don't know with what, a tooth pick and a tooth brush, and he was out surfing it the next day. The best surfer I ever saw, first full round house. I gotta say I was more in the Brewer school than the Diffenderfer. We used to go over to the Surfline Hawaii shop and measure out the new pocket rockets that Brewer was shaping, and that's what we tried to emulate. Not much V at first, I didn't get turned on to V until about board number ten or fifteen."

Q: Name some great craftsmen you've worked with?
A: "Mike O'day, who's retired but was the head shaper at Russel's when I started there. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. Not so much how to shape, although he did a lot of critiquing of my boards after I shaped them. I gotta say Stussy again. Shaun was one of the best shapers, when he was shaping, that I ever saw. His boards were great, they worked, they were an inspiration. And Bruce Jones, same thing, great craftsmen, still going. Mel Ross, he was a laminator at the Hobie shop in the sixties, and he's still going. The BrotherHood guys: Randy Ledow, Paul Sides, and Russell (Bob Brown) himself. He still does all the wet work on his own boards, and he's happy."

Q: Comment on long boarding vs. short boarding?
A: "Everytime I get on a longboard, I love it. I have a great time. It's not something I'm pursuing personally. Because I have Dave Kalama riding my boards, and he gets eveything. We've been making replicas of twin fins I made in the late seventies, those old Shaun Thompson single fins from the Free Ride days. As a shaper, I love the versatility I'm allowed to have working with a guy like Dave because he's always ready to try something new, and it keeps me fresh. As far as the difference long boarding and short boarding goes, it's all surfing. I enjoy building the boards and I'm just blessed that people like them. I have some great young surfers riding my boards, and they are making me focus on all the aspects of shaping. It makes it more interesting to do more than just long boards or short boards or Jaws boards. Being versatile and doing a lot of different stuff keeps you fresh, and it just is a lot more fun."

Q: What about the future of tow-boards?
A: "Dave's my main guy. He always comes up with a lot of good ideas. He's the one that's feeling what's going on out there. I don't tow. Right now, every board has basically been a science project. From asymmetric rails, wider tails, narrower noses, narrower tails, wider noses, different kinds of concave, fin placement. We are really doing almost a different board every time now. We're close enough with the rocker and the bottom turn rail and stuff like that. We're playing with the outline and volume. The boards are getting thinner and thinner but there're still heavy for Jaws, coming in at around 19 to 20 lbs. It's been a nonstop evolution. We're hitting the nail close enough to the head that we're not messing up. The boards seem to work. Watching them live and on film, I get a feel for what needs to be changed, and how the board goes through the water. I can see from one board to the next which one is going faster, which one's releasing easier. Dave seems stoked. He hasn't died out there yet, and we keep working together."

Q: What about foil boards?
A: "Does the work with foil boards have any influence on tow-boards? None whatsoever! The foil boards that we've made don't ride on the water, it's just a platform for the boots and a launching and landing place. The actual foil is the only thing in the water."

Q: Where are you at now?
A: "I don't need to go to the machine yet. I've always had this stupid line that: I never want to make a million of them. Just enough good ones to make a decent living at it, and get paid a Journeyman's wage. More money means all the responsibility to keeping people working, and then they start to rely on it, and when you want to take some time off, they get all pissed off at you."

Q: Are there any shapers to watch for the future?
A: "Honestly I don't look that much. All I can tell all those guys is keep an eye on my ass as I pull away from them."

Q: You're not looking back?
A: "No, as far as looking ahead, I'm not done. I'm still going and I'm under the impression that I'm only as good as my last board. If you don't stay on top of it, you're left in the dust. All I can see is an endless amount of orders, and I'm stoked!"


Quotes from colleagues and friends

"Jeff's one of the first shapers to have some foresight into the tow-in thing. He put a lot of his own energy and time into making these boards that seemingly went against all prior conventions. The boards were super thin, narrow, short, and heavy, and made to ride waves that previously hadn't been ridden. We went through many boards to get it right. Everybody was trying their own thing, something that would work for them, so Jeff was processing a lot of different information from many different riders. He kept an open mind, and I think it paid off for him. He was able to combine all this new information with his bank of info from a lifetime of shaping into a series of boards that helped define a new era in surfing." - Pete Cabrinha

"I've never worked with a shaper who could draw on such vast experience. Whether it's my newest Duke replica or formulating my latest Peahi board he always makes a winner. Jeff is The most versatile shaper." - Dave Kalama

"You have to have the utmost confidence in your board when you're surfing waves that big. The board can't even be a doubt in your mind. Whatever the design is, as long as you are completely confident in the equipment, then you're going to surf better because of it. You've got to be somewhat aggressive just to keep everything together because the wave is trying to tear you apart." - Dave Kalama

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