Art of Shaping

Jeff Timpone still uses the basic techniques he learned from Mike O’Day in the early 1970’s. O’Day’s methods centered on efficiency. First of all, efficiency includes using the shaping tools in sequence. Jeff starts with a handsaw, continues on to the planer, then the sure form, the hand plane, different grits of sandpaper, and finally a drywall screen for a board’s most nuanced features.

Except for the shaping tools, templates are the most important tool of the shaping trade. A shaping template acts as a blueprint, setting the foundation for how each finished board will interact with the waves it will ride. By creating a “magic” template, a shaper potentially has a blueprint for thousands of boards. Jeff still uses one of his “magic” templates from the 70’s to shape now-retro single-fin boards for nostalgic riders. Working with multiple templates on one board can generate fresh, innovative outlines and enable the achievement of infinite curves. The outline of a board helps align the board’s function with the goals of its rider.

Learning to adapt his shapes to different styles of surfing has attuned Jeff with his tools and design concepts. Beginning in the 80’s, Jeff found himself getting bogged down doing 30 shortboards a week, the same styles on repeat. That boredom inspired Jeff to take jobs shaping kneeboards and longboards, further broadening his shaping expertise. Jeff embraces diversity and quirk when they enter his shop; the balance of familiar and exotic in Timpone shapes comes from Jeff’s open-mindedness. Feedback from one style of board impacts the approach Jeff takes to another style and sometimes the “weirdest” concepts become the most impactful and long-lasting (the first request for a surfboard fitted with straps sounded weird, but eventually led to the tow-surfing revolution).

These days, Jeff proudly shapes any idea that comes through the doors of his Pauwela Cannery shop. Adhering to tried-and-true shaping methods assures that each custom Timpone board is built with care and efficiency. Constant dialogue with customers and a willingness to try new things ensures that Timpone shapes marry quality and innovation.

Why Buy Custom 

“The very best surfers normally use custom built boards fitting their known or desired performance specifications.” – Gordon Clark, Clark Foam

Surfboard innovation starts with custom shapes. A custom shape remains the only way to get a board designed for a specific, individual rider. Surf shops can only stock a finite number of boards. Even in the best-stocked board shop, surfers face a challenge when looking for their ideal board. Lack of knowledgeable customer support can exacerbate that challenge. Rarely is a salesperson experienced in paring surfers with boards suited for their experience level, preferred waves, let alone shaping design concepts. 

Know who built your surfboard 

Talented board builders around the world form the backbone of the surf industry. When ordering a custom board, a relationship with the board builder develops. The rider’s story interweaves with that of the board builder. For the dedicated craftspeople of the surfing industry, those stories are already complex, intricate, and fueled by a passion for the sport. By communicating directly with a shaper, a surfer taps into a shaper’s long and diverse history of board making to create exactly the board they want and need. Shapers can answer questions and concerns, as well as providing insight into materials, construction, and design. As well as collaborating while crafting a board, after a board is completed shapers can offer advice about board care, fin options, and repairs. This communication forms the foundation of a relationship that brings the best out of both the rider and the shaper as they work together on designs. 

Truly built for you 

All surfers, as humans, are not built the same. From physique to style to experience, surfers are almost as diverse as the waves they ride. A custom surfboard embraces specific needs above all. An experienced board builder can translate dream board characteristics into a tangible design. This eliminates the uncertainty that comes with buying a pre-built board off the rack. The best surfers continue to improve by ordering equipment that emphasizes their strengths. That is how a surfer becomes their best self, by balancing desires and strengths over the stringer of a custom surfboard. 

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