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Mark Richards' Shape-off Report & Interview

Standing in front of the Official Poster with my Bumblebee replica

Mark Richards Updates

'Shape-off' at the The Boardroom International Surfboard Exibition 

Thirty-Six minute video interview with MR including his take on Kelly Slater

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 October, 2012 : - - I was totally stoked to be honored as a shaper at The Boardroom International Surfboard Exibition recently.

This show is held annually in Del Mar California and is the brainchild of Scott Bass and his family. It specifically showcases all aspects of the surfboard industry, from blanks to material suppliers, and a diverse range of boards from traditional to modern and futuristic. It takes the form of a trade show where exhibitors have a booth to display their product, and is open to the public as well as industry.

All the major surfboard manufacturers and shapers are represented, and the owners and shapers usually attend. It is a unique opportunity to view a wide range of surfboards under one roof, and more importantly, speak to the shapers, which is rare in a retail situation.

A major part of the show is that each year they choose to honor a shaper.  Six contemporary shapers are selected by the organizer of the show, with input from the honoree, and given the task of recreating a nominated surfboard model in a “shape-off “. As the shaper to be honored, I chose a classic twin fin from 1981, and the shapers in the shape-off were Taz Yassine, Reno Abellira, Pat Rawson, Wayne Rich, Jon Pyzel, and Ricky Carroll.


                                The original 1981 Twin fin with the ‘Shape-Off’ area behind.


                     The bottom of the original Twin..I went a bit overboard on the decals!!!


They build a shaping room with glass walls in the middle of the auditorium, and they set up seating around it, so that the audience can sit and watch the shaping as it happens. Each shaper is given 90 minutes to replicate the twin fin. They are allowed to have the original board in the room with them for reference, and they are allowed to take templates and measurements from it beforehand.

The shape is done from a raw blank, so it is time consuming and labour intensive, as well as a serious challenge to replicate a board in a short time when you are not familiar with the design. Even though I made the original board, I would find it challenging to reproduce it in that amount of time!!!

The original board was from a collection on display in the Surfing Heritage Museum in San Clemente. It was the twin fin I used during my 1981 World Title campaign, and rode it winning the Mainstay Magnum Event in South Africa. I remember it took me about 4-5 hours to shape, and I also did the colour spray and all the finish work including glassing.


                          Taz, Wayne, Reno, Jon Pyzel, Ricky and Pat …a wealth of talent.


To put the whole thing in perspective, it is really difficult for a shaper to feel comfortable and work well, when he is not in his own room. Everyone sets their stand height differently and also has their side lights at different heights. It is a compromise using a ‘generic’ room, and there is also the ‘pressure’ of being watched the whole time by a crowd of enthusiastic surfers. It is a rare opportunity for a surfer to see a board being shaped from start to finish.

I watched every one of the shapers for most of their time, and from what people told me, I am the only honoree to have shown such interest in the shaping process. It was my way of showing respect to them for coming to be a part of the show. It was really interesting how they all had a different ‘angle of attack’ on it. Some cut the outline with a handsaw, others used a router. ( I use a handsaw) Some started on the top, others on the bottom. ( I start on the top) There was also a different array of hand tools used after the electric planer process.

Read the full article by Mark Richards at

Below is the interview I did from the boardroom Show

Source: Mark Richards Surfboards

Author: Mark Richards

Tags: Boardroom International Surfboard Exibition,

Shapers: Surfersvillage


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