Shaper Ryan Lovelace has created a surfer’s, shaper’s and artist’s haven in Santa Barbara, California.
Trim Shop is a three-story warehouse in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, an area made up of wine bars, breweries, artist studios and surf shops.
Last week, Lovelace gave us a tour of his shop and ran us through some of his board designs.
In the case of Trim, “shop” is a broad term: Lovelace’s operation houses guest rooms for visiting shapers and creatives, an art studio, a shaping room, and a storefront filled with gorgeous boards, ’70s photography by Dan Merkel and sketches drawn by Lovelace’s girlfriend, Katie McLean.
The rooftop deck overlooks Sandspit, the righthand barrel in Santa Barbara Harbor. The store doubles as a party venue (when we visited, there were still amps and mic stands from the band the week before) and the whole building is watched by Lovelace’s fierce, 20-lb guard dog, Herbie.
Lovelace’s boardline, TrimCraft, is an extension of his shaping philosophy. “Surfboards are built these days by CNC [computer numerical control] machines,” he explained on our tour. “They get pre-shaped by a big machine. We’re trying to breathe a bit more life back into hand-shaping: taking an entire blank and doing the whole process … spending the time to build a surfboard.”
He has put his theory to the test: “I think those of us that are really dedicated to hand-shaping feel the difference. I’ve done the experiment on myself and tried machine-shaped versions of my boards, then hand-shaped one, and I just feel happier on the hand-shaped one. I think what it is is the connection between the person building it and the actual board.”
He’s also proud of his unfinished, bohemian setup, a design he purposefully chose, perhaps as a statement: “Any friends or customers that come by, we give them a little tour, to show them why the Funk Zone is worth not developing completely. There is still some ‘funk’ left.”
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