DIY board-building is one of the most time-honored and creative aspects of surf culture. For a lot of salts, going deep into the garage and emerging with something that may or may not resemble a surfboard is a bucket lister of the surf experience. Imagine doing a stylish mid-faced turn or making an impossibly fast section on a sled with your own signature on the stringer.
If you’ve been harboring the romantic notion of riding your own boards and are interested in dipping your toe into the realm of shaping, you’d be wise to start by gathering some tools. We recently tracked down shaper Jon Pyzel to get an idea of the essential instruments one would need in order to turn a blank into a board.
“Most people aren’t making high-performance shortboards right out of the gate,” says shaper Jon Pyzel, “They’re getting into shaping by making fun, funky things, and for the most part, they all work. Shaping a fat fish or something that gets waves, you really can’t screw it up.”
Pyzel moved from Santa Barbara to the North Shore in the early 90s and began working in board factories, eventually starting his own label and having the good business sense in 1998 to make boards for a skinny six-year-old kid who would one day morph into a World Champ. Today, he’s among the world’s most noted shapers.
We didn’t get into glassing because, well that gets complicated, but it turns out you don’t need a whole hell of a lot to simply shape up some foam. There are some suppliers that sell board building tools and materials, but according to Pyzel, you can get most everything you need from your local hardware store. Some of these gadgets, you can make yourself.
“A lot of guys use 25 different tools. I guess I’m a more rugged shaper because I only use about five,” Pyzel laughs.
Here’s where he says you should start.
This article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.