We’ve all had to change hats in our lifetimes, and by that I mean change what we do to make our money… but at a certain point we usually settle into a spot that fits, our own little niche if you will. I went through my changes just like the rest of us, pro skateboarder, punk rock musician, and sous chef… but by 1993 I had found my place and it was in the surfboard industry here on the north shore of Oahu.
It was an incredible fit, and I found myself in the right place at the right time…
Before I knew it, I was working for the premier shapers in the world, touching boards that unbeknownst to them, would end up under the feet of the top pros of that era.
I spent three years working for John Carper or JC as most people know him. It was at the height of his popularity as a shaper and he was BUSY! We were on a strict 16 board a day schedule, every day, for weeks during our peak season. When it was time to move on, I’d finished over 3000 boards for JC.
After parting ways with John, I took a few weeks to think about what I’d just done, leaving a solid position with the busiest shaper in the industry at the time? What was I thinking? I suddenly panicked and called everyone in the book leaving the message that I was looking for a work. To my surprise, the next day, the phone started to ring and by the end of the week, I was employed by Local Motion, doing Wade Tokoro boards, HIC, doing Kerry Tokoro boards, and T&C doing boards for Jeff Johnston, and Cino. Then Eric Arwakawa called with some work, and Jeff Bushman… before I knew it, I had boards from most of the top shapers in Hawaii leaning against the walls of my shaping room. I soon realized I must be doing something right, and having been making my own boards on the side all along… in 1995, I decided it was time to focus on building my own business.
So why haven’t you ever heard of me then? Well, I’m a shy kind of person, not the type to puff out my chest then walk up to someone telling them how they need to order a board from me, or how my boards are better than so and so’s… and in a place that’s like the Hollywood of shaping, where you have to be able to separate yourself from the crowd, you either play that role, or receded into the shadowy underground with the rest of the unknown shapers here on the north shore.
Was it a mistake to stay out of the limelight, hiding in the wings as they say? That’s a hard question for me to answer, but I honestly believe things happen in their own time, and so that must mean that I’m right where I belong, right?
Wrong. I’m ready to come out from behind the curtains and I may not quite puffing my chest out, I doubt I’ll ever be like that… but I am ready to tell my story to anyone willing to listen, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned in all these 30+ years of making surfboards, and I’m ready to finish this marathon mission out of the shadows and into the light to cross the finish line.