(Photo: Laurent Chantegros)
I LOVE shaping surfboards and I'm kinda obsessed with this craft. Even though I am about to shape my 145th board I'm still considering myself as a novice but I hope to become a master one day... This blog is a virtual portfolio and a diary of my journey in the shaping world. Feel free to leave comments or contact me directly at valerie@meremadesurfboards.com.



Valerie Duprat
-Shaper of Mère-Made Surfboards

Saturday, October 15, 2016

board#119: longboard for Rico Leroy (at Arakawa factory!!!!!!!)


Dimensions: undisclosed
[completed in December 2015]

The story: this story is a true fairy tale for shaper. It all started in 2014 when I got to have a tour of the Eric Arakawa Designs factory by Eric himself. This already sounded like a fairy tales just to meet one of my favorite shapers (if not my favorite) and I am so grateful to my friend Rico Leroy for making this happen (click here to see that story). At the end of the tour, Eric offered me come back to see him shape... And then I almost cried because I was leaving the next day... BUT I came back a year after, and sure enough I had not forgotten his offer! I didn't see him shape but he lend me his own shaping bay to shape a performance longboard for Rico. I got to use an original Arakawa template to trace the outline. I also used his tools. But the very best part was to have Eric commenting on my techniques and giving me precious tips. I was so honored to be there. I will never forget that experience.

The shape: Before I started the shape, Rico and I went in the showroom and deeply looked at a longboard he really liked. We studied it for 30 min and then Eric came with the corresponding US bank and template. I was totally immersed in Arakawa universe: I was like shaping under hypnosis. Of course, my shape was not "Arakawa-perfect. But Eric's advices while shaping it, made the board and the whole experience magical. 

The artwork: Rico had a print from his sponsor to put on the deck. However he insisted to have a spray of Buttons' famous triangle pattern on the tail (bottom) to remember his friend. We didn't have much time and not much tools (we were outside the factory in full sun) to make that artwork. But somehow we pulled it off. Not perfect but the laughs we got out of it is making up for the imperfections.

Testimonial: it is Rico's board of choice when he longboards on the North Shore !! That is all I need to say!

Collector picture with two legends, both named Eric

cute Hilo gets to ride it too !!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

board#118: mini-malibu for Laura

Dimensions: 7'0 x 21 1/4 x 2 1/2
[completed in December 2015]
Model Valerie

The story: Laura is an Orange County surfer which I met through the surf group she is part of: the Wahine Kai Surf girls. I got my dear friend Michelle in this group who has been riding my longboards for a while and spread the good word about my boards [board#008 and board#055]. And this is how Laura decided to order a mini-malibu from me. She is more of a shortboard surfer girl but she needed a longer board for the weaker swells, without compromising too much on the performance. She tried my personal board and that was the model she picked for her first Mere-Made surfboard!

The shape:  When Laura asked this model it was just perfect because she and I share the same body weight and surf level. So I basically shaped that board like if it was for me which makes the work so much easier! Very thin mini-malibu with pinched rails and deep channels = the formula for a very fast  and manoeuvrable mini-malibu. I called it "my long shortboard" :)

The artwork: Laura already made my life easy by asking for my favorite shape and she was also very cool about the artwork: "anything would do". She was not picky. After sending a couple of pictures and color ideas, we locked down a modern geometrical design. Very Mere-Made-like!

The testimonial: I was in the water with Laura when she took her first wave with it. The waves were decent that day (4-6 foot range) and a shortboard would have been more appropriate but Laura took very nice rides and I was so stoked to witness that!

Laura with her nephew
first wax.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

board#117: shortboard for David

Dimensions: 6'4 x 21 1/4 x 2 3/4
[completed in December 2015]

The story: David is a returning customer! He owns Board#093 [click here to see it], a shortboard for winter swells. Soon, David also wanted a summer board, for weaker swell. We sat down at the iCafe (the cafeteria at Illumina where we both work ;)), browsed the web and imagined his next shortboard. 

The shape: I based my outline on a mix of the Average Joe and Puddle Jumper from Lost per David's request. It is definitely one of my favorite part of the process: mismatching tails/noses from different templates! I didn't forgot to keep more volume and shape a generous rocker as requested by the rider.

The artwork: This artwork was probably one of the most challenging in Mere-Made history for two reasons: first, the original idea submitted by David was... "interesting". It was a dog with an aurora in the background. I was not very fan but David sent me a file with the artwork and said it was designed by a very good friend. Even without totally embracing the style, I was ready to commit to have it done because of all the work behind it from his friend... However the technical realization was so complex at the glass shop that it would have cost too much money without achieving exactly what the idea was. I gave up. I said I could not do it. I hated doing that but I had no choice. David was super cool about it (I am so grateful to have great customers!). We sat down again at the iCafe and revisited the artwork. He really wanted that dog which I understood the significance only afterwards (#dogmeme #shibedog) but he agreed to go for a more simpler/stylized style. It was a compromised we were both happy to make. Life is full of compromises!

Paul and David, two of my Illumina co-workers and friends!

here it is !!! the famous shibe dog!!!