(Photo: Laurent Chantegros)
I LOVE shaping surfboards and I'm kinda obsessed with this craft. Even though I am about to shape my 220th 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, April 27, 2019

I met Matt Kinoshita (board#155)

Dimensions: 6'2 x 18.7" x 2.4"
[shaped in December 2016]
Model Velociraptor (from the flash flood warning, blocking the moutain road on my way to Matt's shaping room... I thought I'd see a T-rex crossing the road in my headlights)

The story: Matt Kinoshita is the master shaper and owner of Kazuma Surfboards, one of the most prestigious surfboard brands worldwide, based in Maui. Matt is not only known for his amazing shaper skills but also for openly sharing his shaping secrets on social media. In addition to a Youtube channel, Matt regularly posts on his instagram account to his loyal 31K followers. He honestly tackles some controversial topics of the surfboard industry and teaches his shaping techniques without holding anything back. He also takes the time to answer most of the questions from his followers. Instagram is where I got my golden ticket for Matt's shaping bay... He offered me to come visit him in Maui and I didn't sleep on his offer. I immediatly booked my ticket.  
Few weeks later, I landed in Maui with my respirator in my small luggage. I left my family in CA as I knew it would be an intensive training with Matt for most of the day. I had booked a small room through Air B&B in the mountains. My night table had some local delicacies and ear plugs for the loud roosters singing all night long. My host was a japanese single mom, Tomo. She became my friend as we were sipping local beers and dining together, after a long dusty day. Matt might be a cyborg from the future: he doesn't sleep! The first day, I got a late start, meaning meeting him at 6am. One day he texted me at 4.30am saying he was done with his work for the day and I could come over for training! I remember texting back that I needed to wait for the Starbucks to open (at 5am) to drink my coffee before I could fonction properly :) The 5 days went fast. I was expecting to be watching him running his factory but Matt had planned to make time for me during which he was 100% dedicated to my training. He took on his own time to teach me his legendary techniques while sharing his point of view on the surf industry. My head was hurting every single evening from the huge amount of priceless information I had to digest. I actually took a lot of notes from which I made a powerpoint presentation at the end of the training. Yes, Matt is a living legend of shaping but I has been also lucky to get to know the man behind the mask: not everyone knows it but Matt is also an active firefighter, a highly graded jujitsu master, a family man and of course an incredible surfer. Despite his very complex schedule he managed to make me feel a special guest. I'll be eternally grateful for his welcome.

The shape: of course I got to shape during my training. This board I had to make was a kind of end-of training test. I had to shape Matt himself, his favorite board. Yep. BIG DEAL. He gave me a sheet of paper on which was printed a CNC machine file 3D view of the board with full dimensions. When I shaped that board I was so stressed that I made few mistakes that I spent much time trying to correct. I was bit disappointed with my performance and I could have done much better, at home with my own tools. The board still came out great and I took all the feedback in (more learning !). Matt glassed it to surf it. He said it was a good board. Such a unique opportunity. An honor to have shaped a board on which Matt put his logo next to mine.

The artwork: Just plain white. Because the goal was shaping, not spray painting. Actually our two logos looked so good that no artwork was needed.

with his son, operating the CNC machine

Matt gave me some home work !!! :)

Friday, April 12, 2019

board#154: funboard for Albert

Albert, his son and his board

Dimensions: (coming soon)
[completed on December 2016]

The story: Albert is a LaCrosse coach who also happens to surf when the conditions are favorable. He is also the husband of my friend Fatima, who like me is a scientist in San Diego. 

The shape: Albert asked for a shape that would accommodate for his occasional surfing without compromising too much the ability of the board to perform in more challenging conditions if necessary. We decided for an egg shape with a bit of rocker.

The artwork: per Albert's request, the artwork is based on his Lacrosse team color and logo. I used gold metallic paint for the spray. Glassing was done at Global Glassing (I think).

Saturday, February 16, 2019

board#153: shortboard for Nicole

Dimensions: 5'8 x 18 1/4 x 2 1/4
[completed in December 2016]

The story: I was lucky to have Nicole as my first girl team-rider when she was only 13 . Not only she was shredding the shortboard I made for her (board#034) but also, later on her longboard (board#098). As she was growing so fast, it was time for another shortboard !

The shape: classic performance shortboard !

The artwork: since Nicole spends a lot of time surfing in Hawaii, she asked for tropical flowers which I printed out at Boardlams. I also surprised her with a custom Mere-Made logo with the mermaid wearing a matching flower in her hair :)

The glass was done by Tiger Glassing.