(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

Friday, April 13, 2012

board #009: keel fish for Mark

Dimensions: 6'0 x 21 3/8 x 2 3/4
[completed in March 2012]

Whoever told me that a retro fish was easier to shape than a shortboard was wrong... I feel like this board was the hardest to shape so far.  I spent countless hours finishing up the nose and the tail... ahhhhh the swallow tail was a nightmare! I must have missed a special tool or something... The stringer being very hard compared to the surrounding foam it was super easy to mess up where the two wings reunite. It was definitely hard work to shape this board but I am glad I did and I would like to thank Mark for trusting me...  Mark is the owner of board #009.  He and his adorable family used to live in my neighborhood. Although they moved last december I still meet them at the YMCA where our respective kids go to sport practices. Mark is a very skilled surfer who likes to surf heavy swell on his shortboards (or mat!) but he also wants to be able to catch some summer waves with a more floatty board. He asked me to replicate a Larry Mabile retro fish he loved to ride but which was too old for another round of repairs. For the first time I bought a blank from Artic Foam: they provide a very large panel of blanks and one of them was designed by Larry Mabile himself. I figured it was the blank he used to shape Mark's board as it had the right dimensions/rocker. The result is not a perfect replica as I thinned the nose and made a fatter swallow tail (don't get me wrong: I was not aiming at shaping a real replica as I only have 5% of the skills of the master Mabile). When I was ready to send the board to glassing I invited Mark to have a look at it. That day we also talked about the design: he wanted a very classy sage tinted resin with a glossy finish. We then decided to send it to Moonlight Glassing who are the experts of classyness ;) They provided the "loneboy" wood fins to complete the natural look of the board.

Do you see the fish?

Mark picking up his "chick board" like he jokes

Very "green" board

It is always hard for me to let go of my babies ;(

glassed on wood fins and Moonlight Glassing logo: classy

embryonic stage of board #009

Outline cut stage: I liked the Artic Foam logo
but later I had to skin the polar bear ;(

The Larry Mabile board I had to copy
close enough?

A Mere-Made surfboard can even fold the laundry!
PS: here are Mark's first impressions of the board:

"I just rode the board! It rides awesome! I had the perfect session to
try it out. seaside reef with nobody else out for an hour this
morning. The tide was high but it was a solid chest high so I was
taking some nice drops from the peak and working them through the
mushy middle to the speedy inside poundy section. The board would cut
back really nice. I think it turns better then the board you copied.
It might be the smaller wood Keels. It would really cut back nice
after the speedy peak and I could cut back into the foam and hit it
really nice. (For me) it turns nice on the higher slope of the wave.
One left I took from behind the peak was super speedy through the
steep section. Very responsive. I love the new (chick) board and I
think it rides better then the Mabile. Thanks for all the hard work it
totally paid off." Mark.

Mark, you can't imagine how much it means to me to hear you like the board I made just for you... 

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