5'10 x 18 7/8 x 2 1/8
5'10 x 19 x 2 1/8
[completed in March/April 2014]
The Story: The way I met Rudy Marechal was pretty memorable. It was a Friday evening. I had spent an hour in the freeway traffic. I was desperate for a sunset session and I was rushing home to get my surfboard. As I was storming inside my house, I found our current guests, our friends from SWOP Surfboards, with two of their own friends who happened to be in San Diego. I found out we would all go surfing together… Fine. I quickly shacked hands without remembering the names I was told (like usual), picked up my wetsuit and surfboard and headed to the beach without waiting for them as we needed to take two cars anyway. The sun was setting very fast and I had no time to socialize! Only when I was in the water, I relaxed and finally talked to my friends’ friends. Both of them were outstanding surfers… I told one of them “you really good!” only to find out later that it was Rudy Marechal a well-known french professional surfer (click here for his official website)!!! I surely made a pretty dramatical first impression !! We still laugh about it now.
Rudy lives in Encinitas with his wife. Surfing being his job he is always in search of “The Bomb” (his ideal board). When he asked me to shape him a board I almost fainted. With less than 50 boards in my resume, would I be able to shape a custom board for a pro surfer ???? As much as I was in doubt, I couldn’t resist a new challenge!
The shape: the shape design process was pretty standard for me: Rudy and I went to the local surfshop and he did some virtual board shopping. I listened to him telling me what he liked and didn’t like about the boards on the racks. Back home we played with the shaper software to create his preferred outline. The Vedette model was digitally born! Then the rest of the process became very new to me. First Rudy came with me to pick the blank. He was weighting them and checking the flex. That is when I got scared… A little voice in me was saying “this board isn't going to be a piece of cake”. In the shaping room, Rudy stayed the whole time I was shaping his board. Validating every single step and making me make changes on the spot. The level of precision I had to deal with was crazy: he would point a 10 cm area and ask to remove 1/16 of an inch. He definitely pushed my limits and got me into another level of shaping. Pro surfer requirement shapes. It took me forever to get the rails right on his first board!!! For the second Vedette he came to the shaping room only for the rail step. It felt great to know he was trusting me on the rest.
The artwork: this was totally out of my control for Vedette #1. After we finished shaping it late that night, Rudy grabbed some masking tape and a couple of Montana paint cans. I was very concerned first as I am an artwork control freak and I usually like to think about it and mature ideas. He just went for it and the result looked great! He even started a new trend in the logo placement (sideways on the rail)! For Vedette #2 I just followed his pattern signature as requested.
The testimonial: It turned out that Vedette #1 and #2 were test boards. When I mean “test”, it is me, as a shaper, being tested. It looks like I passed the exam as Rudy ordered a full quiver for the upcoming WQS contests in Europe this summer. But this is another story… To be continued….
|Rudy picking the right blank|
|Vedette#1 is born|
|Vedette #2 being made |
while its sister Vedette #1 is making sure I get it right