|board#119 is autographed by Eric Arakawa|
(happy owner of the board, Rico on the right)
Last March, while vacationing in Haleiwa (Hawaii) I got to meet fo the first time Eric Arakawa (see post here). I visited his factory and had chat with him at the end of which he offered me to come back for an actual shaping session. Unfortunately, I had to pass on this incredible opportunity because I was leaving the next day... (Sigh).
This year, my family and I were planning to go back to the North Shore to spend Christmas with our friend's Rico & Elodie when I got a text from Rico saying:
"I want you to shape my new longboard when you come to Haleiwa"
"you will be shaping it at Eric Arakawa Designs factory..."
"... under Eric's supervision himself"
"Merry Christmas Val !!!!"
I dropped the cell phone. I think I fainted a bit. I definitely went speechless for a full minute. Then I went hysterical (like Tom Cruise in Risky Business ;)). I could not believe it. Until I was there, in Eric's shaping room, ready to shape the board I still could not believe it.
Everything went so fast, like in a dream.
I landed on Oahu with my shaping mask in my luggage. The very next day I was heading to Eric Arakawa Designs factory with Rico. The whole team there was very busy but Eric found some time to set me up in his shaping room. He showed me his tools (I got to use his own planer !!!!) and the templates I could use for the 9'0 longboard I was about to shape. Rico stayed in the shaping room for the tracing/cutting of the outline. Eric showed me some tricks about the outline. Then, the shaping room went silent. Rico and Eric left me alone with the blank. It was show time. I knew Eric would come back to check on the shape. I knew I had to give all I had in me. I could not allow myself to disappoint neither Eric or Rico. Huge pressure.
Halfway done, Eric inspected the board from all angles (and even some more angles I didn't know!). He pointed at some parts that could be worked on (but only an expert eye could see so he said not to bother). The next time he looked at it, I had corrected the details he mentioned earlier. He was surprised I had taken action on those and said that most people (shapers) don't even see what he is talking about ... I was soooooo proud about his compliment. It meant the world to me.
Once the board finished and reviewed by Eric he signed it with me... This was the cherry on the cake. "Viewed and admired by Eric Arakawa"... It can't get any better than this, right?
Thank you Eric for your warm welcome and availability despite the craziness of Christmas time. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you Rico for making this happen. Best Christmas gift ever. Truly.