The Englishman:

We had the chance to sit down with our friend Paul Fitzsimmons, or Pintail Paul as we call him, and talk about his introduction to shaping here in San Diego. Paul is a new member to the SHAPER STUDIOS San Diego family, but if you have a good conversation with him about.... well just about anything, you'll realize he's a top bloke who has found a new passion in the craft of surfboard design.  Here's what it's like to have the mind of an engineer in this month's Shaper Spotlight.


Name – Paul Fitzsimmons

Age – 33

Occupation – engineering

Years surfing – 6

Homebreak – Scripps/Del Mar

# of boards shaped – 2


  1. What first got you interested in shaping your own surfboards and how did you hear about SHAPER STUDIOS ?

My inner engineer came out. I started researching the engineering side of surfboards, which led me to shaping, which led me to Shaper Studios.

  1. Did you have any experience with the shaping process before coming to SHAPER STUDIOS ?

–273.15°C…absolute zero

  1. Name your 3 favorite surfboard shapers?

Mitsven, Mandala, Christenson

  1. What is your favorite era of surfing in terms of design, style, and personalities?

My favorite era is now. All that history to look back on, the future technology to be excited about. (Watching) big wave surfing is my thing. Andrew Cotton, Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny, Ian Walsh, Chris Christenson.

  1. What countries have you surfed in and where is your favorite wave in the world?

San Diego and San Diego, unless you count the single sessions in Cornwall (UK) and Biarritz (Spain).

  1. What do you do when you aren’t surfing or shaping?

Working, biking, snowboarding. Sadly in that order.

  1. Tell us about how you chose the board design you ended up shaping?

Board #1 is a 6’2” fish, absolute classic board for nearly any San Diego day. Board #2 is a 7’6” pintail for those bigger days. Paddle power to get in, and out, early.

  1. Did you have any concerns with learning how to shape?

Naturally. I was nervous with something totally new. Straight away the guys put me totally at ease. They’re genuinely stoked to see anyone get involved in any aspect of surfing.

  1. What was your favorite and least favorite part of the shaping process?

The whole process is awesome, from first step to first wave. I seriously don’t have a least favorite part...maybe not being able to shape more.  

  1. What did you learn through the shaping process that might help your understanding of riding waves?

So much. I had no idea how much I didn’t, and still don’t, know about board design. Shaping helped me understand how to use and get the most out of a board.

  1. What is the next board you plan on shaping?

I’m gonna have a go at a classic California longboard. It’s a lot of foam, but I feel like it’s a necessity for every surfer in San Diego to learn how to ride a proper log.