Name – Josh McIntosh
Age – 38
Occupation – Professional kook and part time small wave chaser
Years surfing – 4
Homebreak – La Jolla Shores
# of boards shaped – More than 30, less than 50? I haven’t been keeping count.
- What first got you interested in shaping your own surfboards and how did you hear about SHAPER STUDIOS ?
I’ve always loved working with my hands. Building things, breaking things… You name it. When I started surfing, I was really drawn to the idea of being able to create something then riding it. I started reading everything I could about the process and it seemed that shaping was this closely guarded secret that is only passed down to every fourth son under a half full harvest moon. The advice was the same everywhere, “quit your job, start sweeping at a factory, and in 10 years maybe they’ll let you touch a planer.” Then I ran across a Shaper Studio Groupon for the group shaping lesson. Even though it wasn’t as hands on as I like, I learned more in a couple hours than I did in my weeks scouring the interwebs. I signed up as a member before the class was out.
- Did you have any experience with the shaping process before coming to SHAPER STUDIOS ?
No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.
- Name your 3 favorite surfboard shapers ?
Chris Christenson, Ryan Lovelace and Donald Brink.
- What is your favorite era of surfing in terms of design, style, and personalities ?
This modern era is honestly my favorite. I just love how shapers today are drawing inspiration from each era that speaks to them and mixing that with these new wild ideas and designs. It’s really pushing the limits of wave riding to new heights. Every time you turn around, there’s some shaper or inventor with something new to expand on what we thought we knew. And the personalities? Today we have everything from your traditional locals only thrashers still taking it to the beach to the laid-back soul surfers, hooting kooks and sharing waves. Sometimes they’re even at the same break. It’s a great time to be a shaper/surfer.
- What countries have you surfed in and where is your favorite wave in the world ?
Just here. I’m planning a strike mission to Costa Rica and Nicaragua soon. Don’t tell my wife that. She doesn’t know about it, yet.
- What do you do when you aren’t surfing or shaping ?
I run marathons, do a little gaming, mountain bike, build plastic models, snowboard, read comics, and box. I used to be a photographer, so I still like to get out and shoot people. Can I say that? I have what the doctors call “ADD.” The hobbies help.
- Tell us about how you chose the most recent board design you ended up shaping ?
It’s a fish. This is San Diego. Everyone should be riding a fish. The new Rob Machado Go Fish really inspired me, though. His ideas on how water flows and how to channel it really blew me away. My current project is a tad too small for me to ride, but my mind is already two or three boards in the future with what I’ve learned from making it.
- Did you have any concerns with learning how to shape ?
I did. I fully expected my first board to be a throw away. You know; shape it, glass it, ride it once or twice and put it on the wall as a keepsake. Turns out my first board is still my ‘go-to’ board. It’s a 7’1 x 22 x 3 Glass Slipper. Flat to very small vee bottom, single fin, squash tail with a mellow entry rocker and low exit rocker. Step decked rails (because I was too afraid to do two rail passes with the planer) and a semi-full foil. That thing just goes. Since then, I’ve shaped 4 or 5 of that similar shape for customers, some with slight variations in tail or size. I love that shape.
- What was your favorite and least favorite part of the shaping process ?
It sounds dumb, but my favorite part of shaping is screening the rails and blending everything together. You really get to watch the board come together right before your eyes. All those concepts you envisioned become a reality. Plus, screening rails makes a really satisfying sound and looks great in pics. Least favorite part is sanding. I think I have two boards finished except for sanding them down. I hate it!
- What did you learn through the shaping process that might help your understanding of riding waves ?
Well, I’m still not that good of a surfer. Before I started shaping, I understood the concept of bottom contours, but had never really felt what things like lift, drive or hold were. To experiment, I made two of the same board but with different bottom contours. One had a single to double with a touch of vee, and the other had a rolled nose to flat to mild vee out the back. Surfed both boards in the same session. For the first time in my surfing life, I understood what those terms meant. The first was lively on the wave and liked to be moved up and down the face. The latter felt more like a longboard; cruisy, stable and dependable as it plowed down choppy waves and wave snakes alike.
- What was your take on the vibe at SHAPER STUDIOS when interacting with other surf club members ?
Love it. Everyone tends to feed off the stoke of everyone else. I know for a fact that we’ve all inspired each other to do things with shapes or glass boards a certain way. Except for Derek. I hate that guy! JK. Love you, boo boo.
- What types of boards do you have planned to shape next at SHAPER STUDIOS ?