Back to the Future Shapes with Nev

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Through the 80s and 90s shapers often did stints at overseas surf towns. They’d lock down for four weeks at Chiba, or Hossegor, or San Clemente, clock 15 hour days and punch out 300 boards for the local market. Wash the foam dust off with a run up the coast and then return home.

Some shapers still do it, but computer shaping has largely put an end to the shaping junket. Sending digital files to Chiba, or Hossegor, or San Clemente is cheaper and easier than a hands on trip.

Shortly, however, Nev Hyman will embark on just such a shaping stint. He’ll be head down in a shaping bay, crafting 300 boards with his bare hands. The only difference this time around is that there’ll be no travel - he’s shaping them all on the Gold Coast.

Munga Barry, Mysteries of the Deep, Burleigh Heads - photo McLeod, vehicle Nev

There’s some irony in Nev Hyman knuckling down in a shaping bay. Nev, you see, was instrumental in the rise of computer shaping machines. His goal way back then was to end the grunt work shapers had to endure. So why return to the grindstone?

“I just love the craft of making surfboards,” says Nev. “It’s something I’ve really missed.”

Yet the upcoming stint isn’t simple indulgence from the guy that created Firewire and more recently NevHouse. He’ll be shaping a heritage series of sorts; four Nev Future Shapes models from the period 1979 to 1989 belonging to four surfers who helped his label.

Each board will be totally handshaped using the exact same tools Nev had in the 80s. They’ll also be PU. “Another little bit of irony,” laughs Nev, who built Firewire as an eco alternative to PU/PE boards. Each board will be signed and numbered, they’ll have the old logos and they’ll also be sprayed and polished just as the originals would have been.

“There’ll be a Munga model, and Sunny Garcia, Christian Fletcher, and Peter Drouyn models - the latter being a twin wing swallow. Peter helped me in a very special way back in the early days,” says Nev.

Sunny Garcia aboard Nev Future Shapes

Nev admit that he’s going to charge a “good amount” for these boards, yet all the royalties will go to the surfers.

“Those four helped me launch my career,” explains Nev. “Each of them in their own way. There were many others of course, but those guys in particular.”

“And,” Nev continues, “don’t get me started, but they rode for Billabong and they got nothing in the float. That’s all I’m gonna say...”

What Nev will say is the boards are going to be a blast to ride. “With a flat deck and low rocker anyone can have fun on 80s boards. Younger guys can get an idea of what was happening then, older guys can feel all the volume again.”

Right now Nev is building the shaping bay, and he’s stretching the old shoulders in preparation for another tour of duty - a slightly different one to any he’s done in the past. Meanwhile, his son Jayden is building the website and getting the word out via Instagram, though they're still a few weeks from releasing the specifics.

I put it to Nev that this reminiscing is at odds with the tagline he sometimes used on his boards: Neva Look Back.

"Yeah, but you have to remember the other one I used," says Nev with a laugh. "Never say never."

Stay tuned...

Comments

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 8:26am

This is pretty cool, Id love to get my hands on the Munga or Fletcher model, would be cool to ride, but also I wouldn't be surprised if they get bought up before released and instantly rise in value.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Ensea's picture
Ensea's picture
Ensea commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 11:04am

EPIC! Munga is the fucken man. Knows a thing or two about riding barrels too. Great idea to give back to the ol legends.

old-school-thrash's picture
old-school-thrash's picture
old-school-thrash commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 10:53am

So riddle me this then. Where the fuck is he now, haven't heard jack shit about Munga for ages and my past observations of him surfing were rather large epic barrels of the BLUFF and him doing these back side vertical slams absolutely awesome. Hope your OK MB and healthy and still fit. There was also that epic pic of him in vertical suspension out at SUNSET , of course all those other epic days with LUKE E , "a band of bros".

DAW

Pettex's picture
Pettex's picture
Pettex commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 9:08pm

Saw Munga surfing the Spit the other week. Still shreds.

johnnygreebs's picture
johnnygreebs's picture
johnnygreebs commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 11:21pm

Munga is still a standout at Burleigh & is out there getting slotted on pumping days. Brings back memories of Seagull Dreaming everytime!

Halibut's picture
Halibut's picture
Halibut commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 11:16am

Just on the subject, Halibut will returning to Culburra to knock out some re-issues of his more famous shapes whilst in town for Helmo's reunion. For now there will be a limited number of the well-known "Chook" "Dead Tom" and "Little Chook" models available in the "baked bean" manner of his early boards under the tutelage of BT. These boards will harken back to the thick, clunky-railed, wide tailed things of the past but of course the addition of thruster fins will bring them up to date. The cost of these boards will be entirely dependent upon the state of Halibut's finances at any given time and therefore may fluctuate wildly.

The Shaper's picture
The Shaper's picture
The Shaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 11:55am

Who needs a machine when you got Nev. Seriously, if I had not seen it I would not believe what this guy could do. Ok 10 handshapes a day is 50 per week unless you work 6 or 7 days.
Best I could ever do in production was 1.5 hours each. Nev stated here somewhere they were doing 100 to 150 per week, well sometimes it was more than that. Fair enough the real big numbers were a bit later in the game and I think by then he had some sort of pentagraph thing roughshaping and cousin Milch (& Nick Maz)in the background helping finish but the early days it was all Nev. 10 handshapes a day though is absolute torture you can do it for a short stint but to do that consistently over and over day in an day out , talk to customers and team guys, run the sales and marketing, retail store and every thing else he was into the guy is a dead set machine......... and now he is keen for another go!.....NEVA MIND NEV. Ha Ha .....

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 12:00pm

That shot of Munga at Burleigh is as impressive now as when it first appeared.

elfelf's picture
elfelf's picture
elfelf commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 12:53pm

Found him!
http://www.godfathersoftheocean.com/

Get barrelled off ya nut. Yes I had pinups of him on my bedroom wall in the 90's

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 1:35pm

Missed that era too busy with the billy lids.

MGX's picture
MGX's picture
MGX commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 8:09pm

Nev, I don’t know Peter Drouyn personally but I feel he has been a bit forgotten and from what I’ve read he’s had some tough times. I am so stoked to see you’re paying him this tribute and recognition and that he’ll be getting some much needed royalty $.

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 10:06am

Too funny - all this Munga Nostalgia. I remember being a youngster on the Northern Beaches - late at the Avalon RSL (the roaring 90's a time when even Kelly himself could play a quiet late night game of pool without being mobbed...). Munga rolling a durry with one hand, slurring and hugging me like I was his best mate as he tried desperately to stay on two feet....I'd never met him in my life before! I wasnt sure what to do....do you hug him back? Stand there stiff? Smile and roll with it?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 6 Aug 2018 at 11:23am

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