So for my Yr 12 Research Project I'm looking at the question "Is there a place for hand shaped boards in today's market?". To help me write my final discussion I need as much information as I can get from as many sources as I can. I only need a couple of questions answered if you have 20 seconds, any answer is appreciated.
Do you prefer hand shaped (custom) boards or stock bought factory boards? Why?
What's your opinion on why or why not there is a place for hand shapers in the future?
Always been a fan of the custom shaped stick G, but recently (last 2 years or so) have used Epoxy/EPS composite boards with good levels of success. Very pleased with performance (old Donald's shapes are seriously refined), but weight varies a lot b/w construction methods,and they certainly can be dinged & damaged in just the same way as a traditional PU/PE board. But all good things come to an end and I am just about to have a new custom PU/PE built just for my flabby geriatric needs. Basic thing is - always get a board that works for you & most importantly : you get a good wave count & feel like you're ripping !!.
I prefer custom boards, its difficult to find my dimensions in stockies and I value the establishment of a rapport with my shaper.
However the boards I ride, while custom designed, are machine shaped and hand finished. I don't really see this as a negative, in fact there are significant beenfits in terms of reproducability, tweaking designs etc between different boards.
I dunno about hand shaping per se, but I reckon we should support 'artisan' custom shapers, mainly due to the benefits that arise from that rapport.
Cheers, this is exactly what I need.
"Do you prefer hand shaped (custom) boards or stock bought factory boards? Why?"
I'm not a great surfer but I still prefer custom boards and have always bought new or second hand custom rather than factory boards. For me, I can't really tell the difference in performance and I've had factory boards out on trial but I'd rather help support a bloke in his shed or a few people in the factory at the back of the industrial estate than a faceless corporation. There's also a good feeling knowing that someone had personally worked on your board rather than it being stamped out of a machine.
"What's your opinion on why or why not there is a place for hand shapers in the future?"
The industry has changed from where ALL boards were hand shaped to now where just some are but if you look at any industry (good research there) you'll find the same. There will always be a place for hand shaped boards but just a different place and maybe even a better place. When it was all you could buy you had no choice and the people in the industry might not have been all that good. The mass market can now get mass produced. But some customers know what they want and how it should be done so the shaper really does need to know what they're doing or they're competing with factory boards, and they can't do that on price. The shaper needs to put themselves in a different market and that's a skilled market.
That market will always be there because there are enough people thatr do and will want that custom look and feel. From a purely marketing perspective look at the car industry. There is the mass market for the "uneducated" masses, and a market for "hand made" or more specialised cars and they cost a fortune but there's still a market. The makers just had to adapt to the cusotmer's needs. Then there's another entire market for customising stock products from AMG to HSV. That'll probably happen with surfboards too where you buy a cheap factory board and then get it customised with graphics, and has started with things like inlayz (I think its called).
Good luck with the project.
brush the project and drop out of school. its definatly the way forward (or is it spelt ford? im not sure)