The WSL Introduces 'Shaper Rankings'

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

First there was 'Make or Break', the WSL's version of F1's docu-drama series 'Drive to Survive', and now the Woz have borrowed another race car concept.*

As of this year, the Vissla Shaper Rankings will award points, not to the winning surfers of each CT event, but to the shapers whose boards they ride.

Marcio Zouvi of Sharpeye Surfboards - odds on fave for the title?

The shapers will get exactly the same points as the surfers - i.e 1st place = 10,000 points - but only from the Quarter Finals onwards. Same goes for the Women and the Men, so 16 placings per event. The best high-performance shaper will be determined by the end of the 10-stop CT, ahead of the Rip Curl WSL Finals.  

From the Wozzle's press release:

"At the start of this season, 18 shapers provide surfboards for all the CT competitors. The goal of the Vissla CT Shaper Rankings is to spotlight which equipment consistently performs throughout the season."

Any initiative that puts the spotlight on shapers is a good one, however it's hard to see the glare straying too far from Zuovi/Handley/Biolos/Pyzel. There's also the matter that, with two Hawaiian CTs, surfers will jump onto boards shaped by Hawaiian's - Tokoro, Pang et al - but those shapers are unlikely to figure in the final standings.

Here's hoping the Woz devotes a bit of webcast time to shapers big and small.

Read the full press release.

* Tracks ran an informal Shapers Cup last year, with the rules exactly the same as above. Check their results here.


mikehunt207's picture
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mikehunt207 Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 11:18am

Who has the best shaping machine ?
Eric Arakawa would be my guess
wsl scraping for ideas

Fazesurf's picture
Fazesurf's picture
Fazesurf Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:15pm

The machines are mostly the same. Comes down to the operator and shaper.

david 24's picture
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david 24 Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 11:21am

I saw the Tracks Shapers Cup article last year, the problem was they didn't account for when the surfers were riding a board not from their sponsor (ie:Slater)so the whole thing was a farce.
Maybe the Wozzle will give credit to the actual shaper but they usually find a way to stuff things up

McQuartzie's picture
McQuartzie's picture
McQuartzie Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 11:29am

I think the nick name wozzle should be changed to shamozzel.
The purity, beuaty and aloha of the eddie "gathering" has made these guys look like the bunch of main stream corporate dicks that they truly are.

benjis babe's picture
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benjis babe Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 6:41pm

well said.... and I loved the commentary at the vans pipe contest, hopefully more contest walk away from the wozzle.

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:13pm

The dust up podcast just did a manufacturers cup.

Couple of comments on this post to think about.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:20pm

Conspicuous disappearance by Jon P when a polite and pertinent question was tossed his way.

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:28pm

I think they can both be right though, in different circumstances.
Some shapers want world titles while others have a loyal customer base who pay for every board.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:47pm

Yeah, but I think any right thinking person can see that, even if he was making great boards beforehand, Jon Pyzel struck gold when Alex Florence walked into his factory.

A great many equally talented shapers have gone their whole career without that kind of luck.

Guess the point I was making was that often times successful people, while perhaps also talented, don't acknowledge their lucky breaks.

Think that's what the person asking the question was also getting at: Contest success doesn't instantly equate to shaping talent.

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 2:31pm

All true, although pyzel boards all seem great from my experience.

batfink's picture
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batfink Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 8:51am

“Guess the point I was making was that often times successful people, while perhaps also talented, don't acknowledge their lucky breaks.”

True in every field Stu. You’re getting wise in your dotage. Capitalism is full of these geniuses who got lucky.

Talent is handed out in spades in the human condition. Luck is handed out by the thimble.

ssttiiffyy's picture
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ssttiiffyy Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 12:44pm

what about a wax cup! dont prolong the Wshnozzle agony

simsurf's picture
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simsurf Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 4:01pm

Another reason to stop watching lol

surfcarter's picture
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surfcarter Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 4:05pm

what a load of rubbish so the 18 shapers they are using dont represent the 18000 shapers out there making magic boards everyday but are not flush enough to sponsor a pro or 10 with 100 boards a year each and then JJ stills beats everyone .
ill pick a shaper Dylan Longbottom will do me he makes the best tow boards for the top guys he has his guns under everyone that wants to ride big waves properly and his massive selection of short boards /twins /mid lengths/ fun boards and so on are all spot on but if he doesn't have the coin to sponsor a top 10 surfer he doesn't get a mention so that's how stupid it is again WSL has lost it

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 6:24pm

Dylan can afford to Sponsor a Top Ten Surfer.

evosurfer's picture
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evosurfer Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 4:56pm

The world just got a little more stupid.

cory's picture
cory's picture
cory Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 5:50pm

As a host of The Dust Up podcast I have been very surprised by the WSL Shapers Cup.
It’s weird how the WSL announce ‘all new’ shapers cup and update their website to show results of the shapers cup from 2022?
I have not come across the Tracks competition. As the only shapers running a manufacturing contest for CT surfers I guarantee we will have great insights and a unique take on the equipment CT surfers are riding.

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 6:04pm

Look forward to it Cory

cory's picture
cory's picture
cory Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 6:10pm

Thanks I focus…
- We recognise every surfer that wins a heat
- We recognise the shaper of the board a surfer rides, not the shaper they are signed with.
- We have a range of ideas to break down but we better keep them quiet or they might get ripped off!
; p

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 7:16pm

Haha, its been my bug bear for awhile that when the WSL discuss boards its really generalized no numbers etc maybe not many are that interested but the skill for a shaper is to fit the board to the rider and waves.

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 7:30pm

Could be nice if WSL could give a plug for the board shaper (& glasser & sander) at the end of every epic WSL surfers comp ride..... while all are waiting for the next set.
eg. on the bottom of the screen so the yanks dont have to spin a script

Many hardcore surfers may like to see the shapers listed for every pro surfing comp won over the last 20 years.... start alphabetically, say in Australia
Gunther Rohn
Maurice Cole
Bob McTavish, etc

PS. Im not a robot, though I hear they can copy & shape a board now

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 10:47pm

Lol, best boards I've ever owned aren't among any of those names...

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 8:45am

Same, Terminal. And how relevant is the ‘shaper to the stars’ for the average surfer?

My best boards ever would include Luke Short, Simon Anderson, Jim Banks and Mitchell Rae. They aren’t likely to figure in this.

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 5:51am

Let’s not forget the Ghost shapers for all these guys….it’s the end percentage that makes a special board that stands out from the rest…it’s all in the love and the finish….God bless the ghosts and the glassers who give us “the edge”…ha ha.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 8:49am

Holy ghosts, hey Optimist?

john.saba's picture
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john.saba Sunday, 29 Jan 2023 at 1:14am

bloody oath mate

theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthe... Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 8:46am

On the tour - riding a quad or a swallow tail is radical...
5'11"" rounded square thruster with single to slight double concave - or a full single concave.....
Apply logo..

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:24am

Well Stu, the few ghosts I know I wouldn’t quite say they were “Holy men “ at this point in time but they certainly are top blokes who do a great job and have a special healing anointing on their hands……they make everyone feel bloody good during the first wax up.

Tim Baker's picture
Tim Baker's picture
Tim Baker Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 11:50am

Surfing Life ran the first Shapers Poll in around 1992 from memory by asking dozens of prominent Australian shapers to vote. I think Bob McTavish won best Australian shaper of all time and Greg Webber won best shaper of the previous 12 months at the height of the banana board craze. Peer respect is still a pretty good measure I reckon.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 3:22pm

WSL sure bar up over F1.

LOUD petrol guzzling race cars roaring around on a fixed track is a little weird a place to seek inspiration for a surfing tour.

Cheqered rash vests! Go Ziff. That'll fix things.

They just keep pushing their core market away rather than drawing them in.

john.saba's picture
john.saba's picture
john.saba Sunday, 29 Jan 2023 at 12:50am

Every shaper is worth his salt and more , its a dieing art or craft to pick up a tool and shape an object that we take out to the ocean and make us feel good , Surfing lost its Roots mid 80s , there was a quick revelution in the late 70s to early 80s , single to twin fin and thrusters , hand shaped boards are hard to come by from any known shaper in the industry that sponsore a well known surfer in the contest qualifying or in the world tour . Shaping machines are a tool that no shaper created , its a tool that was created by ship building under 1000hrs of research on drag , flow and speed , 3D tech today , By no means do I take the thunder from any shaper in this profession and respected profession , machine shaped boards are finished by a shaper that has a good eye that hand shaped boards in the past and knows the lines that make a board flow and develop speed under any surcumstances of high performance boards . The level of your sponsored surfer on your board has no impact on your boards because they follow the biggest offer $$$ , if your a reknowned shaper before machines came out your still the best out there and by my standard the most regarded shaper honest craftsman around ,keep the hand in it brings so much pleasure to so many and your the sort after now , the true old skilled legends ,may we all ride that last wave in peace

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 8:11am

Don't worry the future is coming fast, Shape GPT tm. will be here before we know it. Just need to build a library of 3D models of the most successful boards past and present.

Plug in your height, weight, ability and stylistic preference and hey presto magic stick.

Just get in fast and enjoy it before it decides that wiping the slate is a much better idea.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 8:32am

An interesting thought Yendor. AI (not actual AI, just algorithm learning) has come up with unique solutions to problems in other fields and could come up with something, eventually, that defies the standards and literally breaks the mould.

But to do that it would have to have inputs on how the board goes, from barely literate surfers. So will probably just keep popping out pyzels, she’s etc.

Vince Neil's picture
Vince Neil's picture
Vince Neil Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 3:13pm

JJF was like 10 when Pyzel made him a board for free, cause he had nothing better to do, so the story goes. I dont know if he was a particularly good shaper at that point.

I'd guess Pyzel must have made a few free boards for JJF before he made some money off of him just like DH and many others. For sure they are borrowing each other's ideas and for sure we are being led down the path by the marketing people an salesmen when it comes to buying boards.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 4:15pm

Breaking news.
British comedian Jonathan Ross has been booked to host the 'Shaper Rankings' awards night.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Friday, 10 Feb 2023 at 9:31pm

Consider WSL Pipe Comp scored record low Avg combo scores...Men 9.07 / Women 7.95
Pretty much most of the WSL Pros failed to qualify as half decent Olympians for Teahupoo!

Before the crew blame the waves...there are seasoned surfers that scored highly in each round.
Meaning this rot set in from the Comp itself...not the surf or surfers!
Only 1% actual surfboard ride time to score during 5 /11 days comp.

2020 Surfing's Cheapest Olympic seats dropped to zero 2024 Olympic Surfing Tickets.
Surfing's Low Point.

So...why would any of these sponsors wish to associate with a near irrelevant sport?
How to make surfboards mildly relevant to mildly relevant surf comps! (Impossible!)

WSL can Mandate entry level Shaper features

Sticker Placement Compliance (No Sticker = No Surf) That sounds Fair!
Surfboard must convert into an Apple IT platform.
Retro Fit KASBERGER matching Strider dribble Cup & Mike Stand
Charlie's Rule - All boards must be Bite Proof.
Must be fitted with Paddle Battle bumper bars
Boards must be pointy enough to breach enemy combatant's priority regions
Boards must withstand gruelling punishment of 6x 5sec pullouts.

*Interpretive Point Score round

Reflective Lilly Pad naval gazing...the longer yer lulls earns a larger points handicap.

Jet Ski riding is where points can really accumulate
Single hand Surfboard Rail Grab full sticker display combo with Fist Pump & roar! (Max points)

Surfboard Toss-ability...requires snapping of board upon landing for a decent score.
Smashing surfboard on rocks...must separate into minimum of 3 pieces to be judged.
Repeated Ape like jumping on board without breaking it = (Bonus Score for Laughs!)
Highly skilled placement of beach chariot backboard = Big Point Score!
Caddie fetches wrong board > Pro says nothing & refuses to go spazz! = (Bonus points!)

Broken Board toxic ooze + flapping sticker infectiousness on scavenging Gromz. (Deduction)

Happy to ramp the relevance of Surfers & Surfboard Shapers in irrelevant Surf Comps...
Throw in a * {Magic Happens Surf Sticker} **

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 at 5:06pm

9th Feb 2023 damon.leach forum...
22nd June 2023 comments by stunet + icandig

2023 Inaugural Shaper Rankings (top 5) Awards

tbb's Hot Tip : To view WSL Shapers Table /Awards = pause Video/s @ [1:50-1:55]

#1 ~ 228,855 {- Mahem -)
#2 ~ 188,485 (- Sharp Eye -)
#3 ~ 182,610 [- DHD -)
#4 ~ 091,945 |- Channel Islands-)
#5 ~ 088,385 I- Pyzel -)

Team Mayhem Riders : C Moore / C Marks / G. Colapinto / Y Dora
1st Prize : Shaping Team win o/n Stay @ Surf Ranch (Nite Session)
2nd Prize : Pat on the Back + Goodvibes for 2024 Ha!Ha!Ha!
3/4/5 > No prizes

Back Up Shapely Vid ~ YouTube

Recap ~ Shapely Tour spat out carbon copy Finals Day Pop outs.
Think the crew know wot that means...from same isle > rubber stamped checkout order (Ho Hum!)
One of Us One of Us One of Us ironing out any waves of emotion!
Huey : "Can't feel a thing...yer all dead to me!"

Review ~ Dave Prodan + Mitchell Salazar

swellnet Bodybasherz happy to share Blue Planet Harmony Awards...

Hardest twhacking rail bruising
Sharpest bloodiest nose piercing
Deepest gnarliest fin chopping combo
Can't breathe leggie lasso hogtie

'So sorry mate...never saw ya buried so deep in the pit...Hall of Fame Award!'
Took me for a ride...yer such a killer...Oh Baby you, got me in the Shape I'm in...