Unlike golf clubs and tennis racquets, surfboards are still largely made by local artisans. But, what sets the surfboard making industry apart from parallel industries? Why do local shapers still make boards?
Master shaper Tom Wegener examines this question -- and much more -- in his PhD thesis and book Surfboard Artisans: For the Love.
"How can an industry which values passion over money be resilient and sustainable in a capitalistic society which has money as the primary value?," he asks, and goes on the elucidate how commitment to culture has made for an exceptionally resilient, even logic defying industry.
Tom started shaping and glassing in 1978 in his parents garage and is best known for helping to re-popularize old and ancient Hawaiian surfcraft, as celebrated in films like Thomas Campbell’s The Present, Nathan Oldfield’s Seaworthy, Jack McCoy’s A Deeper Shade of Blue, and Cyrus Sutton’s Tom’s Creation Plantation.
What sets Tom apart as a shaper is his surfing prowess. Tom played an integral role in keeping the traditional logging approach alive when it fell out of fad, embarking in self-funded films like Ten Toes Over and Siestas & Olas, which Steve Pezman, of the Surfers Journal, reviewed as the “best surf travel movie since Endless Summer.”
With more than four decades of building boards under his belt, including homegrown timber crafts which exemplify a more sustainable approach, Tom shares with us about the responsibility he feels charged with -- to pass along the knowledge he has acquired and share his journey as a relentless artisan.
Listen with Lauren L. Hill & Dave Rastovich
Sound Engineer: Ben Alexander
Soundtrack By: Shannon Sol Carroll
Additional music by Wave Brain - Dave, Neal Purchase Jr. and Christian Barker
Join the conversation: @Waterpeoplepodcast
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