The Boardroom, Surfboard Expo.

Kelly Connolly

Del Mar California. May 19, 2015. The only problem with The Boardroom Expo is that there are not enough of the world surfboard manufactures and shapers present at this two day event. With todays sport of surfing and its related products on a global stage the expo should be three times the size it is currently. My hats off to Katrina and Scott Bass who put on an excellent display of some of the worlds renowned shapers and industry icons. Since 2007 they have brought together pioneer surfboard companies to up and coming labels that just want to do what they love and enjoy, to surf and try to make a living at what they love. Where else can the layman and the groms see legendary shapers battle head to head in the shows Icons of Foam Shape Off. Present for this event and as a tribute to Rusty Preisendorfer, an icon in his own right are: Tim Stamps, Dave Parmenter, Chris Chrisetenson, Roger Hinds, Ward Coffey, and Stu Kenson with Roger Hinds taking a back to back win. This is extremely challenging to each shaper for not only taking them out of  their comfort zone but also shaping with a live audience and to have their finished board judged.

Also this year they provided a Craftswomen of Surfboard Shaping exhibition by five women shapers. Invites this year were Whitney “Windy” Lang, Valerie Duprat, Christine Brailsford Caro, and Kelly Connolly. In a male dominated industry these five women are all trailblazers that I am sure you will start to see more and more women labeled surfboards.

My first up and coming board manufacture is Sunset Shapers / Las Olas Surfboards. James Mitchell (Owner) The shop can be found in the Sunset / Ocean Beach district of San Francisco. Manning the booth was  Miles Jackler, Shop Manger / Photograher. We talked about surfing Ocean Beach and how intense the wave can be but mostly about the paddle out. Head butting a 8 to 10 foot wave is my most distraught endeavor of surfing. But there is a method as we all know. Thanks for the invite and will be making the trip north. Also checkout Drew Mason of Mason Surf Designs out of Los Angeles. He has some nice classic longboards on display.

One company and two artists that I met had a cutting edge product and how the two artists use discarded surfboards for their medium. Wax Track is a removable vinyl sheet that you wax over and remove once the build up has become to great or dirty. It has a unique raised tread pattern that you wax over and helps build up your wax bumps I have to mention Cherrie La Porte who is a glass artist and uses old discarded surfboards for her medium. Her glass designs are one of kind and no two boards are alike. Jim and Romona Rajner also take used surfboards but use the boards themselves to carve fine art designs into and through the foam and fiberglass. What also impress me is that they try to save the label and the signature of the shaper. This adds value to the finished design. I also learned that there is a used surfboard repository for discarding and recycling your old surfboards. This is where Cherrie, and the Rayners go to get their next canvases. Artist Whitney Logan founder of Bombora Surf Co had some cool designs on display that she can turn into laminates for your board and have a one of kind stick. I like this show because it is for the common surfer. The guys and gals that spend their free time and vacations searching not only the perfect wave but also the least of the crowds that have swarmed most of the popular breaks. To us it is not a sport, nor a phase, it is a lifestyle that we all enjoy and embrace. I just wish that we could see how the other shapers and small surf businesses outside of southern California operate and what they think and have to offer for all surfers. Where else can you actually talk to industry leaders and icons, Randy Rarick, PT, Rusty, and Jeff “Doc” Lausch just to mention a few who attend. When the show was in Ventura California, Gerry Lopez was in attendance. Even if the industry cannot make it I highly encourage that all surfers make it to the show at least once and talk shop.