For nearly the first decade from the brands conception in ’97, if you’d have purchased a Haydenshapes board, there was a 98% chance it’d have been hand shaped by Hayden. These days, with the help of modern machinery like AKU, the precision and accuracy of the cutting/pre shape process is at an all time high. Replicating magic boards down to the lowest tolerance is now possible and surfing, from an ability and performance stance, has come a long way because of it. With all that said, hand shaping and bringing it back to the basics and where surfboard design started is just as crucial today as it was back then.
“I’m a big believer in the power of understanding how to create things with your hands. You can stare at board software on a computer screen all day long, make adjustments, experiment etc. But actually knowing and learning the curves by physically creating them by hand, messing it up a 100 times first and learning how to feel out the details you can’t really see…There are things that you can only learn by touch, over and over and over again. I’m all about modern machines and technology but before you can learn to appreciate those, you’ve got to do your time learning and perfecting the old school methods and using your hands. ”
Over the weekend Hayden was invited into the shaping bay at the Vissla Surf Pro in Manly Beach where he created our new Holy Grail model – mowing a 6’4″ Marko foam blank into the unique chalice-like Holy Grail outline with it’s double concave tail deck and side cuts on the rails. This board has been creating a lot of chatter and for good reason. See our team put it through its paces here.
“There was no brief – just to come in and shape what ever I wanted. I initially planned on bringing in 3 cut blanks to finish up in the bay which would keep the process a little more snappy and engaging for the crew who came down to watch, but then I thought, fuck it. I hadn’t actually handshaped a Holy Grail yet… It’s a new model of ours and I thought it would be cool to share that with everyone that either came down on the day or tuned in on the live feed. “
Will we expect to start seeing hand shaped Haydenshapes boards in retail racks anytime soon?
“No. I love to hand shape but it’s more of a hobby to me these days and something I like to do for fun. I love that there are brands and board builders in our space that exclusively specialise in that and creating those one of a kind boards. It’s so important to always keep that in our industry and there’s room for diversity. Haydenshapes is unashamedly modern. We love technology, innovative materials, processes and achieving the highest possible consistency in replication. I’m passionate about that stuff. With all that said, our roots and where the brand started are very much connected to the traditional methods and that’s built a strong foundation for us to grow from.”
Bay Photos by Ethan Smith // Finished shape images by Hayden Cox.