• Step inside the mind of the man behind Joistik Surfboards, Nick Blair. Shaper’s DNA is Nick opening up about his design philosophy, and how he approaches the art & science of creating a surfboard.

    Part 4 is about growing and experimenting and was part of a conversation had for a podcast at the Vissla Surf Pro Shaper Series. Enjoy.

    I’ve shaped a design that’s not necessarily one of my own, but it’s one that’s made famous by Tommy Peterson. He’s a really well known, ah, character in the industry of Australian folklore, and the shaping industry, so hopefully I did him some good service, and shaped a good one. It’s basically got a step in the rocker with six channels off the step, so a little bit more interesting shape and it’s a really fun board to ride. The dimensions are 6’1 x 19 1/2 x 2 1/2 coming in at an estimated 30.5L. It was a super fun board to shape for the crowd.

     

    Growing up when I was a grom was when Tommy Curren was riding some of his Fireball fishes. I used to go down and visit my grandparents in a little south coast town south of Durban and Frankie Oberholzer was Tom Curren’s wingman and he used to have a few fireball fishes that he’d bring back and ride. I just saw him as really interesting in the water and I would just be going, ‘Man, I’d love to shape one of those.’ At that point, I’d shaped like two boards in my life by then, but I was frothing and I always wanted to shape one and that was something that never left me.

    Well, it’s kind of funny, because, the first guy I ever saw shape was at the Gunston 500, it was Spider Murphy from Safari Surfboards. I was 13 or 14 years old and it was in a booth just like this here at Manly, and that inspired me to start shaping. So, hopefully at the end of this week there’ll be a few groms, running around, who to get stuck into it as well.

     

    That’s what started the journey, a couple of months later an article came out in the local surf mag, Zig Zag, with a step-by-step how-to and I sort of took it from here. I had a mate with me and we each bought a blank and just scrubbed one out and, yeah, they were pretty bad, but we got them glassed, we surfed them and now my mate is in advertising, and I’m still shaping now 25 years later.

    I guess, I love working with my hands and with my mind. You know, you’re obviously envisioning curves in your mind and you’re thinking about what you want the board to do and trying to relate that to the design. Basically, anything where you can work in the moment.

     

    If you have a vision of something you kind of always put it down and translate it into the blank and as you get better, the joy of actually being able to do that is quite amazing.

    I am really lucky to live where I live in Freshwater on the side of the hill there. I’ve got a young family, I’ve sort of focused on the kids a lot over the years, being young and I’m really been involved in their lives which has been great, but now, they’re sort of stepping out on their own and I’m looking forward to sort of beginning to experiment a bit more with my shapes again.

     

    So in other words, I want to look at shaping some different things, push things in some different directions and reinvigorate my passion for it.

     

     

    Thanks to everyone who came down to the Vissla Shaper Series and checked it out. Big thanks to Vissla and Surfing NSW for having us along. It was such an epic event to be part of. The idea behind the buildout being that while competitors pop off air reverses in the soft beachbreaks, shapers could work away in the shack, connect with other foam mowers and ground the event in true surf culture simply by working on their craft in a public space.   With all of the talent that rotated through this shack, Vissla created The Shapers Shack: a four-part series featuring discussions with some of Australia’s finest surfboard shapers. Take a listen to the Surf Splendor Podcast for a further insight into the great shaping that went down at the event. This episode features Nick plus Simon Anderson, Sam Tehan, and Finn Whitla. Enjoy! and check out the finished board below.

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