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You want to order a custom surfboard, but don’t know how? Here are a few answers.
If you should order a custom surfboard? Of course!
How? Check the four points below…
Having your custom surfboard shaped for the same price as a board from a shop?! A board that is exactly made as you need it. For the kind of waves you like to surf, for your style, FOR YOU!
Imagine if this would be affordable with your skis, your running shoes or other sports equipment! Of course, if you go to a good shop, they’ll find out what kind of ski or shoes you need, and try to give you the best possible fit. But taking the raw materials, and MAKE it just for you! Well, with surfboards, this is not only possible and affordable, but it is common, almost the norm.
But how to order a custom surfboard?
Here are a few things you should keep in mind, when you order your custom surfboard.
#1 Find the right shaper
Let’s say you live somewhere close to an ocean, and surfing is part of the culture and lifestyle, then I’m sure you know some of the local shapers, or at least you’ve seen their boards. Most shapers make whatever you want. From beginner boards to longboards, retro boards, or high-performance shortboards. You tell them, and they usually deliver. Keep in mind that some shapers specialize in different shapes or crafts, so I suggest you go to their store and have a look at the boards that stand around. Talk to the people who work there, and ask what you want to know. It is their job to answer those questions, and if they do a good job, you’ll buy a board from the racks straight away, or place your order that very day.
And keep I mind: It’s always nice to support your local. It doesn’t matter if it’s a surfboard or a loaf of bread from the bakery around the corner.
If you’re landlocked, however, finding the right shaper can be more difficult. It’s a good idea to use a shaper who is familiar with the surroundings where you usually surf. Not only you might get a few waves off the locals because they recognize the logo on your board, but more importantly to be able to start a working relationship with your shaper. With every board someone is making for you, the two of you can more precisely figure out what works best for you, and what doesn’t. As Nick Uricchio from Semente Surfboards told me, when we were on the phone together for the first time: “Your first board is going to be a starting point, from where we gonna work toward your magic stick.”
An honest shaper will tell you, that the first board (or a couple of boards), might not feel as awesome as you wish. It often takes around three boards to really get there. But this is finetuning. Of course, your first custom surfboard from a new shaper can be absolutely perfect.
#2 Find the right board and dimensions
Over the last years, most surfboard brands came up with a range of different models, which made the whole process much easier. You can check the different models (online if you’re far away), and find what works best for you. If you plan to surf small and weak waves, with a thick wetsuit, you need a different model than the model you would take to Indonesia.
This is the awesome part about ordering a custom surfboard. Your shaper can play around with length, thickness, volume and every aspect of your board. Knowing what model you want, and the length you should ride means you’re almost there. Now all you have to figure out is the volume of the board that’s right for you and you are pretty much ready to order. However, the volume of your board is crucial. More volume makes the board float better, easier to paddle and easier to catch waves, while less volume increases the performance of the board. Basically, the better you surf, and the fitter you are, the less volume you want.
But keep in mind Volume is your friend!
It’s not worth having the best board in the world if you’re tired before you’re out in the lineup.
I suggest that if you’re not sure about the Volume you should ride, you rather have one Liter too much than too little. Nothing worse than trying to catch waves on a board you struggle with. The most important thing of all is, to be honest about your fitness, your ability and the waves you want to surf. If you tell the shaper (and yourself) that you surf like Kelly Slater, you won’t be happy with the product you get in the end. You don’t have to impress anyone by talking about how good you surf, especially when it comes to buying a board.
If you’ve got some footage of you surfing, ask how you can send it to your shaper. If he cares about you (and he should), he will have a look at it and make it a part of the design process. Make sure you don’t send him a highlight reel of your 3 best waves caught in your life but rather an honest compilation of how you surf.
#3 Place your order
Most brands that make custom surfboards have a simple online form, to place your order. Once everything you can decide by yourself is filled it, you’re ready to get in touch with the manufacturing crew. Talking about Semente in Ericeira, they have a super friendly, and competent team, that will help you with your problems and inquiries. Just send them an email, and ask what you need to know. From my personal experience, their website is spot on, and generally, you can find all information online. The only thing you might want to double check with them is the Fin System ( I recommend: Futures), the tail shape, or a unique artwork you wish.
Keep in mind, that a custom surfboard involves a lot of work and won’t be ready the day after you ordered it.
Most brands get your custom surfboard done within three weeks, but PU boards need another two weeks to cure completely and the resin to set.
If you plan to go to Ericeira, you can email the Semente office, and ask if they can finish your board two weeks before you get there and make a down payment. So by the time you get there, your board is ready to hit the water.
#4 Be happy with it
As mentioned before, your first custom surfboard feels maybe not as incredible as you were hoping. But with every piece of information you can give your shaper, you get a step closer toward what you need. The first board Nick shaped for me, looked like it would be my most passionate love affair! But it just didn’t work out. It is one of his bestseller models, and is loved by a huge and diverse number of people, but not me! It’s a fast board, but I just couldn’t speed it up, and I got hung up in my turns! Why? We never really figured out. However, the next board he made for me, after he knew more about my surfing, and a lot of feedback about the previous board, he shaped another custom surfboard for me (a different model), that still surprises me today in the most positive way!
If you’re excited about what you’ve seen now from Semente, and you want one of their boards, but you’re not going to Portugal anytime soon, no problem. They sell their boards worldwide. You order your custom surfboard, they make it and send it to you.
To know more about the shipping costs ask the people at the office, they’ll know. Keep in mind that the price is per sending and up to three boards.