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    Based on the westside of Santa Cruz, a wave rich zone with consistent quality surf year-round, we design boards in a collaborative effort between the shaper and the surfers who ride them. Originally, we only used wooden templates, hand tools, a power planer and maybe a sander to shape the boards. Across the industry, this has largely been replaced by a CNC (computer numerical control) machine and hand finishing with little more than a sanding block and screens for fine tuning. We use a KKL machine that cuts boards generated by two different platforms: KKL and Shape3D, along with hand-shaping using the gold standard Skil 100 planer and hand tools.

    KKL works by scanning an existing board and reproducing it, with the ability to scale it to different sizes. It works great to take a board that was shaped by hand and make a digital 3d file that can be reproduced; something that has been eternally confounding to handshapers. Part of the beauty of this machine is how heavy, robust and powerful it is. It cuts foam like nothing and has the capacity to mill harder materials. The KKL system of referencing top and bottom is simple and ingenious. What KKL lacks is the ability to digitally customize a scanned model.

    This is where Shape3D comes in. With this intuitive program, infinite design potential is in the hands of the shaper. I don't know what more to say - you can literally draw anything on this software. The rub is that you have to know what to draw. A curve can take many paths from nose to tail. We have been using CNC technology consistently for over 20 years, so you can trust that our designs are tight. With Shape3D we can open and copy, or alter Surfcad files going back as far as 2001.

    Some shapers continue to shape boards entirely by hand, and there's something to be said for that. I actually prefer it. I can take a design that I have in my mind and take it directly to the foam. With the computer you first have to generate a file, give it to the guy who is going to mill it on the machine, hope he executes it properly, get it back from them, then get into the shaping room and do the finish shape. All of this adds time. If a shaper is producing a lot of boards and is not able to shape or even finish the boards by himself, the machine becomes necessary. This is where a shaper spends more time running a business than being hands-on in the shaping process. I have been there and done that, and now prefer to make fewer boards with more individual attention by me on each one. Finishing computer shapes is repetitive, while hand shaping is creative. They both have their place, and we use them in the way that makes the most sense. As a customer, you get to choose. People seem to really enjoy coming in and watching their board get shaped in person.