Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild

We are a premium surfboard manufacturer in Santa Cruz, California that specialize in all stages of the surfboard manufacturing process. We work on all styles of surfboards from WCT pro designs and high end artsy retro fish to fabric inlay longboards and wooden hulls. You have a project? We can help you bring it to life.

Contact us at:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to make a (really) cool surfboard

or.. THE MAKING OF "OLD YELLER"by D.Lee - September 2012

**  I was kind of anxious for something new to ride at the end of this summer. I wanted a "desert island" board,,, one that I could literally ride almost anywhere. I also wanted to take a step in a smaller direction. Primarily a long-boarder, I ride a 9'6 when into logging and I have a high performance 9' for places like indicators where you want to make the sections. Speeds off the bottom where good but I needed more maneuverability on top, cutting back, etc. 

I thought to myself... I need a really cool surfboard. I need to get with the right people and make this happen. 

So what did I do??

I called this guy:

Yeah... Travis Reynolds. All smiles, always freakin' tan... Travis is one of the hottest up and coming shapers out of Santa Cruz and a good buddy. We talk shapes and sizes and Travis gets to cutting a blank.

Travis is immediately on the shape. We decide to make a 7'10 step deck cruise missile with a glassed in single flex fin... something Wayne Lynch would have been proud of. The board is a full 3" thick and a generous 23" wide... I wasn't kidding when I said cruise missile. 

I'm looking at the shape and thinking "this is going really well so far... but how can we take it to the next level here...???" Then I have the idea to get someone as cool as Travis to dress up the board with some "hip to be square" scribble art.

So I get in touch with this guy:

And sure enough ol' TMOE shows up in the shaping room with a charcoal pencil and goes to town.
With words like "slide your brains out" and Kook Out!" I am getting hyped.
Surf like M.P. or A. Toast.....   no problem. (thanks thomas)

The shape is done, the artwork happening... now we need it to go to the highest level of glassers available in Santa Cruz to do all the finish work. I need a real professional to take care of this fancy sled... 
So naturally, I go to the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild and talk to this guy:

Doug Fletcher... master surfboard glasser... seen it all,  glassed it all. Those who know Doug? They know. Doug sprays off the excess charcoal crumbs to start the glassing process. "he always goes heavy with the charcoal pencil" says Doug.

We talk about colors:
I wanted it to be Yellow, like the shades I wore in that day.

 Funny how the tint looks green but it is really yellow... only a true experienced glasser knows. I was like "I don't want green" Doug was like "really??"

The color is finished and Doug gets to working on it:

Volan cloth work, wide laps, deck patch.... this board has the works and is properly weighted to slide right into the curls. 3-2-1 LAUNCH!

Doug getting the top done:

Doug takes time and precision in the details involved in making this board really come to life. 

Most people don't think about the glassing process of making a surfboard and that it is really in that process where most of the "wow" factor happens. How many boards do you think Doug goes through in a year? Crazy numbers folks.

Here's a shot of the fin before it got glassed in:

Now the board is pretty much done... it needs a good polishing and since we had all the players in on this one we needed to finalize it by having the SCBBG head dude Dave A. finish it off.

Here's Dave cleaning up the last steps:


A few sprays later and she's all clean and ready to attack the first NW swells.

Just look at how pretty she is waiting for me to pick her up (awwww)

and here she is complete:
(her senior portrait if you will)

So if you see a super killer yellow cruise missile with a glassed in fin, deck patches, insane TMOE scribbles and a shape that will make you want to fly up and kiss the lip.... yeah that's me and ol' yeller.... 
see you out there!

-Darren Lee / September 2012

A HUGE thanks to:
Travis Reynolds, Dave Aronovici, Doug Fletcher, Thomas Campbell, SCBBG and the Haut shop.
--- 4 life! ---