JOHN PURTON - SWANSEA, WALES
In Europe few if any board builders command as much popularity as Wales' JP Surfboards.
Just the once, I think. I was trying to get into the beer tent at the British Surf Nationals. I think it was 1990... I was pretty drunk at the time.
WHAT'S THE BACKGROUND BEHING JP SURFBOARDS?
It all started out when I was 13, made my own surfboard in the garage of my my parents house. I purchased the blank from Bilbo surf shop which was located in Mumbles, and the resin from the local boat chandler. At the age of 16 I was told by my mother to get a proper job so I went out and got a trade and went travelling. I returned to Wales in ‘83 and started working with Pete Phillips from Crab Island Surfboards. At the time there were a lot of Australian surfers/board makers like Bruce Heggie, Terry Glass and Craig Hughes passing through the UK and I picked up a lot of skills from them. After leaving Crab Island, Wave Graffitti was born, where Chris Benyon and I made boards for a number of the UK’s top surfers at the time including Carwyn Williams when he was on the Tour. In 1996 we went our separate ways and I carried on making boards under my initials JP. Since then JP Surfboards was created and now my two sons work for me in our factory.
It’s more than just a bit of foam and fibreglass. It takes a lot of hard work, skill and dedication.
SEEMS LIKE EVERY RAD SURFER IN WALES IS ON JP... DO WELSH RIPPERS HAVE TO SURF JP'S?
They obviously know where good boards are being made haha.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU HAD A EUREKA! MOMENT IN THE SHAPING BAY... WHEN WAS THE LAST?
I’m still waiting for it. The quest goes on, surfboards and surfers have too many variables and trends are constantly changing.
BEING A SHAPER... BITTER/SWEET IN EQUAL MEASURES?
For me the upside thing about being a shaper is having someone telling you "You made me the best board I ever had" whether it’s from the average surfer or our top team riders. Less enjoyable is when team riders order boards days before they go on a surf trip. You know who you are haha.
WHEN'S THE LAST TIME SOMEONE DROPPED IN ON YOU ON A JP?
My mate Gary Parsons (legend/tosser) dropped in on me, on one of our test boards which I ran over and put two fin marks in it. He still hasn’t paid for the repair and has left the country.
POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SURFBOARDS/SHAPERS?
It’s more than just a bit of foam and fibreglass. It takes a lot of hard work, skill and dedication. You don’t get to go surfing all the time.
ADVICE TO ANY YOUNG CURIOUS SHAPER OUT THERE THINKING ABOUT PICKING UP THE TOOLS?
Be prepared for a long hard road. It’s a labour of love, or perhaps more like a love of labour.