SHAPERS CORNER - CHRISTIAAN BRADLEY
Hossegor transplant and shaper to the world's best, Christiaan gives us an update on the latest board trends.
Bradley. Photo: Timo
You’re no.7 in Jed Smith’s 10 Australians That Shaped the Surfing Universe. Proud?
Haha. That’s a bit much isn’t it? Was he taking the piss?
It’s so hard to know these days isn’t it? Anyhows, what’s fresh?
I’ve been excited about making grovel boards lately. Short, fat shapes for serious grovel. Playing around with lots of volume, different outlines, that’s been fun.
How about the tour surfers?
We’ve changed Jeremy’s rocker. We’ve found a new rocker, well it’s actually one we tried a few years ago and now all of sudden it’s come back into favour.
Otherwise, the trend is still more volume for the WCT guys. Those needles have gone, we’re beefing up the rails, which obviously helps the power surfers more. The surfers whose technique isn’t so good still need the wiggle factor, but in general the trend is beefier. Although we’re talking fairly small increments. For Jeremy and Tiago, I’ve been doing five box set-ups that they can ride as quads or thrusters.
Shaping for elite surfers, do you roll your eyes when monkeys (like us) come in and start second-guessing your designs?
Not at all. I like when people come in with a different idea, far away from what I usually do. Then you can kind of cross pollinate ideas and meet in the middle. I get a lot of satisfaction from doing different stuff. For the pros, it’s satisfying in a different way. I love watching them do what they do, sometimes it’s a fine line between say, wipeout or holding in on a heavy wave, and when a board I’ve made works, that’s really satisfying too.
Max loves Bradley madly. Photo: Timo
Speaking of wipeouts, you broke your femur doing step offs at big Estagnots this winter... How’s the peg coming along?
Far out. It’s OK now, I can work. Yeah it was pretty scary, I got lipped to the head pulling in backside, when I came up something hit me face, and it was my foot, kinda dangling. It’s been six months out so far, but I’ve been back at work for a little while. First of all the thing that got me was walking backwards with the screen. But now I’m fine as ￼￼￼far as shaping goes. Still not surfing though.
Do you shape better or worse, not surfing?
Better. Nah, actually, worse... I get pretty angry (chuckles). But I’ve thought about design a lot more I guess. Surfing for me has been no doing all thinking, mind surfing I guess.
A few years ago you were asked to move to America and become the new Al Merrick... but you decided to stay in France and become the new Bradley instead. How do You reflect on that decision?
I’m pretty stoked to have stayed here. Maybe there’d have been a bit more pressure if I’d have gone, to keep up, they have a lot more team riders (at Channel Islands). I’m stoked to
work at Euroglass, living in France, travelling to the States and Australia to shape, the most fun is going to different factories and seeing what’s going on and getting new ideas, new inspiration.
When you see guys like Gracey come in to work do you think ‘Hope I’m still that stoked on shaping when I’m an old git?’
Fuck no I hope I’m retired hahaha. Nah, I love working with those boys, the legends. They’re so stoked and have so much genuine love for it still, it’s amazing. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything better to be doing than making boards. Keep it coming.