Ordering a new custom board is one of surfing's great pleasures. But you need to get it right. Here in Surf Basics Part 3, we talk to one of the world's premier shapers Christiaan Bradley, who gives you the inside word on how to get a magic stick that is perfect for you. Props to Christiaan for taking the time, who despite backing up from a big night, getting married the next day and needing to shape eight boards that afternoon took the time out to chat. Here he talks us through the key steps when ordering a new board.

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It’s about you.

The first thing I need to know is a few things about you. What they’ve been riding, where they’ve been surfing, weight, skill level and where they will be riding the board.

What’s the Board For

Whether you want to use it for a trip to Indonesia, or at your local beachbreaks or pointbreaks or whatever, let me know.

The type of board will be determined by where you will ride it. If you are going to Indonesia for example you will need a sleeker thinner stick.  For beachbreaks you will need a bit more high volume board, so wider and thicker.

Volume

Volume is a very important aspect of getting the right surfboard. If you are under volumed, you will struggle to catch waves. This is especially important for guys entering their 30s, who maybe don’t surf as much as they used to and so its often a good idea to increase the volume. You’ll catch more waves and have more fun when you do surf.

Rocker

Rocker is the curve in the board. Basically very good surfers tend to surf boards with more rocker than less good guys, who generally prefer a flatter board. Rockered boards tend to be more for turns, flatter boards are for trimming. So pick your level and I’ll make the right rocker accordingly.

Wilko parks his barnet and bottom at Keramas.

Talk To The Shaper face to face

Come and talk to your shaper. Go through the points above and after about 20 minutes we’ll have the order down on paper and ready to go. Be prepared to be flexible though, the shaper might have some ideas on what you need, that might be different to what you had in mind. After all we have done this a million times before.

Shaping Machines

We are now to have a whole library of surfboard and models that we can replicate with a press of the button. It’s a tool for replicating and evolving our ideas. Plus we can keep your shape on file and tweak it for the next one.

shaping machine

Feedback

Good, bad or indifferent, it’s good to hear how the board went, so we can make the next one better.