Kelly Connolly shapes surfboards out of Los Angeles, everyday. At least that’s the name of her custom shaping business, which she’s had for the last six years. Like the name suggests, her work is meant to be for the everyday surfer and it’s 100% handcrafted by her. Even though she’s a female in a male-dominated craft, she doesn’t feel any added pressures. Her cool, calm demeanor shows through when she answers a few of our questions about her work.
How did you get into shaping?
I started shaping surfboards after asking shaper Richard Wisz if I could watch him shape out a few blanks. This led to him helping me shape my first board. I was hooked after the first board and have kept shaping since!
Do you find it hard to be taken seriously as a female shaper?
I don’t really find it hard to be taken seriously as a female shaper, I actually have found a lot of support from people as I have pursued my path at handcrafting surfboards.
What sorts of shapes are you drawn to shaping?
I enjoy studying a wide range of surfboard shapes and find myself combining retro and modern designs, along with my own innovations. I like flowing lines that blend together effortlessly, with each separate function of a board integrating with another, creating a functional and also aesthetically pleasing piece of work.
What do you look for in a board?
I look for hand crafted surfboards and then at what the shaper chose to create. How is the board intended to perform? What types of waves will it be used on? Who would enjoy riding it? etc. I look to see if the board was made for functional purposes, experimental, or a combination … and then see how the concept was presented. I do this with my own shapes and others as well.
Do you shape for men and women? Is there a difference in boards for men and women?
Yes, I shape equally for both men and women and don’t find a difference between the two. The boards really vary person to person (skill level, height, weight, age, location).
Anything else we should know about your work?
I find great happiness and joy through my passion for creating 100% hand crafted surfboards and believe this shows in my work. Each individual board is unique and well thought out. Regardless of shaping as a profession, I will continue to make boards for myself, family and friends. I do it because I want to.. not because I have to. : )
Learn more about Connolly’s work at any of these spots around the interwebs: