Ryan Lovelace is a young shaper out of Santa Barbara. He has been coming up with some pretty amazing boards, especially this new Stage III board he designed using kevlar, EVA foam inserts, a Paulownia skin, and a little help from the vacuum. The result was a speedster with insane amount of flex.
When did you shape your first board and what made decide to take on shaping as a career?
I shaped my first on my 19th birthday because i couldn’t afford a new board from the local guys (being a recent college-entrant at the time!). I read a ton and found out the apartment i had just moved into was only a few blocks from Fiberglas Hawaii which happens to have tons of blanks and resin and all the good stuff. i spent a lot of time reading how-to’s and looking at people’s build thread on swaylocks.com‘s forum…so from there i was pretty much set!
I shaped part-time for a year or so and slowly transitioned into board stuff full-time, it wasn’t ever a conscious decision to start doing it as a ‘profession’…one thing just lead to another over a period of about 5 years and now i find myself totally immersed in it and being swallowed whole!
Why are you focusing on “Flex” patterns in boards when everyone else seems infatuated with fin configurations and concaves?
I like concaves and shape tweaking a lot, but for me that’s only part of building a surfboard…if i was just a normal shaper I’d just shape all day and not glass anything or experiment with that end of the spectrum [of surfboards]. But since i glassed my first board and never did it any other way really I’ve just kept at it and it has manifested into playing with any material that I’m curious about.
The shape can do A LOT of heavy lifting in the grand scheme of things, but when you can have a VARIABLE shape…rocker, template, bottom shape, and a built in motor when it spring back…now you’ve peaked my interest!
I guess I just started building weird things early on and now this far into it, i don’t think that stuff is weird anymore, so I think my thought process starts in a very different place from most peoples’ when I think about a new board…I didn’t come from under the wing of another shaper and never had anyone telling me what was right and wrong so it’s just been a really fun way to make my own path.
Have you experienced any “breakthroughs” in your shaping and riding of boards with flex?
I can remember probably 7 or 8 boards individually that made me stop and re-think what I previously had in my head…im always learning new stuff in the shop.
The board featured in the video (its yellow (kevlar) with black EVA foam inserts in the deck…named Stage III) is a big one for me, it’s not at all a stopping point, I don’t really believe in stopping when you get something right, I usually end up changing something in the next board anyways just to feel something else…That also gives me a good place to be able to decide what to do on customers’ boards because i’ve made so many small tweaks in my own boards the I can pretty well fine tune any shape that I usually do to be even more specific to the surfer.
What can we expect to see from Ryan in the future?
I have no idea. I don’t expect anything from myself, so I can’t tell anyone what they should!
I’m already brainstorming on the next Stage III, and translating the design aspects and materials that I used into boards that I could feasibly build for other people. Some of my boards are coming up in a few surf movies in the near future, that would be something to expect i guess!
The best way to follow up on me/PC is through my blog at pcprogress.blogspot.com, i pretty much chronicle what i do every day in the shop there and go into some detail on certain boards and though processes if you’re interested!
tyler warren flex spooning:
Tyler again, on she hull: