Intro & interview by Korduroy contributor Carlos Saez.
Surfers love surfboards, regardless of design or fashion trends, we have learned that we should ride whatever kind of board that fires our imagination. A surfboard is the link between the ocean and us. It is the object that provides us with that spiritual and mystical connection. It is our brush to draw lines in our water canvas. It is a magic tool to share the stoke, and is always a great feeling when we first put our hands on a new board. Many of our sport’s shapers are not into this for the money, but to achieve the goal of making a living doing what they love and making people happy. I had the pleasure of visiting beautiful Portugal and meeting this crew of people that make beautiful surfboards, they were so welcoming and I enjoyed a lot to talk to them about what they do best. It is not a shaping bay, not a workshop, it is a bureau of stoked personnel. The Wave Gliders.
Who is wavegliders can you tell us something about who is involved in this project?
Wavegliders is an alternative 100% hand shaped surfboard manufacturer based near Ericeira. Started in 2009 by Nico and joined by Rui Lopes in 2010.
How did it all started and how is everything feeling?
I was working as back shaper for a big factory here in Portugal, and things were not working out and what I really wanted was to change from being a back shaper to building my own brand, and shape the boards that really made sense for me to shape.
What is your background in shaping Nico,were and how did you learn it?
Born and raised in the docks and my father being a boat builder I started being involved with resin, hydrodynamics, foils and power tools in my early teens. It evolved to surfboard design and I started shaping in ´89 at my parents backyard and by ´97 was invited by Paulo Mandacaru to be his apprentice and in 2000 I shifted to Full & Cas working as head shaper in Spain. That same year I started working for a local factory in portugal as a back shaper till ´09. Since then I’ve been working together with some shapers like Josh Hall, Ryan Lovelace and also did a collab with Blend Glassing (glassing for Channel Islands/Tom Parish/Billabong) in France.
Tell us something about your boards, Which one do you find yourself enjoying most these days?
Our boards are made having in mind an alternative approach to wave riding other than high performance surfboards. We´re influenced by many classical shapes, that we developed into modern designs.
From the Mini Simmons to the big logs I´m always stoked about all my boards. The Mini Simmons is one of the boards that I really love to shape because of all the history and concept behind it.
Has your interests changed and evolved over time regarding boards?
Definitely. New influences are always showing up. New people are always passing by which makes surfboard design evolve over and over again.
What is the surf scene like in your country?
RN – We´re still “stuck” to competitive surfing in Portugal, but Wavegliders and its friends and clients are in the way of introducing an alternative approach to wave riding, contributing to a new “breed” of surfers.
How have you seen it change? Where do you see it going in the future?
It started changing when some foreign shapers started stopping by bringing new designs, new ideas and a new “culture” in surfing.
Now and in the future we can see surfers starting to surf with designs that really suits their skills, their style and the waves they surf.
What shapers inspires you the most?
Bob Simmons, Dale Velzy, Skip Frye, George Greenough, Steve Lis, Josh Hall, Ryan Lovelace, Tyler Hatzikian, Gene Cooper.
Besides surfing, what else are you involved in?
Video, photography and alternative lifestyle.
What about the Salinas surf festival, I heard you go every year?
Salinas is always the place to be year after year.
We have a lot of friends and clients in Spain and in France, so Salinas is the perfect setting for an annual get together for the Wavegliders “family”.
What can we expect from Wavegliders in the near future.
We want to continue to develop our designs, by traveling around the world, hosting shapers in our “house”, and sharing knowledge so that the final product continues to be one of excitement and amazement when we deliver every single craft that we build.
For more, check out http://www.wavegliders.net/