When you think of surfing most people conjure up images of the California coast or the big waves of Hawaii.
And when you think of someone making surfboards you're probably still imagining those same places and not the stormy shores of New England.
Well think again. Meet Shawn Vecchione of Vec Surfboards who located his home and surfboard business in Orleans, Massachusetts, one of Cape Cod's historic villages along the New England coast.
Originally a pro snowboarder for Burton Snowboards he was destined for the 1990 Olympics until a spine injury forced him to change direction. He ended up in Hawaii where he focused on surfing and soon learned he had a real talent in shaping surfboards. After working with many talented pro surfers he eventually decided to head to Cape Cod where his father's roots are and where he originally called home .
His shop is what you would expect of a die-hard surfer and shaper - beachy vibe, relaxed, an assortment of boards finished and in various stages.
As expected you can purchase a variety of boards to fit your different style and level, but what is really cool is that you can shape your own board at his workshop with professional direction by Shawn himself with his Shape With Me program.
To learn more about how you can shape your own surfboard, or just buy one of his many selections visit his website at vecsurfboards.com.
TELL US ABOUT THE SHAPE WITH ME PROGRAM?
The "shape with me" is super fun for me. I guide you through the whole process of making your own surfboard. I show you the techniques and how to use the right tools through out the shaping session. I don't do any of the work. Your hands and my directions.
WHAT DO YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN MAKING A CUSTOM BOARD FOR SOMEONE?
There are many things that I take in consideration making a custom board for a client. Height and weight is important for how big the board will be. Their ability and the type of waves they want to ride it in. And also how you want to ride the wave, do you want to cruise, rip turns and do tricks etc.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SHAPE A BOARD?
It takes a expert shaper around 1.5 to 2 hours to shape a surfboard by hand. The next steps is glassing it with fiberglass. This takes a lot of steps and drying time then is sanded out to a fine finish or polished out to a glassy look. This usually takes about 3 to 5 hours over a few days.
BEST BOARD FOR BEGINNERS?
The best board for beginners is usually a mid length board from 7'6 to 9' with a lot width in the outline for stability and lots of glide.
BEST TIP FOR A BEGINING SURFER?
I would say is to get a lesson form a real teacher. There a lot of people that give lessons but I suggest going to someone that is more one on one and really knows surfing. You want to leave the beach your first day having a good time and not frustrated because you were with a group of kids or you were not on the right board or in the wrong conditions.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO SURF IN THE USA?
My favorite place to surf for me is right here on Cape Cod. There is nothing like getting great waves at home. For me I know where to be and can usually find great waves with no one in the water. Surfing has become so popular a lot of surf breaks are crowded, so when you can surf alone it is special. Surfing in the winter for me here in New England is my favorite. The waves are bigger and the crowds are minimal.
Photos courtesy of Vec Surfboards.