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Interview: Matt Biolos
When did you start shaping?
Where is your business located?
San Clemente Ca.
Other than online, where would a surfer find your boards?
Most of the best surf shops around the USA and most countries where there is a legitimate surfboard market.
What shapers influenced you early in your career?
Jim Fuller, Randy Sleigh, Herbie Fletcher, Xanadu, Rick Rock and Timmy Patterson, Chris McElroy, Reno A, Mike Hynson, Al Merrick.
What are the main influences in your designs today?
There are two camps to my design: One is the various pro surfers I work with to fine tune high performance competitive-type boards, which gives me the credibility and freedom to work in the second camp — creating boards for average, every-day surfers who still want to “rip” but need some extra help to do so. So I guess the answer is: The Pros and the Bros..and their various needs.
How would you describe your shaping philosophy?
“Keep it fresh”
What do you get out of shaping that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?
To work with world class athletes on the most important piece of equipment they use and the satisfaction you get when it works out right.
What do you enjoy most/least about surfboard shaping?
Most….Seeing everyday/average surfers like myself improve their surfing with a board I made them. Least…The fact that most my work takes place in a little dark, dusty room.
What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful shaper?
Humble, yet arrogant. Progressive, yet understanding and remembering of the past. Creative, yet technically sound. Mainly, though, I always say you must be able to accept and rebound from failure, because you can’t make everyone happy all the time, and if you’re trying to create and develop new ideas, you’re going to have failures.
How do you bridge the gap between the business and artistic/design side of shaping?
By not checking emails before I shape.
Tell us about the most rewarding surfboard design you have been involved with in your career.
Right now, working with Dino and Kolohe on his boards is the most rewarding time of my career. We are all focused on the same goal and making achievements consistently to get there.
Give us an example of a board you designed that was completely different from what was popular in surfing at the time.
The Round Nose Fish. You would be hard pressed to see or find anything being made or ridden that was like it in 1994/1995 when we started making them.
Where do you see the future of surfboard design headed?
I don’t see any quantum leaps until materials allow us to do so.
What makes your boards different from others on the market?
That they are still on the market. The surfboard business is being forced underground. Most board builders cannot afford to even have their boards in shops anymore. Most shops can’t afford to carry many boards anymore. It’s really tough out there on all sides.
Of the current models you offer, which are your favorites and why?
I mostly surf Trestles and other soft, yet well-shaped waves. So for me, I rely on a board with built-in speed but that still allows me to commit to turns and use that speed. My personal favorite during the last year or so has been The Blunt and The Double Blunt. They have a really low entry rocker for getting into waves and getting down the line in crowed lineups, then a healthy amount of tail rocker, a curvy rail line and a big round outline that lets the board turn in a smooth, tight radius. I also love being able to ride boards like the Plank and Uber Plank in sub-waist-high surf and I like the Rock Up for traveling because it will handle just about anything that gets thrown at me — power and size-wise — without feeling “gunny.”
Any words of advice for surfers looking to find a great board?
Be realistic with your abilities and where you intend to surf. Don’t be a sheep, research and be honest with your self in getting the board that will allow you to have the most fun in your precious free time.