In Defence yer Honour


The previous post with ‘The Shaper’ by the excellent Crayfish Films has me still smiling now. I have bumped into enough shapers to recognise the multitude of the traits displayed by ”Chief” as being very far from unique.

Whilst giggling to myself (you have to stop doing that, its disturbing:Ed) I got a twinge. It’s hard to describe the precise feeling, only it felt foreign and appeared without any apparent stimulus. A discussion with my wife and then an examination of the circumstances suggested that it may be something called ‘guilt’. Clearly self knowledge is not my forté.

I’ll explain. At least once a year for the past 13 years I have asked Jools Mathews  to make me a board. My request is usually followed by a sketch, detailed dimensions on length, thickness, width(s) and fin placement and description of the desired bottom curve.You get the picture. He is asked to do as he sees  fit as far as the rails go and of course he is instructed the board must work. He always greets the commission with the air of a shaper being asked to make a board for Slater’s next Hawaiian season. He is unfailingly friendly and always cheerful whilst taking instruction from someone who he knows for sure does not exactly surf like Mr Slater and whose grasp on board design is most perceptibly severely limited in scope. The most amazing thing is though a few weeks later he shapes me a board that has all the requisite dimensions and works too. Never a dud in 13 years. On top of all this  he always does me an excellent deal. In fact a while ago he made me a beautiful 7′ 0″ quad semi-gun. It looked so good that I was tempted to take it out immediately to Downend Point. The conditions were lets say… unsuitable. Within 15 minutes I had been tumbled by a wave and my brand new leash snapped. I spotted the board headed for the infamous gullies as I surfaced. It then disappeared for 24 hours only to make a reappearance in the gullies in less than pristine condition. It was a write off. Now many a shaper would privately rub his hands together when news of an event such as this reached him. Not Jools, all I got was genuine sympathy and a new board at cost.

Jools Mathews is a a prince among shapers and a hugely skilled one at that.If a Gulfstream board of any type might interest you click on the Jools logo above to take you to things Gulfstream. Better than that visit their shop in Braunton and tap into Skelly’s vast knowledge of all things surfing.

There I feel better now. That weird feeling has disappeared.Now , when is my wedding anniversary?