[IMAGE 1]Geoff Rashe And The Science Of M10 Shapes
by Aaron Checkwood
When it comes to progressive surfing, Santa Cruz has definitely delivered the goods. From super-sized Mavericks to the midsized launchpad known as the Slot, guys like Ratboy, Barney, and Flea have been making a name for an isolated area that’s been generally neglected in years past.
There’re also a lot of great shapers. One of them is Geoff Rashe of M10 surfboards. Rashe’s boards are at the forefront of progressive Santa Cruz surfing, and we caught up with him to find out some of those special ingredients that are making M10s fly all over the place.
How long have you been shaping?
I’ve been shaping for about eleven years. How I learned to shape was by being a production shaper for another company. When I worked for Arrow as a ghost shaper shaping under another person’s label, that gave me as much foam as I could possibly mow¿that’s how I really learned how to shape. Shaping is what’s in my long-term memory¿just like speaking the English language is.
Are you originally from Santa Cruz?
So you’ve been around the whole Santa Cruz crew your whole life?
Right. When the Flea was the Flea because of his size¿I knew him.
Who are some of your team riders?
I’ve got Tyler Smith, Randy Bonds, Edrick Baldwin, Chris Lynch, and Jason Ratboy Collins.
The Santa Cruz boys do a lot of airs. Do you build boards specifically for that reason?
Yes, for sure. All boards work to do something, so to do an air there’re certain design characteristics that you need to build into the board¿if that’s what you’re trying to do. One of them is weight. For example, we try to make Rat’s boards as light as we possibly can.
Anyone who rides surfboards knows that the lighter the board, the more responsive it is. I think it’s pretty safe to say that someone like Jason can get almost any board up into the air¿a big factor is landing the air. There are certain ways you have to distribute the volume to allow for a soft landing¿in the edges and things like that.
Do guys like Jason give you a lot of good feedback? Do they sit there and tell you exactly what they want?
I would say that’s really general. For the most part, what we decide to go with in terms of design, a lot of the time might happen by accident. It’s a matter of trying and trying, and then you come up with something they say works great¿that’s your new point of reference.
How will surfboard design improve for today’s youth?
What we’re thinking, like with Rat, is trying to make boards that are lighter, stiffer, and stronger. It might be a board specifically made to get air, and furthermore, to make airs a more accessible maneuver to the mainstream. Just like an off-the-lip at one point was something that only certain guys could do, now it’s accessible to anybody who’s learning how to surf. The tri-fin enabled that¿a real directional turn off the bottom and then off the top.
I remember Martin Potter saying that aerials are touch and go at best¿and he was one of the top aerial guys in the 80s. We know now that’s not true, because we see kids learning how to surf doing airs. Just like certain equipment¿like the tri-fin¿enabled a certain type of surfing, we can make designs that will enable aerial surfing for the future. There’s no question about it.
Do you have any advice for new shapers?
The advice is to keep your nose to the grindstone. Anything you want to learn is a matter of repetition. It takes practice, which is something that’s harder and harder to get.
If you don’t think you could hang out in a shaping room all day long, for days on end¿then you really shouldn’t even consider being a shaper, because you’ll never get any good at it. It’s a matter of resolution, self-confidence, and a willingness to keep working. The fact is, a lot of shapers, for whatever they may have in talent, lack in work ethic. If youu have a strong work ethic, you can succeed in whatever it is you’re trying to do.
Words of thanks?
The two people who’ve helped make me what I am today professionally are Bob Pearson and Jason Collins. Jason Collins, by simply riding my boards, has done wonders for my career. Bob gave me the volume of work I needed to shape boards on a consistent basis. Bill Minard and Dennis Murphy also helped me in the very beginning, and Mark Goin, Steve Coletta, Doug Schroedel all supported me. Of course, I also have to thank my wife, parents, and grandparents.