“East Coast shapers have to deal with waves that aren’t as good, so they have to try harder to make their boards work well.”
The surfboard-company Wave Riding Vehicles is based in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Tommy Moore’s been shaping there for eighteen years¿yet he’s still relatively unknown outside the East Coast. Tommy became a shaper basically because he was a surfer interested in how boards work, what he could do with them, and how he could make them benefit his own style. Tommy’s a quality shaper in an isolated place, but you can check him out right here in the text below.¿A.C.
Is it hard getting recognition as an upcoming shaper on the East Coast? Are your boards out here on the West Coast?I think it’s harder to get recognition from the West Coast pros and such. There’re not as many pros living on the East Coast¿it’s harder to get into the magazines, get guys riding boards, and also to get exposure. But I also think that East Coast shapers have to deal with waves that aren’t as good, so they have to try harder to make their boards work well. From my point of view, I’d say it’s better to shape on the East Coast. Trying to get speed out of small waves and incorporating that into your shaping is a lot different than riding a West Coast wave that peels along and is just there¿you’ve got to work speed out of East Coast waves.
Do East Coasters need a bigger variety of boards, or is there a more well-rounded version of an East Coast shape kids can use?I think between the high-performance boards and the fish boards are best for the kids, I’d say that covers a lot of area on the East Coast.
If a kid from the Outer Banks comes into your shop and has never worked with you before, what are you gonna start him off with? What’s your primary goal when getting a kid on a WRV?First, I’ll ask him how he surfs, what he likes to surf, what size is his favorite board, and what he’s been riding¿I’ll just go off that and incorporate my own ideas into what I think he needs.
Where do your ideas come from?From surfing every day, and from my teamriders¿surfing with them all the time, riding their boards, trading boards, and keeping an eye on what’s going on in the market. I think it mostly comes from my surfing, though.
Do you think it’s better if a shaper doesn’t see other guys’ designs?I think you’d limit yourself if you did that. Everyone has ideas, I think there’s something to be learned from everyone.
Is it possible to create your own design based on what you feel¿coming up with new ideas rather than sticking with the norm?I don’t stick with the norm. I think about my ideas first rather than looking at someone else’s. Yeah, it’s possible.
Do you have a plan for the future, in terms of getting your name and brand more into the mainstream? I like working with the pro surfers who we’re working with now, and putting out good, fast, consistent boards. I think it’s important to stay consistent with my shapes so that people riding them¿whether they’re beginner, intermediate, or pro¿get the same feel from board to board.If you’re a pro, you don’t want to get on a board and have to figure it out. You want to keep working on your surfing and get better. You don’t want to step back¿you want to keep going forward. It’s the same way for a beginning surfer, you want to keep getting better. If he or she has a board that’s always there for them on a consistent basis, then he or she’s gonna do well. That’ll carry us a long way. Consistently putting out a good product is how we want to market our product, and of course, we’ll have pros in the magazines. But overall, quality is number one.
How important is it for a kid to experiment with different shapes, designs, and sizes? Does that improve their surfing as well?Yeah, I think you’ll be more a well-rounded surfer if you experiment with different sizes and shapes to find out what you like.
What’s the design of a Tommy Moore surfboard gonna look like ten years from now?It’s hard to say¿ten years is a long way with the way materials have changed. I think we’ll definitely be using different materials and continually refining what we’re doing now.