Name: Matt CalvaniAge: 31Hometown: Redondo Beach, CaliforniaLabel: Becker SurfboardsYear first shaped board: 1988Team riders: Pascal Stansfield, Geoff Moysa, Jared Lang, Jason Starr, and Travis Mellem.Boards shaped per year: 1,500Tools: Prefers Rockwell planers, the industry standard Skil 100, or Hitachi/Clark Foam planers.
Background: Matt initially started airbrushing-which turned into shaping-and did both under his own label. Around 1992, he began working for Dennis Jarvis under the South Bay of Los Angeles surfboard label Spyder, and he eventually transferred to Becker surfboards in 1995.
Influences: Fellow shapers and their designs are a big influence on Matt. Guys like Timmy Patterson-“He’s got an eye for detail,” and, of course, he looks up to Al Merrick: “Both of them understand how a board really works, so they really know where specific design features should be-they have a really refined method.”
Design philosophy: For Matt, hand-shaping from scratch (instead of using a computer) gives him the ability to customize dimensions for every surfer’s needs. “To push the surfer where he needs to go,” says Matt. “That’s the job of a shaper-to give the customer what he or she needs to get the job done.” He prefers this method versus the current popular use of CNC machines, because computers compromise the versatility that hand-shaping gives him: “If the machines were able to do this type of versatility, then it wouldn’t be a huge dilemma.”
Technical specifics: “I try to keep a lot of things standard, like my rocker and my outlines, but I specifically want to keep the volume correct for the surfers weight and ability so he can have the best performance possible.” Matt likes to stick with single concaves through the last third of his boards because anything else isn’t really necessary. “Not having too much concave too far up the board gives speed and lift under your feet where you need it. Too much concave too far up gives you lift where you don’t need it. This concave method allows more edge sharper in the rail where most guys can’t, because concaves too far up create temperamental bottoms-I like it to work in all conditions.”
Future outlook: “The materials we have can be refined to the point where they probably shouldn’t break and won’t compromise design and versatility-staying away from production ‘pop-out’ boards, but keeping versatility of a handmade one. Companies should work with the raw material manufacturers to create this vision. Everyone should also be conscientious about weight factors because weight works in conjunction with all the design features put into a board. The lighter the board, the more shapes will need to be adjusted.”