You know the label, you know the name, but what you don’t know is the story behind it all. Although he was born in Brazil, Xanadu is worldly¿he lives everywhere. He lives this way because he not only wants to expand his shaping, but his mind as well. Xanadu, like his name, is unique¿check him out.¿A.C.
When did you move to California from Brazil?
I was born in São Paulo, it’s a big city about an hour from the beach. I’ve been traveling since I was fifteen years old. I pretty much haven’t lived in Brazil for at least twenty years.
When did you start shaping?
In 1975, I was fifteen. In Brazil at the time, maybe there were between five to ten shapers and it was probably 1974. I ordered a board and it didn’t come out how I wanted it. I rode it, didn’t like it, gave it back, and told him to make me another board. He made another board and it didn’t come out the way I wanted it. So then I decided, “Okay, I’m gonna have this problem all my life, so I better start to do my own boards one day. Whatever I have in my hands will come out of my hands.” That was the reason I started.
If I grew up here in America, I don’t think I would have been a shaper. Because in America at that time there were great shapers and good guys who made good surfboards. In Brazil at the time, I didn’t have a choice.
Who are your teamriders?
My main guy is Nathan Webster, and I have a guy from Brazil who’s number one on the ‘QS¿Rodrigo Dornelles. I also have another young kid from Brazil, Danilo Grillo. From here U.S.A. is Asher Nolan, Mike Losness, Austin Ware, Brian Conley, Matt Rockhold, there’re a few other kids around.
What do you look for in teamriders?
Right now in my life after doing boards so long, first I want to be sure the guy wants to ride my boards because he wants to ride my boards. He believes in my design, he believes in my boards¿that’s what it is right now. That’s my number-one priority. A couple kids here come up, even a kid who’s in his mid twenties, they come up and want to ride for me and ask for money. They haven’t even tried my boards, and if I see that a guy is more after the money than a good surfboard¿I don’t care for the guy at all. It doesn’t matter if he’s f¿kin’ Kelly Slater or whoever he is¿I don’t care.
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to get started shaping?
It’s a hard-working life. If you have a couple jobs in life, sometimes it’s easier to have more free time than you would have with this one. If you own a restaurant, you work all the time. It’s the same if you make surfboards, you work all the time if you want to be successful.
What’s different now is the computer machines. My friend in Brazil made the software. You don’t need to shape a board anymore, maybe never have to touch the foam. Just to finish the product. His computer can design the whole board on the screen, and I did it with him. I changed the whole design in less than a minute, and it’s a new board. I would tell the kids that I don’t know if they should really get involved that much. Maybe these days if you’re going to be a shaper, you should learn about computers. Learn computer graphics and software. That’s the direction it’s going to go.