Builders Q+A With Gary Larson
What boards have you been interested in riding lately?
Lately I’ve been riding a little twin-fin fish, 5’8” or so, just something easy. I’ve also been a 10’0” single-fin log, kind of a double ender that I really enjoy riding at Doho.
Do you find yourself excited to shape board styles your riding or is every board exciting and different to shape?
I’m really excited to shape just about anything. Longboards, mid-lengths, retro shortboards and contemporary boards, they’re all a pleasure to shape. I think the only boards I don’t look forward to shaping are EPS boards, they’re just a kick in the nuts.
Shaping under the Hobie label holds a lot of history with it, is that something you think about? What does that mean to you?
Yeah, surfing history is something that I hold near and dear. Personally, I come from a background where surfboard shapers put in countless hours of handcrafting their shapes and this is an aspect that seems to be overlooked in the younger generations of surfboard shapers, and surfers as well. The first generation of shapers, many of whom shaped for Hobie Alter, were hard working craftsmen that took pride in their work, grinding 8 - 10 hours a day, perfecting their craft. Surfboard shaping is an art that humbles me almost everyday and really allows me to reflect on the definition of hard work and dedication.
Do you draw inspiration from past Hobie designs?
I started shaping for Hobie in 2005 and was primarily drawn to the opportunity because it gave me the chance to shape along side Terry Martin. I mostly looked at his shapes, from the early 60’s to current designs, to draw inspiration. Terry seemed to really understand the way surfing style evolved and was able to progress shaping as well as preserve the traditional aesthetics of surfboards.
Do you feel this helps preserve the history and story Hobie has created over the last 50+ years?
Yeah, Hobie is a brand that is screams legacy and heritage. I feel that it’s imperative that the history of shaping is preserved because it seems to mostly escape current thought. I’m inspired by upcoming shapers that are dedicated to learning the history of surfboard shaping.
Do you draw inspiration from other shapers? If so, who?
Aside from Terry, I don't really gravitate towards any specific shapers designs. I like talking with a few of the guys, like Timmy Patterson and Mickey Munoz, mostly for their hilarious stories, because they have seen how the sport has evolved and I see their insight as extremely valuable.
What do you plan to shape for the 2016 Cosmic Creek?
I’ll probably make a Circa ’71 twin-fin.
Anyone you look forward to surfing with or against at the Cosmic Creek?
I’m just hoping that the waves are as fun as they were last year. I guess I’d enjoy surfing with Ryan Engle because we grew up surfing and shaping together and he’s always throwing down some classic trash talk while waiting for waves.
You can catch Gary Larson in the Creators & Innovators division at the 2016 Cosmic Creek at Salt Creek Beach on May 21st and 22nd. For more information and schedule of events, click here.
Interview by Eric Mehlberg
Photos by Kenny Hurtado