Editor's Note: In conjunction with our annual Surfboards Issue (On newsstands Nov. 18), we will be posting one interview per day with a craftsman who contributed to the issue. Some are the biggest names in the bay; others are underground and want to keep it that way. But all of them share an equal passion for the crafts that move us forward. In these tough economic times, they all have a lot to say on where their craft is going. This time: AJW's Adam Warden.
Name: Adam Warden
Zone: San Diego
Years Shaping: 11 years
Boards Per Week: 10-35
Specialty: Performance shortboards
IS YOUR BUSINESS BETTER OR WORSE SINCE THE CLARK FOAM SHUTDOWN?
Business is a lot more interesting now, that's for sure. When Clark foam was around things were a lot simpler, not as many options as now days. Customers weren’t as educated as they are now, which is a good thing. The boards are better products now, and for us business is definitely better. However, simplicity is always nice and it seems these days if u want good business, you have to work twice as hard for it, but it's out there!
DO YOU FEEL POLYURETHANE FOAM/POLYESTER RESIN WILL ALWAYS BE THE DOMINANT SURFBOARD CONSTRUCTION?
As of right now it's the most affordable, and best bang for the buck. I think that answer really depends on how much customers wants to spend. If everyone could afford a $1000 surfboard we might see a trend to stronger lasting materials. However, with the economy where it's at today I don't think you’ll be seeing epoxy taking over anytime soon. Also, there's a reason 95 percent of the pros are riding the stuff they are, even where money's not as issue, it works that good. Hopefully one day we’ll come up with a better performing core, and won't even need foam or resin…
DO YOU THINK THERE’S AN INCREASING OR DECREASING APPRECIATION FOR A CUSTOM SURFBOARD?
Tough to say, I think there's a lot of consumers out there who think you just push a button and surfboards come out perfect. They might not appreciate customization as much as those from the '70s or '80s who had to smell the resin and dust straight off sanding rack, maybe go drink a beer with their shaper.
However those who surf regularly and develop quivers, I think appreciate it more than ever with the advances of designs and machines, your shaper can truly customize your board more than ever, even have a back log of files from your previous shapes. The whole world these days is about customer service, and customizing everything to ones needs. Its time to appreciate that!
ARE QUADS DECLINING OR INCREASING IN POPULARITY?
Quads seem to be less popular than last year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work in certain conditions. For small waves it seems some people either like them or don’t depending on style. However when it comes to big waves, barrels, and tow boards, quads are here to stay.
WHAT’S KEEPING YOU AFLOAT? CUSTOM CLIENTELE? SHOP ACCOUNTS? SURFTECH?
Definitely, not Surftech or any overseas mass production. During the prime months our shops take care of us, and we take pride in taking care of them, with good customer service and turn arounds and it seems to be working. In the winter its the traveling customs, and loyal clientele, which we are so fortunate to have, Thanks to them for that.
IF IT HASN’T ALREADY, WILL YOUR SURFBOARD PRODUCTION EVER HAVE TO GO OVERSEAS?
Hell NO! Not unless I'm there to over see it all, and still get to surf. Either way the biggest dilemma about overseas production is turn around, and smaller volumes. Until the day where a shop or customer can order a small box of customized boards and have them delivered in 2-4 weeks or even a month. While still having good quality, than I don't see myself eating noodles anytime soon.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU SHAPE?
Everything from Iron Maiden to Johnny Cash, jazz, right now. I've been liking Citizen Cope, I even like silence! Depends what time of day.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND ON A SINGLE BOARD NOW?
Depends on the music… anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours
DO YOU SPEND MORE TIME ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN OR IN THE SHAPING BAY?
Definitely shaping bay, but unfortunately the computer screen has become my best friend.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TEAMRIDER FEEDBACK TO YOU?
Absolutely most important thing. Not so much good feedback as negative. It's always nice to hear the board was best board ever, but you learn way more from when things aren’t perfect.
WHAT KIND OF BOARD DO YOU ENJOY SHAPING MOST RIGHT NOW?
Without a doubt Guns, big wave boards, and I'm starting to dabble a tiny bit into tow boards. It's very intriguing to me.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET TO SURF?
Every time the surfs good, I hope to be on it. Sometimes I get stuck working too much, and get bummed out so I make a point to travel and surf real waves pretty regularly. So far I'm pretty stoked!
ARE YOU ACTIVELY PURSUING “GREENER” AVENUES IN YOUR SURFBOARD PRODUCTION?
This is one area I would love to get more involved with, unfortunately there really are not as many options as you would hope to choose from. I don't care what people say, surfboards are built from chemicals, and 99% of those chemical are not very healthy. However, how those chemicals are disposed of and the environment they are stored, is the best control for pursuing "greener production." I am also a huge advocate for ding repairs. Don't ever throw away a surfboard, fix it!
MONTH OF THE SHAPER:
DAY 1: William “Stretch” Riedel
DAY 2: Mark Price / Firewire Surfboards
DAY 3: Jeff Clark
DAY 4: Chris Gallagher
DAY 5: Matt Biolos
DAY 6: Geoff Rashe
DAY 7: Mark Wooster
DAY 8: Jeff Bushman
DAY 9: Rusty Preisendorfer
DAY 10: Rich Price
DAY 11: Shane Stoneman
DAY 12: Ricky Carroll
DAY 13: Xanadu
DAY 14: Chris Christenson
DAY 15: John Carper
DAY 16: Michael Walter
DAY 17: David Barr
DAY 18: Ben Aipa
DAY 19: Jeff “Doc” Lausch
DAY 20: Jesse Fernandez
DAY 21: Cole Simler
DAY 22: Glenn Pang
DAY 23: Bill Johnson
DAY 24: Timmy Patterson
DAY 25: Tim Stamps
DAY 26: Todd Proctor
DAY 27: Adam Warden