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: HB's Tim Stamps.
Name: Tim Stamps
Zone: Seal Beach and Huntington Beach
Years Shaping: 19
Boards per week: Between 2 and 30
Specialty: Shortboards, wider shortboards and quads.
IS YOUR BUSINESS BETTER OR WORSE SINCE THE CLARK FOAM SHUTDOWN?
I would say as far as ideas and materials it's been more open minded, but as far as numbers of surfboards and ease of business because I think the Clark Foam thing opened a vacuum for the molded and imported stuff that was taboo before. Then all of sudden nobody could make a living so all of a sudden everything was cool and every money speculator thought he could make a living on importing containers of boards. I mean that's still running it's course and it's affecting us, big and small guys but we'll see if it sticks.
DO YOU FEEL POLYURETHANE FOAM/POLYESTER RESIN WILL ALWAYS BE THE DOMINANT SURFBOARD CONSTRUCTION?
I think so. Because of the ease of manufacturing and consistent product. I do a lot of epoxy stuff an its hard and its not as clean and it's temperamental when you get a ding, but it's definitely a valid way to make boards, but I don't think polyester is going anywhere.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS AN INCREASING OR DECREASING APPRECIATION FOR SURFBOARDS RIGHT NOW?
I'd say with a certain sect it's increasing. For those in the know, they're more into it than ever. People, and I'm not talking for everyone, but people beginning at surf schools on foam boards and things don't seem to care though. I just don't know if they have the appreciation of guys who have surfed their whole life do. The guys who've surfed their whole life seam to come back because they can tell me they want their board now, or they want their board an inch longer, or wider. It's like adjusting the seat on your bike. And even groms who compete and are into surfing are riding custom shapes are still into it. And that keeps what we do going. As long as those people are riding our boards we'll be OK.
ARE QUADS INCREASING OR DECREASING IN POPULARITY?
I still make heaps of them and that's all I ride. I think they're solid. Maybe that's not what guys on tour are riding, but a lot of regular guys are because it gives them speed. I love them. I ride a thruster and it feels like I'm dragging seaweed, but I'm 40. I don't think Slater is having a problem on thruster though. I watched him at Lowers and he was doing alright [laughs]. It's cool though because I mean when I was growing up if you didn't ride a 5'10" thruster you were a kook. That's not the case right now.
WHAT'S KEEPING YOU AFLOAT?
Custom clientele. A lot of my friends who work in the industry at like fin companies say things are going custom, too. A lot of things are washing through, I mean SurfTech will be around because they're valid and have shapers behind them.
DO YOU EVER SEE YOUR LABEL GOING OVERSEAS?
No, if I want to make money I'll do something else.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND ON A SINGLE BOARD?
If I'm hand shaping it, like an hour and a half. If it's off a machine it's a half hour. I'm not spending eight minutes on a board out of a machine. To get the rails right I'm still spending more time in the shaping room than on the computer.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TEAM RIDER FEEDBACK?
The older I get the more important it gets [laughs]. I'm not of the school of thought that we're all going to like the same thing. Some people are more front foot surfers, or back foot surfers. And I can't ride a 4'11" shortboard. I need groms and team riders to help with feedback. I would never know that without them.
WHAT KIND OF BOARDS DO YOU ENJOY SHAPING THE MOST RIGHT NOW?
Sounds kind of cheesy but I like shaping a board for a guy it's tailored to. Whatever makes a guy psyched, whether it's a guy on a quad or a kid on a high performance board. Making something that's for a place or a person is what I like.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET TO SURF?
I'd say every weekend for sure and a couple days through the week. In the winter the orders are less and the waves are good it's more, spring it's blown out and the orders are coming in it's more.
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