The Pressures Of Being A Big-Wave Shaper

"Big-wave boards are like parachutes. They have to work."

Chris Christenson doesn’t have any easy job. He shapes for some of the best big-wave surfers in the world, notably Ian Walsh and Greg Long. What we tend to forget is that Chris carries a big responsibility for their safety. “Big-wave boards are like parachutes,” he says, “They have to work.” You don’t want the fins to push water while bottom-turning your board across a beast at Pe’ahi. Contours on the bottom of the board can be the difference in making or breaking a steep drop at Mavericks. Christenson is a firm believer that no advancement in surfboard technology has been as massive as what’s happening in the big-wave scene, and he’s right. The fins, the construction, the stringers, the materials – everything has been put through the ringer the last two decades to get these boards spot on.