SACRED CRAFT: Interview With Surfboard Expo Creator, Scott Bass

Saturday and Sunday mark the return of the Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Expo to the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, CA. If you missed it the first time around, don’t make the same mistake twice. This year promises to bring some of the biggest names and forces in the surfboard shaping industry under one roof to celebrate the most important aspect of surfing: the surfboard. We figured we’d catch up with Scott Bass, founder of the Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Expo, to get the inside scoop on this year’s event.

Tell me about the Sacred Craft Expo. What can we expect that's different from the first year?

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Well, what's different is this year we've got a craftsmen expression session where we've got some great shapers. Moonlight Glassing, Stu Kenson, Matt Biolos, Dave Dom, Wade Koniakowsky. The craftsmen expression session for charity is a chance for surfers to give back by buying a beautiful surfboard at the silent auction. All the proceeds go to the charity of the surfer's choice. It's going to be pretty insane. There's going to be eight insane, beautiful boards right when you walk in to look at, gawk over, and put a silent auction bid down on if you can.

I've heard that a lot of pro surfers will be there shaping boards. What exactly is that about?

We have this thing called the Pro Surfer Celebrity Shaping exhibition. Rob Machado, Brad Gerlach, and Pat O'Connell are going to shape a board in front of everybody in our live shaping bay. Then, those boards are going to be auctioned off silent-bid style as well for the charity of the pro surfers' choice. So, Rob's got the Rob Machado Foundation, Pat's chosen the Surfrider Foundation, and Brad's chosen Surf Aid International.

What's the mission statement of Sacred Craft?

Well, the mission for Sacred Craft is basically to put as many surfboard builders, shapers, and manufactures in front of as many surfboard consumers as possible, to sort of marry the two. Surf shops in general can only dedicate so much floor space to surfboards because they make all their money with garments. So, I just sort of felt like we need surfboards, surfboard makers, and surfboard lovers to have a place to commune and spend a weekend admiring the thing that's most important to surfers. Really, surfers don't care about what you wear, they care about what you ride. Surfboards are a big deal. There are really two things that surfers care about: waves and surfboards. All the other stuff is just filler. When it comes right down to it, if you see a good wave, all you've got to do is grab a board—those are the only two essentials.

Are you going to take the show on the road at any point?

I do have some plans to do some stuff up in the northern areas. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. I am looking at a springtime show in Ventura.

Is there any one aspect of the show that's most exciting to you?

For me, the driving force behind the show is the Tribute to the Master Shape-Off Competition. This year we're honoring Bill Caster. Bill Caster is a legendary San Diego shaper and a guy whose boards made it all the way around the United States. He had dealers in Texas and all up and down the Eastern seaboard. So, the shape-off is a back-to-the-roots type of event where we put guys in the live shaping bay and they're asked to replicate a classic Bill Caster design. The winning shaper gets $1,000 and a full-page ad in Surfing Magazine.

This year the shapers are Ward Coffee from Santa Cruz, Matt Calvani from Los Angeles, Timmy Patterson from Orange County, San Diego shapers Chris Christenson and Ned McMahon, and from the East Coast, defending champion Ricky Carroll.

The other new stuff is surf movies. This year we've got an outdoor movie tent that we put up. And we're going to be showing Cyrus Sutton's Under the Sun, the new bonzer opus by Duncan and Malcolm Campbell called Bonzer: The Mothership, and the film Between the Lines by Pure Frustration Productions—a look at surfers in the Vietnam War. So, we're going to be showing those movies basically on a loop the entire two days of the weekend, so we're pretty excited about that.

And then we've got the seminars. We've got Harold Walker from Walker Foam joining John Stillman from Ice 9 Foamworks. Tom Wegener is flying in from Australia to do a seminar on the alaia. We've got Robert August and Wingnut doing one. Dan Malloy is going to do a seminar on pro surfers and their quivers. Swaylocks, this grassroots board-building website, is going to do a seminar on Swaylocks and the homebuilder/ the hobbyist. Jeremy Sherwin is doing a seminar on the concept of a renewable recyclable surfboard. Drew Brophy is doing one on paint pen techniques. Akina Solar, one of our main sponsors, is going to be doing one on staying green, and how the surfer and solar power can combine.

So we've got quite a weekend with movies, seminars, professional shaping, pro surfers shaping surfboards, of course tons of surfboards, craftsmen expression sessions for charity, all the greatest surfboard brands in the world are going to be there, and raffles. It's basically going to be a weekend love affair with the surfboard.

Is there anything that you couldn't do this year at the event that you can't wait to do next year?

Well, I can't wait to do another Tribute to the Master Shape-Off, because there are so many great shapers who have unfortunately passed away that we can honor. So, I've already got some ideas lined up for the upcoming show

Are there any other projects that for one reason or another couldn't quite come together this year that you'll put together for next year?

Yeah, absolutely. I've got some stuff that I don't want to give away right now because there are people out there who will rip off your ideas. But I've got some stuff already percolating and it's going to be exciting. So next year's Sacred Craft is already being planned.

Also, the first 100 people in the door on both Saturday and Sunday morning are going to be entered in an early-bird drawing for a new surfboard. So if you get there early your chances are 1 in 100 that you're going to win a new surfboard.

Do you get a choice of surfboard?

Sure, you get a choice of three boards. Also, there's going to be a guy giving away haircuts. And that should be especially important to you Zach, because you need a haircut.

I already got a haircut.

You should get your money back.