HIC veteran Wade Tokoro has been shaping Jamie O’Brien’s boards for over two years now, and while Jamie knows what he wants his boards to do, he doesn’t always understand exactly what it takes to get it there. “He tells me what the board’s doing or not doing,” says Wade, “and then I figure out how to translate into the shape.”

O’Brien entered this experiment excited to see what he could come up with shaping-wise, and exited with a newfound appreciation for what he couldn’t. “I guess when you get so many boards,” says Jamie, “you start taking it for granted. You don’t really think about how much goes into each one.”

6’3″ x 18 ” double-concave, rounded pin; Jamie’s all-around “Backdoor board.”

7. According to Wade, “This was a pretty basic, all-around board for Jamie, but it’s never easy. They’re all tricky.”

“I was kind of trying to hurry, ’cause there were some girls at my house waiting for me. So I was, like, I gotta shape this board good, but I gotta shape it fast. The girls were calling, like, 'How long are you gonna be?’ And I was, like, 'I don’t know, an hour or something.'”

The hour passed quickly. Then another. And another. Four hours later, the girls had snapped and split, and O’Brien was feeling the burn. “My arms were getting so sore, cramping and everything. I was tripping.”

Wade would demonstrate a tool, then go back to his own work, leaving Jamie to his own devices. “A lot of guys are real scared at first,” explains Wade, “especially with the planer. But Jamie just dove right in and went for it. He was good with the tools.”

“At first I was, like, wow, what if this board comes out to be one of my favorite boards? So I kept shaping, and then, oops, I just cut off a rail. I just kept cutting into the rail again and again and then it was, like, aw, shit, this is a disaster. Next thing I know I had diamond rails, my 6’3″ was a 6’1″ and my 18 ” was down to 17 “. Each time I banged it around the room I had to take a little more off somewhere. My deep double concave kept getting shallower and shallower. Sean Davey kept coming in and just laughing at me.”

At a glance, the final product looked almost okay. At a closer glance, the nose was a bit funky, the outline somewhat asymmetrical and the rails a little awkward. “One side looked crip,” says Jamie, “Like a board I’d want to ride. But the other side was something else. I don’t know what was going on there. People would look at it and go, 'Is that a Tokoro?’ And I’d be, like, 'Yeah, sure. Wanna buy it?'”

O’Brien tested the board out in front of his house at Pipeline. “Before I paddled out I had butterflies. I was scared to ride it.” So how’d it perform? “The board was actually pretty fun. It drove good down the line. But then at Off the Wall I tried to put on rail off the bottom and the thing, I don’t know, it just didn’t work, the board just stopped and the lip landed on my head. Then I went to do a layback snap and the board just kept going straight. I felt like a kook out there.”

I think maybe Jamie might appreciate it a little bit more now that he’s tried it himself. As far as handshaping goes, it’s a lot of work. I seen him sweating in there. [laughs] Pretty classic.”

“What did I learn? Never to shape my own board again. Just leave it up to the shapers.”

O’Brien later attempted to pawn his “Tokoro” off on a friend, who almost bought into his line about the new, “experimental” rails, until he noticed the strange “OB” signature beneath the Tokoro sticker. “He took his money back,” says Jamie. “He was over it.”

For a look at how the other 3 pros handled thier shaping experience, pick up the Feb. 05 issue of SURFING. On sale December 28th.Or, click HERE to subscribe!