Imagine arriving into this world with the last name of Merrick. Imagine being a kid and looking through the door of your dad’s shaping bay, planer at work, and watching for hours the creation of boards for surfers like Shaun Tomson, Davey Smith, and young Tommy Curren. Then imagine deciding in your late teens to take up the family craft yourself. “He’d show me a little, tiny curve on the rail,” says Channel Islands shaper and designer Britt Merrick about father Al. “‘That’s going to catch water right there,’ he’d tell me. But I couldn’t even see it. It was demanding, but really good for me. I feel super privileged now to have been able to shape with my dad for years and years.” Our newest episode of In The Shaping Bay profiles Britt and his Channel Islands compound in Santa Barbara, where he shapes high-performance equipment for a new generation of CI teamriders like Dane Reynolds, Conner Coffin, Zeke Lau, and more. Just over the hill sits the ultimate testing grounds, the Queen of the Coast herself. From there, a short drive takes you to the Carpinteria CI factory, staffed by a team who meticulously upholds its standards to match the same priorities of Al — and now, of Britt — since the family founded the company in 1969: to allow surfers to do exactly what they always imagined on a wave.