I'm the kind of person who figures.. "just because I don't know how to do something doesn't mean I can't LOOK like I do..." I have applied this rule to many things in my life. Cooking, dancing and walking in high heels immediately spring to mind, and funnily enough I have gotten away with it, with most people (more often than not) none the wiser. I mean what's wrong with buying the latest Vitamix/Nutrimix/Blending Sticks if it's going to get you excited about cooking? Why wouldn't you purchase those sky-high heels and just call them "dinner party shoes" if they make you look and feel amazing?? And that is why, when I stumbled across Matt Parker's incredible surfboard shaping company ALBUM SURFBOARDS I knew I had found just the thing to re-ignite my relationship with the wave.
In their own words, Album Surfboards are "innovative, functional, custom-designed surfboards handmade by surfers in the USA." But looking at even just the stock they carry in their store they are so much more than that. Every board is lovingly pored over from the design phase right down to how you carry it out of the shop. You can literally feel the "good vibes" just oozing out of them.
Born in 2001 to Board Designer and Head Shaper, Matt Parker, you can immediately tell that Album Surfboards is about passion first, dollars second. That's not to say their San Clemente-based headquarters isn't PIMP AS F%*K, but it's evident where the real passion lies. Ask Matt what gets him excited about shaping boards so much and he says "...fun, speed and magic.. Finding the right combo of outline, rocker, rails and foam to make the most out of your sessions" You can tell this guy lives for surfing and for encouraging people to improve their skills through the use of top notch equipment.
In true Aussie style I wasted no time in pestering the poor guy to make me a board that I was going to swing by and casually "pick up" on my way down the Californian coast this past September. And by "swing by" I mean convince my now exhausted partner to fly 10 hours from London in the opposite direction of where we were actually headed to then pick up a car from LA, drive down to San Clemente, grab the boards and fly home. (At least he got to surf Trestles.. something that's been on his bucket list for ages)
And let me tell you, Matt didn't disappoint. For a novice like me who is all about just staying ON the board he made me a 6'7" x 21" - 21.5" x 2.75" matte black Darkness with customised glassing. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I couldn't wait to try it out. The options on the website are endless - there is literally something for everyone with Matt's philosophy about surfing to first and foremost "have fun." He goes on to say that "we are all about realistically assessing where you surf and more specifically what you are trying to do on the wave. Then we get you the right board with the right dimensions that will allow you to reach your potential and surf the way you want to surf"... Errrrr that would be UPRIGHT for me....
If you are in the market for a new board or just in the LA area, head down the coast to San Clemente and give Matt a high-five or check out the full range available at ALBUM SURFBOARDS HERE.