Chippa Wilson and his 5'6" x 18.5 x 2.19 MH Surfboards Ruff Seas model, shaped by Matt Hurworth. Photo: Corey Wilson
"A tail that’s pulled in, compared to a wider tail, lets me pivot on a bottom turn when I go to do an air." Photo: Corey Wilson
Watching a pro surfer put stickers on his board makes absolutely no sense. It’s impossible to ascertain whether the logic behind the method is an applied science or chaos theory. On a muggy day in Newport Beach, the world’s most technically savvy surfer proved this point. Some, he’d just slap on like a hasty high-five, revealing embarrassing air-bubble acne. While others he’d place near a rail with painstaking precision. There was no rhyme or reason. But Chippa did have his reasons for why this quasi-self-shaped 5’6” works wonders for him. And, why tucked tails and pointy noses are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Down to his last sponsor, Chippa looked for a marker and wrote in some scarce free space: Kustom. And somehow, this made perfect sense. —Beau Flemister
CHIPPA: With this board, my shaper Matt [Hurworth] and I sat down and talked about what I wanted. I actually shaped a version and then he shaped a version and from there, he made one halfway between the two — which is what this is. The blend works great though, because I pulled the tail in way too much on mine, and this one’s not so extreme. A tail that’s pulled in, compared to a wider tail, lets me pivot on a bottom turn when I go to do an air. Like, at the last minute in that steep part where you launch. When the tail’s narrow, you don’t slide out.
I haven’t shaped too many boards, but I really love it and have learned so much from Matt. I actually can’t wait to go home for a couple of months and just f–k around in his shaping bay, experimenting. So far, the most fun boards I’ve shaped have been single fins.
I like my board’s widest point to be under my front foot. And we’ve really been experimenting with the widest point on a board, going an inch or half an inch up or down. It makes a big difference in the way the board rides, something I realized in Indo fromwatching footage and seeing how much board was in front of my foot.
Basically all my average shortboards are 5’6”. I kinda freak out when I get on a 5’8” — it’s just too much board for me. But for only being a 5’6” this board handled really well in bigger waves. And although a 5’6” is pretty short, anything shorter doesn’t look good in photos or in video, even though they’re great for airs. Like when you see John John on his boards, he looks a lot better in the air than other people. And I think that’s partly because his shortboards look more traditional; maybe it’s that pointy nose.