Editor’s Note: In conjunction with our annual Surfboards Issue (On newsstands Nov. 18), we will be posting one interview per day with a craftsman who contributed to the issue. Some are the biggest names in the bay; others are underground and want to keep it that way. But all of them share an equal passion for the crafts that move us forward. In these tough economic times, they all have a lot to say on where their craft is going. This time: 21-13’s Michael Walter.
Name: Michael Walter (21-13)
Zone: Oceanside, CA 92054
Years Shaping: 20 yrs
Boards Per Week: New 21-13 Logo average 20 brds
Specialty: Short Performance, also shape LB, Retro, Twins & Quads
Is your business better or worse since the Clark Foam shutdown?
I think we have better foam now, we all went through a few glitches but it’s all good.
Do you feel polyurethane foam/polyester resin will always be the dominant surfboard construction?
It seems to be like re-inventing the steering wheel, everyone keeps coming back to it. Every year there’s something new that comes & goes.
Do you think there’s an increasing or decreasing appreciation for a custom surfboard?
A increase. There are more people getting into surfing and getting good and finding their way to the source, the shaper.
Are quads declining or increasing in popularity?
For me it seems like they have peaked. There are the ones that really like them and some who will never try them and some who went wee wee wee all the way back home to the thruster.
What’s keeping you afloat? Custom clientele? Shop accounts? Surftech?
Custom clientele and shops.
If it hasn’t already, will your surfboard production ever have to go overseas?
I hope not, it is so sad to see so many American brothers in the trade getting hurt by people who literally sell soul for money. (shapers & surf shops)
What kind of music do you like to listen to when you shape?
I like Praise – I’m a Jesus Freak.
How much time do you spend on a single board now?
Some of my boards are hand shapes and take 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. and some are pre-shapes and take about 30 mins.
Do you spend more time on the computer screen or in the shaping bay?
All in my shaping room. I don’t shape anything on screen. I know that’s vogue but I’m not there.
How important is teamrider feedback to you?
What kind of board do you enjoy shaping most right now?
When I’m in my shaping room designing something new is my favorite.
How often do you get to surf?
I can go out my back gate from my shaping room and walk to the beach, that’s pretty much where I surf unless I’m traveling so I get out often.
Are you actively pursuing “greener” avenues in your surfboard production?
It is getting greener. There is better waste management and recycling going on now. The best performing materials are about the same makeup as they have been for the past many years. My main goal is to build the best board I can for my customers.
MONTH OF THE SHAPER:
DAY 1: William “Stretch” Riedel
DAY 2: Mark Price / Firewire Surfboards
DAY 3: Jeff Clark
DAY 4: Chris Gallagher
DAY 5: Matt Biolos
DAY 6: Geoff Rashe
DAY 7: Mark Wooster
DAY 8: Jeff Bushman
DAY 9: Rusty Preisendorfer
DAY 10: Rich Price
DAY 11: Shane Stoneman
DAY 12: Ricky Carroll
DAY 13: Xanadu
DAY 14: Chris Christenson
DAY 15: John Carper
DAY 16: Michael Walter
DAY 17: David Barr
DAY 18: Ben Aipa
DAY 19: Jeff “Doc” Lausch
DAY 20: Jesse Fernandez
DAY 21: Cole Simler