The next step toward implementing our plan was to actually be able to produce and manufacture a product. Oh yeah! we kind of needed to learn how to build a board to actually be a surfboard manufacturer, don’t ya think? That might help. So, we did a lot of research, made some phone calls and soon hooked up with a shaper named Doug Wright, owner of Rainbow Surfboards in Melbourne Beach, Florida. What a great guy; with 30 years of shaping experience under his belt, not only did he sell us the supplies we needed to build a surfboard but he also took us under his wing and helped us out from time to time, showing us techniques and little tricks. Now Doug was one of a kind; not many shapers would do that. Unlike photography, where everyone, including seasoned professionals, are so willing to help and teach each other tips and tricks, we were learning quickly how cut throat and secretive the surfboard industry can be. No one wanted to give away their secrets or any other information for that matter. Especially to four kids they barely knew. Doug has since moved on from shaping surfboards, to designing and engineering high end composites, molds and 5-axis Milling for offshore racing boats. You can check him out at Doug Wright Designs.
So, now we were set. We had everything needed to build our surfboards. We had our tools, we had our “blanks”, which is what you call the foam the board is shaped from and the resin and cloth to fiberglass the finished shape. There was only one thing we didn’t take into account. Where in the heck were we going to build these things? We decided to rent a couple of small storage units to get us started. Fairly inexpensive, and quite frankly, all we could afford at the time. We needed one unit to shape, airbrush and sand the boards, and the other unit to glass the boards. Next, we decided on what type of board each of us wanted to build. I decided to go with a 6ft shortboard, simply because that’s what I surfed at the time and I felt like I could evaluate it’s performance better once it was time to test it out. Using every bit of knowledge and information Doug from Rainbow surfboards had given us, I proceeded to build my first surfboard, as did the others. After a couple of days went by, I had done it! I shaped my first surfboard. What a feeling of accomplishment. I just wanted to sit and stare at it. I couldn’t believe I had actually shaped a surfboard, but it wasn’t finished. My next task was to airbrush a design which is done right on the foam before it is fiberglassed. Being that I had always been the artist and creative one out of the group, I was soon nominated to airbrush not only mine but everyone else’s boards as well. I went with a simple black rail color. I believe Tom White, my other good friend and partner in this venture, had shaped a longboard so he wanted a crazy looking sun airbrushed on his board. Once all the artwork was complete, it was time to move on to the next step, fiberglassing. I found out quickly that glassing a surfboard was definitely not my strong suit. Mike, on the other hand, seemed to pick it up fairly quick. He just seemed to have a knack for it. So much so, he would soon be named the official laminator of the company. Once the boards were laminated or fiberglassed and the fins were attached, the final step was to then sand the boards down and wait a couple of days for cure time. When you first glass a board, it's soft and has a green tint to it. Once it becomes cured it hardens up and turns clear. Then it's ready to ride.