Despite the prevalence of Big Surfboard—with their global supply chains, suspect technological claims (flex patterns, etc.), and multimillion dollar marketing budgets—there remains nothing more CORE than a hand-shaped, custom surfboard crafted by a local shaper. And as one of the most CORE surf communities on the planet, Northeast Florida has long supported its board-builders, whether they renowned masters (your Whisnants, your Rozos, your Dunlops, your Carrolls), or part-time side-hustlers.
Though he mows foam in his off hours, Ghetto Surfboards operator Sean Piper has emerged as one of the area’s most intriguing surfboard shapers. A family man, skater, and musician (all CORE things, to be sure), Piper’s alt-leaning crafts—Golden Era-style logs with stepdecks, wide noses and/or parallel rails; flat, wide 5’5 X 19 ¼”-inspired shortboards; fishes, midlengths, etc.—have found an audience among the experimentally inclined crowd.
Here, we find yet another product of Piper’s endless tinkering, a board he’s calling “The Apprentice.” A take on the somewhat obscure mid-60’s pintail, The Hansen Master, the board’s name may carry Piper’s preference for cheeky, self-deprecation, but it certainly highlights his talents as a total-package kind of board-builder. This Apprentice was savvily designed, shaped with subtle belly, and slightly pinched 50/50 rails (to keep the board tight in the all-powerful pockets of North Florida waves), then glassed (double 6 oz volan on top and bottom) to feature two pinned-out forrest green panels that clash ever-so-punk-rockishly with the carrot orange foam between the board’s two cedar stringers.
This neat surfboard originally appeared in Void Magazine, Vol. 10, Issue 6.