Surfing, and the culture surrounding it, originated with soul. For Florian Saylor, a surfer since he was eight years old, surfing and building boards has always been his passion. “I think I was around 15 or 16 when I stripped the glass off an old longboard to shape my first board,” recalls Florian.
“The surf culture is so deeply rooted in Los Angeles with many legendary shapers from the area such as Lance Carson, Bing Copeland, Jeff Ho, Robbie Dick, Matt Calvani and more. In the 60s and 70s, every coastal Los Angeles community had several surf shops, all of which had shaping bays and boards being shaped daily in the back,” he explains. As is the fate of many passions, big business capitalizes and dilutes them. The outsourced, machine-made boards seen in many shops today serves as a prime example.
There is a growing emergence of DIY surfers that are shaping their own boards in garages and backyards. Florian set out to create a shop that elevates the craft when he opened Shaper Supply Co. in Mar Vista, CA. Here, they offer popular hands-on lessons known as ‘Shaping School’ that are accessible to the general public (beginners and pros alike). Students are expertly guided through shaping their first board, from template to finish. Proper techniques are learned and executed under the careful watch and guidance of an instructor.
After the lesson, boards are taken to AquaTech Glassing in Marina Del Rey, a classic shop headed by the talented shaper Scott Anderson that includes legendary characters, from Dogtown’s Skip Engblom to former pro-surfer/Venice local Rick Massie, amongst others. Says Florian, “They’ve been super supportive of us since we opened and we look forward to continue working with them.”
In addition to lessons, the shop is fully stocked with all the materials needed to make boards, and it houses two fully equipped shaping bays available for rent. Many ‘Shaping School’ first-timers come back to do their 2nd board on their own. Shapers enjoy the efficiency and professional shaping results they achieve in the bays. Advantages such as the use of all trade tools and the way lighting is set-up are a few of the benefits they provide. A perk known by regulars is that Florian isn’t stingy when it comes to sharing his expertise. If you need a few tips on how to use the tools, don’t be afraid to ask.
Hand shaping offers the ultimate in customization, resulting in a board that suits the individual needs of the surfer crafting it. Building anything by hand involves individual sweat, elbow grease and ultimately, soul. At Shaper Supply, they’ve “learned that there is nothing more rewarding than entering the water with a personally hand-built board.” This is the only shop of its kind in the entire Southern California area. If you’re a surfer that wants to take shaping to the next level, this is the place to do it.
Shaper Supply Co.
3523 S. Centinela Ave
Mar Vista, CA 90066