Surfboard shaping is 90 percent hydrodynamics and 10 percent art form, according to surfboard shaper Luke Studer.
Now 31 years of age and living and working in Bali, Luke first learned the techniques of board making when he was just out of school.
“I met my wife here in Indonesia, so four years ago I packed up my tools and moved here. I was making boards at Huntington Beach in California. We moved there after high school and that’s when I started making boards,” says Luke.
The key elements in a good board he says are the “rocker” — the underside curve of a board.
“Different waves need different rockers, just as different surfers need and want differing shaped rockers. Hollower, rounder waves want more rocker and mushy waves need a flatter rocker; the flatter the rocker, the faster the board,” says Luke, explaining how surfboard shaping has the same language as airplane wings.
“It’s hydrodynamics. It’s on par with airplane wings, fins and foils and plane shapes are all the key factors. Art is a small part of the process; you can have a beautiful-looking board that doesn’t function,” says Luke of the surfboard shaping process that takes three days from surfboard blank to wave-ready board.
— Trisha Sertori