FCD Surfboards / Patagonia Shaper: Fletcher Chouinard Year started shaping: 1996
What’s your shaping philosophy? We began in 1996 with a goal of making the strongest, lightest, hand-shaped boards possible. Causing no unnecessary harm is our guiding principle, so by default each board minimizes the use of toxic and nonrenewable materials, and we build each board one at a time as if it were our own.
What led you to become a shaper? The creativity of sculpting functional artwork seemed really cool to me. I’ve always enjoyed ceramics, woodworking, blacksmithing, and working with my hands. Plus, I liked the idea of having a quiver at cost.
Who is your biggest shaping influence? I take something valuable away from everything I see, read, or hear. You go stale in a bubble. I started with Steve Walden, helping him around his shop for a high school project. Then when I moved up north for school, I learned from Dave Parmenter for a while until he moved to Hawaii. I’ve gotten tips and pointers here and there from many other shapers like Mickey Munoz, Stan Fuji, Michel Junod, Gerry Lopez, and whomever else I can. Everyone’s methods are vastly different from the next guy and it’s all helpful in some way.
What do others consider your expertise? Quality is our #1. Everything in life is a compromise, but we use the best materials we can find to make the longest lasting/lightest weight/non-toxic boards we can.
What do you consider your expertise? I’d say understanding people’s personal limitations and trying to overcome that for them with a shape that will fit them and improve their surfing.
What are your most popular models? We can’t keep the Fark’s in stock, they’re popular all year. Huevo’s and LB’s are always in the mix, especially this time of year, and Dan Malloy’s model the DM3 continues to be a much sought after model for the experienced surfer.
What is unique about the boards you shape? We’ve been making 100% EPOXY boards since ’97. We’ve been working to make stronger, more environmental boards that don’t compromise performance and stay true to the tradition of shaping and glassing hand-craftsmanship in board building.
How is your shaping influenced by your location? Our local pointbreaks often require a super fast, drivey, down-the-line approach to make sections and not get left in the dust. My boards have always been on the wider/flatter side. Speed is good, if you’re out-running the wave, cut back!