Uhuru Shaper: John Reinhard
Year started shaping: 2003
What’s your shaping philosophy? There is no one-size-fits-all board, and I believe strongly in the custom surfboard. To a pro surfer this could mean the perfect balance of curves, foam, and fabric to help them increase drive and boost. To the everyday surfer, it could mean a board design that helps them catch more waves at their local break or drop into a nice set wave on their next surf trip. In both cases I strive to meet the requirements of the rider and then take it up a notch to really ensure that the board is personalized and a reflection of the owner.
What led you to become a shaper? I imagine all shapers have a similar experience; we all have a lifelong passion for surfing and the ocean. That passion leads us to investigate the art and science of surfboard building. In my case it was a challenge that I took upon myself to learn the craft. I scratched out my first board in the garage in a rigged up shaping bay. Everything in preparation of and through the design, shaping, glassing, and sanding process of that first board was an unforgettable experience. After catching that first wave on my creation, I was sure that this was what I was meant to do with my life. Tons of blood, sweat, and tears later, I still carry that stoke toward board building and have no intention of turning back.
Who is your biggest shaping influence? I wish I could call out a mentor here but I did not really come into the shaping world under the wing of anyone. I put my mind to it, studied hard, and figured it out. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when your heart and soul are guiding you.
What do you consider your expertise? Well-imagined boards achieved through solid designs and creative thinking. I look at a board as an entire package of shape, materials, and artistic design and I’m not afraid to push the limits on any of those elements. My expertise lies in my ability to collaborate with my customers on the surfboard design process and foster their ideas all the way from inception to their first paddle-out.
What’s the biggest lesson learned in your career?
You got to do this for the love and not the money. Take great pride in your work and people will take notice. Having someone enjoy your work, that is the reward.