Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
Strive Surfboards Shaper: Jon Henderson
Year started shaping: 1988
What’s your shaping philosophy? A surfboard is not just a shape, so philosophically, I see myself more as a “board builder.” The function of the board is really the sum of surface shape, structure, weight, balance, rigidity, flex, twist and damn it, it has to look cool too.
What led you to become a shaper? I am one of those guys who have always made stuff, since I was a kid. Building surfboards is almost an extension of surfing for me. I truly love the craft.
What do others consider your expertise? People say that I make pretty good serious big wave guns, but I hope my high performance shortboards, fishes, classic longboards, and old-bald-fat-man-slop-slayers are just as well thought-out.
What are your most popular models? The Bully model is for the serious older and/or bigger guy that wants to rip again and feel like a grom. The Skipjack model is for the smaller/younger guy that wants to keep up with the dude on the Bully model. Those two models just have amazing range, I am very proud of those designs. People also dig the Cruzer longboard; who doesn’t love riding a log on a hot glassy day?
What is unique about the boards you shape? My personal level of involvement from start to finish is pretty unique.
How is your shaping influenced by your location? I live in one of the most progressive, historic, quality-driven, competitive pockets of surfboard building on the planet. Santa Cruz has 1 shaper per 2,000 residents. We have every kind of wave you can imagine, and as proud as I am of my Gulf Coast roots, there is nowhere I would be more proud to be a member of the local surfboard building community than right here in Santa Cruz.
What advice would you give to customers to help them get the best board possible? Ride everything you can get your hands on. Trade boards with all your buddies; try demo boards at your surf shop. Ride boards you feel stupid walking down the beach with. Never judge a book by its cover. Learn what really works and doesn’t work for you. And go with what is fun and functional. Guys who force themselves to ride the wrong board always look like total kooks in the water.