Walden Surfboards Shaper: Steve Walden
Year started shaping: 1961
What’s your shaping philosophy? I shape surfboards I would like myself, fast, high-performance surfboards that noseride great. After 45 years of shaping, I think that’s what most longboarders want.
What led you to become a shaper? I started shaping because of my absolute love of surfing. I had an independent streak early on, and at 16 I was already sponsored and thought I could make better boards, so I started shaping my own.
Who is your biggest shaping influence? Harris Kawata, a local shaper in Huntington Beach who sadly died just after mentoring me in my shaping.
What do you consider your expertise? Innovation in design, and my willingness to try shapes that are outside the box.
What are your most popular models? For almost 30 years it’s been the Magic Model, but this year it’s been the Mega Magic and the Mega series, which includes the Mini Mega and the CD Mega. These shapes all have the float of a much longer board, but the performance of a shortboard.
What is unique about the boards you shape? My designs are so different they’re patented. The Magic Model is the basis of them all. I like to use innovative materials and try untested designs, which started with the original wing tail in 1972 I experimented with horizontal side fins, I’ve worked with metal stringers, hollow carbon boards the bisect two-part board and more recently the tri fold 3 piece board. Recently I developed the new strato-flex with 5 graduated stringers to isolate the flex to the nose and tail and keep the middle stiffer to maintain speed.
How is your shaping influenced by your location? I'm 5 minutes from C Street in Ventura, so I get to test and perfect my designs right across the street from my shop.
What advice would you give to customers to help them get the best board possible? As a customer, make sure to get a board that is best suited for his or her skills, age, and surrounding surf conditions.
What is the biggest lesson learned in your shaping carrier? I’ve leaned to take chances and be open to change in design, construction, and new ways of doing business. Don’t hold on to nostalgia too tightly, or you might get stuck in the past.