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My Journey

Nick Blair - Joistik Surfboards

  • International surfing/shaping experience in all types of breaks and conditions
  • Reared on the planer: 23 years of hand-shaping and proven experience with top shaping machines & software, 16 000+ boards shaped
  • Grew up surfing the point breaks of South Africa. Began shaping in Durban before shaping for 5 years in Europe.
  • In 2005 I immigrated to Australia and founded Joistik Surfboards. I live with my wife and children in Freshwater on the Northern Beaches in Sydney.
  • Mentored by internationally acclaimed shapers.
  • Success shaping for all levels from beginner to pro.
  • Total versatility, shaping all high-performance, small wave, gun, tow, mal & retro/classic surfboards, from 5′- 12′.
  • Designs continually test-ridden & refined. 100% Surfer/Shaper

 

“I first picked up a planer when I was 15, and have been shaping under my own labels since (23 years in total). I still remember my first board clearly (R.I.P.) and the stoke of riding it for the first time. It was glassed by Ian Wright, now the owner of Aftermath surfboards in California (originally with Spyder Surfboards, California). He offered me a few tips and the next stick was definitely an improvement!

 

This was at the beginning of Rip Curl’s “the search” philosophy. Watching Tom Curren and a local surfer Frankie Oberholzer shred on their Peter Daniels shooters was an incredible stoke for me. Peter’s boards became the yardstick which I compared all my shapes to. Once I left school, I began getting all my boards glassed at his factory by glass maestro Cyrill Budd and a good relationship developed. They then went on to manufacture boards primarily out of the PUKAS factory in Spain. It was there that I met Jeff Johnston (ex T & C Surfboards Hawaii) whilst ghost shaping for Peter. He also proved to be a great help, inspiration and mentor to my shaping and I remain grateful for all his help. He introduced me to Nigel Semmens and Chris Diplock when I moved to the UK and it was here I not only further developed my hand-planing skills, but also learnt a lot more about the design and shaping of high performance and traditional Longboards and Retro shapes. Early in my career though, I gained tips and guidance from others such as Errol Hickman, Graham Smith and Derek Girvin.

 

The late Peter Daniels was however, my main source of inspiration during the bulk of my development and my all -time favourite shaper. He has also passed on the most information, skill and tutelage out of all. It’s fascinating to consider the family tree: Peter was tutored in the late 60’s to mid 70’s by Max Wetteland, Gordon Merchant, the late Mike Diffenderfer, Gerry Lopez and Dick Brewer. It was humbling to have him give me his time and I’m honoured to have learnt from him what I did.

 

I have been fortunate to travel and surf numerous locations and have had excellent customer satisfaction on my boards in all conditions, from dredging beach break tubes, long points, sloppy mush and tropical reefs. I have shaped for beginners, WQS hopefuls and WCT surfers, blessed with great feedback throughout. Shaping a board is fairly simple, but customising a shape for each individual, is far more challenging and rewarding when the results come in. It’s a continuous (and highly enjoyable) learning curve. While shaping, I try to maximise speed and manoeuvrability with drive and flow and concentrate mainly on my templates, rocker lines and rails: the basics are always the most essential ingredients. I love experimenting with shapes and riding them. Although I occasionally surf contests, free-surfing is my main inspiration, and I am my most critical judge of my shapes, whilst pushing them as much as I can. My favourite surf spots are for the most part situated on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, just a short journey up from Durban, South Africa. Some of the most beautiful and incredible waves and beaches, in warm water and weather- paradise!

 

During my career I’ve been blessed with some great opportunities. Contract shaping in Mauritius at some insane reef breaks, finish shaping at PUKAS in Spain under Peter Daniels, meeting and hanging out with the shapers above and meeting others such as Mickey Munoz, Max Wetteland, Gary Linden, Eric Arakawa, Pat Rawson, Randy Rarick – some of the many who have pushed our sport to the limits and continue to do so. Working at several WCT and WQS events, spending 3 seasons so far on the North Shore and judging Pro Junior events in Australia, has also given me further unique insight into the technicalities and nuances of the highly specialised high performance surfboard. This further knowledge and understanding translates into a better board, every time.

 

I continue to derive great pleasure from my surfboard designing and shaping an am of course ever grateful and indebted to all the shapers who have, and who will continue to, guide and inspire me. My fortune is in my ability and the opportunity to do what I love.”