Despite the temperature of the ocean that surrounds the Pacific Northwest, Vancouverites cannot resist the chance to jump in. From paddle boarding to windsurfing and surfing, we take pleasure in watching our extremities turn blue. The ocean affords you a unique perspective of the city that few get to experience.
Which is where Shaper Studios comes in.
Both Mitch and Nate, owners of Shaper Studios Vancouver, learned to surf abroad - Mitch first jumped on a board 15 years ago during a trip to Australia, and then chased the waves in Costa Rica and New England during hurricane season. Nate comes from Hawaii, so chances are he learned to surf before he could walk. They started to teach themselves how to make their own surfboards out of a garage on King Edward Avenue, using YouTube videos and trial and error to create something that was both functional and beautiful. From that process, Learning Curves was established in 2013, providing the tools, materials and knowledge to teach everyone and anyone how to make their own boards.
Learning Curves moved out of the garage and into a more permanent location about a year ago, and have since started a collaboration with Shaper Studios, the world's first public surfboard workshop. Located on the second floor of an unassuming building on Main Street, Shaper Studios Vancouver feels like your best friend's living room. People seem to gravitate to the shop by the unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere (or maybe by Postmark Brewery's beer, which is on tap here).
Depending on your surf knowledge, Mitch and Nate patiently walk you step by step through the process of shaping your own board, starting with a large piece of foam and a template, which you choose based on your desired length and shape. The cost of the process varies by the length of your board, but is roughly the same as purchasing a factory-made one at a surf shop. The process can take anywhere from two weeks to four months, depending on your dedication. At the end, you have a surf board that you designed and created, and is 100% seaworthy.
And if you're reading this from Montréal, you're in luck. Mitch is starting a coffee shop and Shaper Studio out there this summer.
A: Studio A2, 1888 Main Street | T: 604-783-5598 | W: www.shaperstudiosvancouver.com
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 6pm - 10pm | Saturday - Sunday 12pm - 6pm