Jon Wegener on Past, Present, and Future of Surfboards

"During Captain Cook's journeys, they had people on the boat drawing pictures of when they came to Hawaii. Their pictures show people surfing, standing up, and riding waves on their bellies, which is proof that they were surfing in the 1700s. The pictures show that the beach was full of people surfing; men, women, kids were all together riding waves. So when the first Westerners came there, surfing was full on – to think about that is amazing.

Looking back at all of these ancient surfboards [alaia, paipo, etc.] it's easy to think that old times were kind of barbaric, but then you realize how well the things work. What's funny is that people thought foam boards were the greatest thing, but coming back and reworking some of these ancient designs out of wood you find, oh man, we have more fun on this seemingly simple piece of wood than a lot of the foam boards.

Alaia-inspired finless surfboard, 2009. Shaped by Jon Wegener. Paulownia. Part of Surf Craft Exhibit. 

Alaia-inspired finless surfboard, 2009. Shaped by Jon Wegener. Paulownia. Part of Surf Craft Exhibit. 

Surfing is growing like never before – China, Brazil coming up with new world champions, India – theres all this stuff happening. I don't think we've seen anything yet. We're probably not going to be the next innovators, it's going to be these people who are new to surfing who don't know the history, and they're gonna be like, let's do this, and everybody is gonna go, why didn't we think of that? It's gonna be great. Hopefully everybody won't go to the same old products that we've always used, and with some new designs there will be some new concepts."

This quote is taken from the Shape Heroes Forum at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on July 16, 2016. The Shape Heroes Forum was an event in conjunction with the Surf Craft Exhibit. Panelists included: Danny Hess, William "Stretch" Reidel, Griffin Stepanek, Joh Wegener, and Dave Parmenter. Moderated by Christian Beamish.

Jon Wegener Surfboards

Dave Pamenter on Backyard Shapers

"No design innovation has ever come from a big manufacturer or a big label. It's always come from the backyard or surfer-shapers like like Simon Anderson, Wayne Lynch, Mark Richards, Phil Edwards, Hobie Alter.

It's gonna be good because it always comes from surfers wanting to use a different part of a wave or a wave that no one else sees, and build boards to it. It's not like somebody is going to come up with a design and then you're going to figure out a new type of surfing to go with it. It's always driven by someone's far-seeing vision, like Laird Hamilton with the hydrofoil. Some of these new paipo or alaia boards. There are new ways of surfing, but it always comes from the desire to surf differently and not just have different boards for their own sake."

This quote is taken from the Shape Heroes Forum at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on July 16, 2016. The Shape Heroes Forum was an event in conjunction with the Surf Craft Exhibit. Panelists included: Danny Hess, William "Stretch" Reidel, Griffin Stepanek, Joh Wegener, and Dave Parmenter. Moderated by Christian Beamish.

Stretch on Aerodynamics of Surfing Jaws

"When you're surfing Jaws, let's say you're moving at about 35mph, sometimes faster. The wave is moving towards the beach, which slightly increases your speed. So you're probably moving through the ambient air at 45. And the wind is blowing 30. You're moving through the air at 70mph. That's a lotta wind. Water is a thousand times more dense [than air]. [The surfboard] moves through the air much easier than it moves through the water, so get it up outa the water. Not too high though, cause then aerodynamics is gonna take affect."

"How do you shape for those conditions?" (Christian Beamish)

"These are people's lives. If you're shaping one of these boards for big Jaws, it's that guy's life. You have to think of everything. Take everything into consideration. And cross all your T's and dot all your I's."

This quote is taken from the Shape Heroes Forum at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on July 16, 2016. The Shape Heroes Forum was an event in conjunction with the Surf Craft Exhibit. Panelists included: Danny Hess, William "Stretch" Reidel, Griffin Stepanek, Joh Wegener, and Dave Parmenter. Moderated by Christian Beamish.