Living the dream surfside
Finding your niche in life is not easy and it's not something everyone gets right, but former Marlburian Blaise Taylor has - as a custom surfboard shaper in Australia.
The surf-mad former Marlborough Boys' College student was in Blenheim last week for the birth of his nephew, and while it was good to visit his old home he couldn't wait to get back to the waves in Australia.
"It's just a totally full-on surf culture over there - it gets pretty crowded but luckily I have flexi hours so I surf around the middle of the morning, but never on the weekends because there are just too many people," Blaise says.
He picked up his trade as a surfboard shaper four years ago after meeting up with friend Sam Parsons in Australia, who showed him the ropes. He has since gone on to develop his own surfboard brand called BDS, which he shapes along with factory orders at Parsons' workshop near Burleigh Heads.
Coming from a background as a renderer by trade means that working with his hands is nothing new and Blaise thinks it even helped him with his surfboard shaping, and he taps out about 10 boards a week.
"It's obviously way better than rendering. It's great to be able to make something that makes people happy, and making surfboards makes me happy - I'm really lucky to be living the dream," he says.
His boards are popular among Marlborough surfers too, with regular orders from his old friends and from acquaintances of those who have heard about the Kiwi surfboard shaper in Australia. Marlborough isn't known as a surfing mecca but a small group of devoted board riders keep things going.
Blaise also spent seven years in Australia as a young child when his family lived there, with his father Lou once a dedicated surfer.
"I was also really into swimming - I've basically been around and in the water my whole life," Blaise says. This, says his mum Andrea Watchman, despite a near drowning incident in a pool as a toddler.
It had been six years since Blaise had last been back to his family home in Blenheim, and despite only having nine days to visit, he still found a bit of time to go for a surf. "There is surf around here if you know where to look and are keen enough."
He headed back to the wave-rich and warm waters of the Gold Coast last week.
- The Marlborough Express