Pair offer bed and boards
"Making a surfboard is a beautiful thing."BLANTON SMITH
Carving up the waves on a surfboard you have shaped with your own hands is the idea behind BJ Smith's latest business venture.
Smith, who has been making boards since the early 70s, said the concept had been brewing for a number of years.
"The thought has come as people have said to me 'I'd love to make my own board'."
Smith, who owns Seasons Cheapskates, said handing over the reins to his three children had left him feeling a little "redundant".
"I was left thinking 'what can I do'."
"So I returned to what I've always done, turning my passion for board making into a job again."
While there were plenty of surfers who had turned their hand to shaping boards over the years, Smith said he wasn't aware of anyone offering the opportunity to everyone.
"Initially it was going to be targeted at the international market, but a lot of local guys are interested in having a go too."
The main package would be based on a seven-night stay, where customers spent a day or two shaping their own board and the rest of the time surfing it on the region's best waves, Smith said.
"It will be $2500 for the board, seven night's accommodation and three meals a day," he said.
There would also be options for people just wanting to shape a board or those who had their own gear and just wanted to stay right on the water's edge.
Smith started shaping after high school and said he was keen to share his years of experience with those wanting to make their own hand-crafted board.
"I took a year off before university and started working in a factory. I just loved it and never left."
Shaping is a blend of form and function, part of it is based on physics and is very measured but that is blended with art, Smith said.
"Making a surfboard is a beautiful thing."
Customers have the chance to shape any size board in any style, Smith said.
"It will be their board, their expression. I'll be there to offer advice, but ultimately it will be their project."
They will also have the opportunity to work with renowned shaper and former national champion Jason "Dada" Lellmann.
"They will be able to choose from the old wise guy or the younger ripper," Smith said.
Lellmann said the feel of riding a board you've made with your own hands was unreal.
Board design could be tailored to every individual and what they wanted to achieve on the water, he said.
"When it all comes together you can't beat it."
Surfers were often chasing waves and warm water in the tropics, but Smith said the Taranaki coast offered something a bit different.
"I actually like the green grass and boulders and I don't mind the cold," he said.
"There aren't too many places you can sit in the surf and look up at a snow-covered mountain."
The waves might not have the clear blue water of Tahiti or Indonesia but they are still world class, Smith said.
"I think people forget what we have, sure it's not eight-foot barrels but we have this magical coast."
"Surfing in Taranaki is kind of like the wild west, it's like pioneering, it's that magic ruggedness, that's what we want to share."
- Taranaki Daily News
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