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Surfboard Artisans For the Love

In 2013, Tom took a break from making surfboards to attend the University of the Sunshine Coast and write a PhD on the sustainability of the surfboard industry.  He found that the amazing resiliency of the surfboard industry has come from its unique culture which has been passed down from generation to generation. 

Tom has turned his PhD thesis into a book, “Surfboard Artisans For the Love,” which is available here. Since finishing his thesis, Tom has returned to making surfboards.

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In 2013, Tom took a break from making surfboards to attend the University of the Sunshine Coast and write a PhD on the sustainability of the surfboard industry.  He found that the amazing resiliency of the surfboard industry has come from its unique culture which has been passed down from generation to generation. 

Tom has turned his PhD thesis into a book, “Surfboard Artisans For the Love,” which is available here. Since finishing his thesis, Tom has returned to making surfboards.

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Always sketching
Just in from a surf
Shaper of the Year 2009
Craftsmen's hands
Tom begins a new Alaia

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Tom Wegener is arguably the most cutting edge shaper in the world. 

He started the alaia revolution in 2005 and was named Surfboard Shaper of the Year in 2009 for this.  Then he took the dynamics of the alaia and applied them to modern materials and designed the Seaglass Project Tuna and Albacore boards made by Global Surf Industries and retailed to surfers all around the world. In 2016, Tom developed a way to incorporate flex through paulownia and cork woods into his finless boards to create the next level of finless surfing.

Tom was a key inspiration for the wood board movement.  In 2001 he discovered that paulownia is the best wood for surfboards because of its highly unusual property of not sucking up salt water.  In 2003 Tom stopped making foam surfboards and turned only to paulownia wood and made over 300 hollow wood finned surfboards.  (Also, the alaia revolution was possible because Tom’s work with paulownia).  Tom is most proud of his green factory which has no toxic chemicals and almost no waste. In 2011, Tom was awarded the Sunshine Coast “Smart Business Award” for his environmentally friendly factory.

In 2013, Tom took a break from making surfboards to attend the University of the Sunshine Coast and write a PhD on the sustainability of the surfboard industry.  He found that the amazing resiliency of the surfboard industry has come from its unique culture which has been passed down from generation to generation.  Tom has turned his PhD thesis into a book, “Surfboard Artisans For the Love,” which is available through this website. Since finishing his thesis, Tom has returned to making surfboards.

Tom started shaping surfboards in 1979 and his brother Jon took up the planer a few years later.  Working together Tom and Jon have developed many surfboards and are still working together.  Jon is in Encinitas, California while Tom moved to Noosa Heads, Australia in 1998.

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Tom's Blog

02 Feb

Shaping Classes: Learn to make a Corky

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        Shaping Classes: Learn to make a Corky

   

In my book, Surfboard Artisans For The Love, I discuss the importance of inspired surfers making their own surfboard.  It is what keeps the surfboard industry vibrant and what keeps the entire industry alive in Australia and around the world.  It perpetuates our culture and influences our identity.  All of the surfboards we ride were designed by imaginative surfers looking for a better ride.  I love Simon Anderson’s story of the development of the thruster, Mark Richards with the twin fin and Tom Blake with the hollow plywood board.  They all come from a place of inspiration and a love of surfing. 
It's due to these values, this tradition and my excitement for the Corky contstruction that I have decided teaching how to make Corkies will further surfing evolution, and that I would like to invite people to my factory to learn how to make their own Corky.

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22 Jan

Positive feedback from my book Surfboard Artisans For The Love

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Above: I am presenting a talk on the book at the Patagonia Shop in Encinitas, California and below I am reading at the book Launch at Annie's Books in Perigian Beach, Queensland.  The events were well atteneded and a lively surfboard industry followed.

 

 

Surfboard Artisans For The Love has been out for three months and I have enjoyed a heartfelt sense of accomplishment from the feedback I have received.  Most of the comments are about the big themes presented in the book which suggest the book is making an impact. Almost nobody has mentioned my long and somewhat goofy life stories which act as the foundations for the bigger issues.  Instead, they comment that they enjoyed being taken into a deeper level of surfing and feeling the real issues and lives of surfboard artisans.

The first feedback came from a top Australian scientist in the fields of cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology.  He related to my issues with the concept of “selling out”.  He wrote:

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