Surfer Labor has always been an ambiguous term. Most people think of Surfer Labor in the traditional sense, those craftsmen that shape and build the surfboards we ride. Surfing is unique in that our equipment is all handmade by our fellow surfers within the surf community. There is a good chance that the guy who sands your surfboards surfs where you surf and his kids go to school with your kids.
Our culture’s shapers, glassers, sanders, fin guys, polishers and even the clean up kid are the heart and soul of surfing. These people love surfing and surfboards so much they’ve committed their entire existence to the craft, even if it means perpetually living in near poverty and squeezing another thousand miles out of the bald tires on their crusty surf vehicle. Some surfboard builders are eccentric, but most quite grounded. All of them are fully immersed in surfing 24/7. These aren’t fair weathered surfers, these are the guys who are out surfing when it’s cold and drizzy with wind on it before heading out to the factory. And these are the guys you see sitting deep, picking off the mysto perfect ones on the epic days.
Surfer Labor isn’t only about the craftsman that make surfboards, it’s also those of you who bend your professions and careers around surfing and your tenacity just to get to the beach. If you own your own business so that you can make wiggle room for an extended morning session you are Surfer Labor. If you’re working a full-time gig to support you family and save up your sick days just so you can snag a few waves then you are Surfer Labor. If you’ve moved inland and spend your lunch time daydreaming about your two weeks a year that you and your buddies breakout and go to Bali then you are Surfer Labor. If you are in school and working nights at a pizza place and you use your first student loan check to buy a new surfboard then you are Surfer Labor. If all you get is weekends with your wife and newborn kid and the occasional chance to slide a few, than you are Surfer Labor. How about that mother of two who works full-time and gets in a sesh in between dropping the kids off at school and getting to work.
Some people make time to watch a sitcom or golf or go to the outlet mall. Surfer Labor makes time to hang at the beach and go surf.
Many of us remember being surf stoked groms that lived at the beach. What a great way to grow up. If you hang out in a surf shop, or at your favorite break for more than 5 minutes you’ll meet every type of surfer on the planet. We got the 48 year old guy who’s always wanted to surf his whole life and moves to the beach to chase that dream. Yeah, that guy is a danger in the water, but real Surfer Labor will set him right and teach him the rules.
If you want to know who Surfer Labor is, go to a spot on a small day and watch a father push his kid into their first wave. The stoke is contagious and invariably everyone in the line up will be full of hoots and shakas. The dad will be full of pride, the kid will have the never ending smile and stoke of that first wave we reflect on our own first wave, be it 50 years ago or yesterday.
That’s Surfer Labor to us, people doing what they can with what they got, just to get a few waves.
|John Smith started shaping surfboards in the 60's, founded the leash and board bag company Destination Surf and currently runs Baja RV tours. He is old school Surfer Labor.|
|Tim Orr in Hawaii makes new surfboards and collects old surfboards. He lives to surf. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Aaron Smith owns Destination Surf and now works for Patagonia. He lives to surf and free dive after large fish. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Bobby Donnelly lost his leg in the Iraq War. Despite this he continues to surf. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Chris Christenson shapes surfboards for some of the best surfers in the world. He loves old cars and motorcycles too. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Dale Webster is the most dedicated surfer on the planet. He has surfed EVERY SINGLE DAY for over 35 years while working as a janitor at the local high school. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Dylan Jones charges big waves and works as a LA county lifeguard. He is a true waterman and has saved many lives. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Hector works the night shift at the airport and collects vintage surfboards. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Kevin Cummins is a scientist and is active in local politics and a taxpayer watchdog. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Mark Donnelon works the night shift glossing and polishing surfboards so he can surf all day. He is classic Surfer Labor.|
|Gary Stuber has been glassing surfboards since the 60's and is one of the best noseriders you will ever see. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Rex Copeman shapes his own surfboards, restores classic cars and owns a start-up upholstery business that is taking off. Rex and his twin brother Royce, a fire fighter, are both Surfer Labor.|
|Summer Nelson ran away from home to work on an organic farm in Costa Rica so she could surf everyday. After a recent stint as a surf shop manager she now works for the International Surfing Association. Summer is Surfer Labor.|
|Bill Reynolds is a hardcore surfer, family man and school teacher. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Elliot moved from the east coast to California to help make surfboards and surf everyday. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Peter St Pierre pinlines surfboards and possesses a deep knowledge of all things surf. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Brandon used to be a surfboard factory clean-up guy, now he works for UPS. He is Surfer Labor.|
|Tim Elsner put on a suit and a tie everyday so he could retire early to live in Baja and surf his brains out. Tim is Surfer Labor.|
|Grant Thomas is a student and works at a coffee shop and a surf shop. He lives to surf. Grant is Surfer Labor.|