So these are the official figures as of twenty seconds ago. Tomo is the biggest selling surfboard shaper at the moment. If you take out the pop outs, foamies etc, Daniel Thompson shapes are currently the most successful in the whole world. We thought we would feature this chat between the former Shred Nation boss and Danny. There are some very cool moments when he alludes to where the ideas came from for the Vanguard. A dip of the hat to Steve Lis and Bob Simmons, you have the watch for it, but they are there.
There are some other interesting things about this video. Shred Nation was bought out by Firewire, so the interviewer here works for Slater Designs or Firewire, not sure which one. Daniel Thompson also has had certain shapes purchased by Firewire or Slater Designs. So this is kind of like someone interviewing themselves, even though it hardly looks like that.
Before Firewire/Slater Designs purchased his shapes or brand, Tomo was a designer, a thinker and a pioneer, that much seems true. He was perhaps someone who has discovered things that other shapers have not, by thinking outside the box. Perhaps he will go down in the halls of fame, up there with Rich Pavel, Steve Lis and Skip Frye, with Bob Simmons, Dick Brewer or Bob McTavish or perhaps not. History has a funny way of treating people. The question I would like to ask is this. At what point does a shaper stop becoming a local shaper?
We at Surf Bunker always attempt to steer people towards getting a board locally, or at least in person from a shaper who makes the boards him or herself. But at some point if that shaper is really good or just follows his/her (there are some great female shapers) natural course or trajectory he/she will become international, he/she will have to employ people, glassers, maybe start using CNC machines to keep up with orders. Maybe he/she will start making stock boards for shops and that (for us) is when the whole thing unravels. But why?
We don't begrudge people being successful, but we do value surfboards made or finished by hand by the shaper whose boards you order, and there should be a conversation at least. So to recap, Tomo as an innovator or shaper thumbs up, Tomo's decision to partner with Firewire and be everywhere hmmmmm. Let's just say the jury is out. To be continued...