Shapers Academy surfboard design lessons

Design your own surfboard online

Welcome to shapers academy surfboard design training program

Welcome to a revolution in surfboard design and building!

Surfboard Design Lessons

We'd like to begin by telling a story about why, we as a surfboard builder, would want to begin teaching other surfers how to easily design and build their own surfboards. 

When we first began talking about this idea with some of our close friends and clients who order custom surfboards from us, they all kind of had a really puzzled look on their faces. We could immediately see that they all wondered "Why would a custom surfboard builder want to teach their customers the secrets of building surfboards" ?????

Well the answer to that question will be revealed as we go through the story below. Please read this story about what has happened within the surfboard industry over the past few years. 

Around 10 - 15 years ago (early 2000's) the biggest surfboard companies in the world, of which there are really only a couple major big time brands that do business on an international scale, began seeking ways to increase revenue on their surfboards in order to attract large investors and increase the perceived value of their boards. As this information gathering time was taking place, we as a surfboard company did not yet exist in the fashion we do today. 

At this same time the US surfboard industry was doing pretty well, by surfboard industry standards. Lots of new surfers where discovering the joy of riding waves which meant new revenue for major surfboard brands as well as new customers for local shapers and surfboard glassing factories around the beach communities. Things where good, or about as good as they can get within the surfboard building community. 

Any local shaper that was worth his salt, could supplement his slow times in shaping boards for his local riders by working with the big brands to "Scrub" out the cut surfboard blanks that come off the CNC machines that where now doing the majority of the surfboard shaping in the US. The big brands would pay around $20 per srubbed board, so a good shaper could scrub 10 cut surfboards per day and make a living which is a really cool thing when its possible for big companies to continue to funnel revenue into the local markets they depend on for their sales

At this same time, any local glass shop around the beach communities that could keep up with demand, and could turn out flawless glass jobs, could easily get a contract with any of the big surfboard brands and count on 50 - 100 boards per week to manufacture. These where the bread and butter contracts of the surfboard industry and many surfers where able to have steady consistent work doing what they love, building boards and surfing, again, times where good by surfboard industry standards. 

For many years this was how the US surfboard industry as well as much of the worldwide surfboard industry operated. Board orders came in to the larger surfboard brands through either custom orders or bulk batches from the surf shops. The large brands would keep the local shapers and glassers in business by funneling down massive orders that they needed to help keep their shop accounts stocked with the latest designs and their custom order feed flowing. These big orders would normally be sent to the local glass shop that was near the surf shops where the boards would be distributed to for sale, because this was the best way to connect with locals to show that even though the brands had grown beyond just servicing one local community, they where still employing local board builders to create their product. This is why you often see glassing factory logos on the tail of the off the rack surfboards in your local shop. But as you may have noticed in the past few years, those glassing factory logos that tell you where your board was glassed or built have all but been replaced by a simple "made in thailand" stamp that is very small and placed on the rail often times. 

Newer crops of surfers are discovering the joy of wave riding and are looking to purchase their first surfboard and most of them look to their local surf shop for guidance and selection of a board or boards. This is much the opposite of how surfboards came to be in the early stages. There used to be somewhat of a stigma for buying boards from shops and not going directly to a local board builder, personally I never really understood what the big deal about this was, because after all, the boards in your local shop where built, most likely, by a local shaper and glasser. If those boards you see in your local shop where not built by a local shaper and glasser, you could at least count on the fact that those boards where most likely built in your state, most likely maybe just a county or two away. Now there are just a handfull of glassing factories in each state that are able to stay in business. 

Some companies now inscribe "Designed in the USA, Built in Thailand" to try and combat the stigma that comes along with building products abroad and shipping them in for increased profit margins. This strategy, for the most part has worked. 

So why does all this matter to you, to us, to the surfboard building industry as whole? Well there are several reasons why this matters. I'd like to touch on a few points below. 

1) A decent surfboard glasser could earn around Forty to Fifty thousand dollars per year laminating surfboards for a living. So for instance a glasser could earn close to $1000 USD per week glassing surfboards here in the US. Because of the outsourcing of production surfboard labor to places like thailand, most US glassers have been put out of business in place of a daily wage of about $10.00 which is the min wage in thailand. Break that down per hour,  and now we've got thai people being paid $1.25 an hour to build surfboards.

2) Yes, I agree that brands and companies need to be able to grow, but we must ask ourselves, at what cost? 

While the large surfboard brands continue to seek ways to drive up the cost of boards, drive down the cost of materials and labor, we have seen one constant, and that is the destruction of the US surfboard labor industry. 

3) Over that past several years along with the outsourcing of labor, we've seen all major brands go 1 of two ways after outsourcing surfboard  board production to thailand or other 3rd world countries. 

They have either continued on their quest to drive up the cost of boards while driving down the cost of labor and materials or they simply flood the local shops with super cheap epoxy boards that no local shaper, glasser or board building facility can compete with. 




There is hope!

You as a surfer, have a choice when it comes to your surfboards. 

Yes you can continue to buys surfboards from local shops that are built over sea's , these boards work great and will serve the purpose intended if you seek to simply ride waves and are not opposed to paying premiums and contributing to breaking down the US surfboard building industry. 


You can take action and learn to build your own boards with the same exact software programs the big brands use to dial-in and fine tune their surfboards models for their production surfboards and their pro riders. 

What are the advantages of learning to design your own surfboards?

1) learning to use surfboard design software through our surfboard shaping program will allow you to easily design, order and have built and surfboard you want, right from your laptop, in the comfort of your home or wherever you decide to work from. 

2) By using this program and learning to design your own surfboards, you'll be able to order your blank from a local supplier, pay a local CNC machine to cut your surfboard file, employ a local shaper to scrub out your blank (or you can learn this yourself) and you can employ a local glassing factory to glass your surfboard for you ( or you can learn this yourself as well, but it gets a little sticky at times) 

Imagine being able to design any surfboard you want and have it all built locally helping to employ and revitalize an industry that has been crippled with cheap over seas labor and material costs. 

Now image being able to do all of the above, for about 50% of the cost of a standard priced board that you see in your local surf shop! 

Yes thats right! 

With some simple learning of our surfboard shaping program, which we teach in person at our factory. You'll be able to design and have built any surfboard you want for about half the cost of what you would pay at a local surfboard shop, it could even be less than half the cost!!!!!

By Attending our Surfboard Design Class you'll be able to learn the techniques needed to become your own shaper! 

You'll be able to sit down and make tweaks to your boards, add in channel bottoms, different tails, different rockers and concave combinations and so much more! 

The possibilities are endless with our surfboard design program! 

Not only can you design and have built any style of surfboard you can think but you can also build variations of your friends boards! 

Lets say for instance your buddy has the newest channel bottom, swallow tailed asymmetrical surfboard from a high priced over seas made surfboard brand. You want that model, boom done! 

By learning basic surfboard design techniques you can easily design any style of board you want. 

And the very best part of this (well aside form being able to design and build any board you want at half the cost of most off the rack boards) is that you'll be participating in and directly helping to rebuild the US surf labor market, a place where some of the best shapers in the world have come from, but somehow seem to have lost their passion along the way. 

Lets help to bring back the passion and fuel to the US surfboard labor market. 

Sign up for our surfboard design and shaping class and you'll be glad you did! 

Our class is a one day program at our factory in which you will learn the basics needed to begin designing your own custom built surfboards. We spend lots of time on each step in the design process and lots of time for questions that arise along the way. 

Our main goal is for each student to leave the class with the knowledge and confidence needed  to be able to design and have built any surfboard they want!

After the surfboard design lesson is over:

You'll have access to our community forums to connect and network with other designers, share tips, ask for help, watch tutorial videos, find reputable shapers and glassers and sanders and much more!

We will offer free file design reviews for newer students that need a seasoned professional to review their files and provide feedback on their design. This will ensure that your first few designs are sent to the CNC machine without any major issues that would affect the final surfboards performance or aesthetic. 

We will be able to put you in contact with reputable surfboard shapers that can help you to shape out or "scrub" your cut surfboard blank (you'll learn about this process in our surfboard design lesson) 

We will also be offering this service in-house at our factory!

We will put you in contact with reputable glassing factories nearest you that can glass your surfboard and have it sanded professionally by one of their in-house surfboard sanders. 

Everything you need to know, about how to design and build your own boards will be available to you. 

Sign up now by clicking the link below!

Surfboard Design Lessons



  • I never had any desire to shape or build my own surfboards. I am now 100% committed to learning this design program and having all my surfboards built here in the USA. Bring on the surfboard shaping lessons!

    Devin A.
  • This is really cool. I’ve seen this is the way surf boards are designed now. I can’t wait to learn!

    Mark Nesmith
  • What a brilliant idea for surfboard shaping lessons! Can’t wait to do this class!

    Shane P.
  • I would definitely attend this class!!

  • Love it…. will definitely be attending one at some point…

    Aaron shober

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