Hobie Surf: Colin McPhillips First Day Learning to Shape

“What’s Colin doing here?”

It seemed a throw away question I was asking Byron Kurt and Gary Larson at the Hobie warehouse on a random Wednesday afternoon last week. It’s the kind of question you just toss out, I figured the answer would be something along the lines of’ “picking up a board” “dropping off a board” “meeting with Jeff” ect.. what I didn’t expect was to hear was “He is in the shaping room, doing his first board alone…”

He had expressed a desire to learn how to shape for a long time. I’m not sure how seriously the bosses were taking him. Colin has a unique personality. While the majority of people push, self promote, and scratch with ambition, he quietly lets his accomplishments speak for themselves. You have to pry information about his world longboard titles out of him. He is far more comfortable talking about his family or letting you talk while he listens than to boast about himself. It is somehow easy to overlook something he wants, and put it on the back burner… like the saying goes: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Colin McPhillips does not squeak.

What follows is a photo essay capturing his first solo board. A fun fact, Byron took Colin through the steps at 5:30am that morning. By 11am, Byron figured it was time to leave him alone with a blank and see what he would do. Kind of like tossing a baby bird out of the nest before it’s even half way out of it’s shell and assuming it would fly. Lucky for the blank, Colin is great at flying under pressure.

Colin was part way through the process when Gary Larson and I came in…

Gary’s patience and calm demeanor while teaching are the mark of master craftsmen.

The littlest detail can’t be overlooked.

With thousands of boards under his belt, Gary makes it look so easy.

Again… it’s the smallest details that need to be minded at all times.

First day of school eyes…

This conversation was incredible, “you have looked at more boards than most… make it match them without the glass…” “don’t stop moving..” “don’t stay in one place too long…” Gary teaches with a smile and an ease.

“What do you see..?”

Not bad kid… now finish this one and grab another blank.

Special thanks to Colin and Gary for letting me snap away and document this day.

-Tracey Engelking


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