Working on the floor of any Hobie Surf Shop has built in advantages. An industry leading shop discount for the staff, access to some of the best surfboards on the planet, decades of history to immerse yourself in, events, teams, ect. But, if you are an up and coming shaper looking to hone your craft, there is only one location to start at, Hobie Dana Point. Master surfboard shaper, Gary Larson, has his room right in the store and welcomes people to watch him shape through a large picture window 5 days a week. That is where we all met the humble and wildly likable Michael Arenal.
Growing up in Laguna Hills and surfing SanO, Churches and Middles on the regular, he is instantly recognizable in the water by his tall lanky frame riding with an easy smooth style. With natural artistic abilities, he was accepted to and attended the Laguna College of Art and Design. Shortly after enrolling, he saw an Alaia board at the beach and thought it might be something he could make for himself. The building process for that first board struck the spark for shaping that brought him to Hobie Dana Point. Working on the floor, he would take every chance he got to poke his head into the shaping room and watch as Terry Martin, Tyler Warren and Gary turned foam into fine lined surfboards.
After a year or two on the floor, and asking as many questions of the shapers he could, he started out on his own under the “ARENAL SURFCRAFT” label. Taken under the wing of one of the world’s greatest asymmetrical surfboard shapers, Donny Brink, Michael has grown astronomically as a shaper and artist of the craft over the past few years. At this point he has made everything from handplanes, longboards, fish, shortboards, semi-guns, asymms, and every imaginable custom design you could hope for. “We are excited as a company to welcome him into the shaping room” said Mark Johnson Hobie Shaper and Designer. “I personally can’t wait to see what creations he will come up with under the Hobie label.” “It will be fun to see Michael’s outside perspective as young and upcoming surfer/shaper-I look forward to working with him.”