EDITOR’S NOTE: CS Louis has spent the majority of his life serving the God’s of core. He’s decided to pass along some of the wisdom that comes with this territory. And he’s starting at the top: our shapers. (Hopefully you have one). They are the men who mold the loves of our lives. Hear is phase 1 of maintaining a healthy relationship. —Travis
1. Do not call his cell phone, and do not text him. He will not answer. He is shaping a board. He is surfing. He is drunk on box wine at noon in an apartment complex Jacuzzi. He is shitting and looking at pornographic magazines. He is entrenched in court proceedings regarding delinquent alimony payments to his bitch first wife who was apparently more impressed with dating a shaper than marrying one. He is signing for shipments of resin and cloth and slinging dime bags with the delivery boys. He is party to a heated discussion about Chinese knock-off surfboard technology with his distinguished colleagues around the roach coach in the alley. He is blowing foam dust off his upper lip inward. He is busy.
2. Do not waste his time explaining your blown fin plugs from the immense thrust of your rail-grab carve. He’s knows it was a failed chicken-hop anyway. A broken fin is not a trophy, and there is no requisite backstory to repair it. It is a flat tire and it needs air.
3. Do not be offended if he parlays your gifted brews to the glassers. Remember that shapers are a temperamental breed prone to addiction and rampant bouts of born-again Christianity. Try back next week and he’ll be splashing suds on his corn flakes at dawn. It’s part of the twelve-step plan.
4. Do not be specific about dimensions or colors. Buy a board off the rack if you feel the need to corral his artistic expression. Boards are not toys, nor are they precise tools made in a spotless Munich factory. Revel in surprise and trust the man, because you probably don’t know what you should be riding anyways.
5. Do not converse in any unit of measurement you wouldn’t use to describe your penis. This means any unit less than one inch on length, and any unit less than a quarter inch on width and thickness. Be honest with yourself, it is a piece of foam formed with rudimentary woodworking tools by those other than Swiss watchmakers. If you’re speaking in eighths, six-teenths or god forbid thirty-secondths either get a bit fatter or go running for an extended period of time.
6. Do not get mad, frustrated, sarcastic, irate, crass, facetious, cheeky, or even testy. A custom surfboard from a thoughtful shaper is one of the most enjoyable gifts we have left. You’re not at Tilly’s and he’s not a customer service specialist. He may finish two boards for you over his knee in the parking lot and then sick the tweaker glassers on you. — CS Louis
*Check back next week with CS Louis to learn even more tips on staying in good graces with our foam and fiberglass architects.