Shaping surfboards is an art and there’s certainly some romanticism connected to it. You know: Creating something out of nothing, living close to the sea, hanging out with the surfers and being one, providing the base for awesome surf: Great surfboards in a variety of shapes, each made for a certain type of wave.. But the other side of it are usually toxic materials, toxic liquids, bad air in the workshop, white powder that comes from sanding the boards into the final shape all over your skin, slowly diffusing those chemicals into your organism.
Stefan from Kun_tiqi Surfboards is a shaper, he is a surfer and though born thousands of miles from the sea, he now lives close to some of the most beautiful beaches in Cantabria, Spain. Entering his workshop feels different. It mostly smells like wood – even though he admits: “I repair lots of conventional surf boards so I have the usual repertoire of chemicals. My workshop does stink sometimes too, but I hope it gets less as more and more people surf wood instead.”
His own label – Kun_tiqi Surfboards – wants to provoke a different thinking. In the old days of surfing surf boards were made of wood. They were heavy, huge and could never provide the performance of modern surfboards. Then came a revolutionary time for surfboard shaping and connected to it a different style of surfing: The aera of boards made of polyurethane or polystyrene foam covered with layers of fiberglass, cloth and polyester orepoxy resin, made for more radical turns, shorter and lighter boards arrived on the stage.
Stefan wants to prove that a step back can mean a step forward too – just in a different direction. His boards are made of wood, balsa wood in that case, but constructed in a hollow structure which provides more stability than foam boards while maintaining the same performance, weight and feel in the water. The only difference: “Surfers who started riding my boards were surprised by how much they float in comparison to regular boards. In terms of maneuverability and speed they are the same though.”
“We now offer different shapes – ranging from a 9” performance longboard, over noseriders, evolution boards, retro single fins, fish boards down to shortboards everything – each made for performance while lasting longer than conventional boards. Not a single customer managed to snap a balsa board yet – they are built to last and perform…”
If he’s not in the workshop caring glassing his balsa boards he’s surfing the area around Santander – often using his bike to get there. “Cantabria is a beautiful area. It’s still relatively free from crowds, people are relaxed here. And slowly people start to be more conscious about their environment too – they start to realize that if it stays that way we have a little paradise here at the north coast of Spain.”