Nick and I don't claim to be stand out surfers - shit we don't
even compete - we just love surfing, and have done for as long as
we can remember. So if you're looking to get a surfboard from a
big name surfer, you've come to the wrong place. But if you're after
a surfboard custom built by someone with a big reputation amongst
other leading shapers, then read on. Here is some background on
us so that you know a bit about who's behind this site.
As you can see by the photos, we have both been into surfing since
we were little tackers. Our father owned the first fibreglass surfboard
ever built in Tasmania (in about 1960). It was made by one of our
surfing pioneers, John Pool, who built it following instructions
in a Popular Mechanics magazine. Nick and I learnt to surf on it
and became addicted to 'the glide' before we even started school
- which didn't help our education prospects much.
These days we both swap between Longboards and Shortboards, depending
on the conditions.
I dropped out of school at 17 to meet up with a couple of mates
doing the VW Combi Van trip around mainland Australia. We were chasing
those waves we'd seen in Morning of the Earth and all the other
classic surfing films that used to screen in small theatres and
halls around the country. I spent the best part of three years on
the road between Cactus and Noosa before coming back to the island
Nick was a bit younger than me (still is) and after I left for
the mainland he dropped out of school to concentrate on surfing
and making surfboards; something he had been doing for his mates
since he was 13. Soon after I came back to Tasmania he left. But
he wasn't just chasing the surf, he wanted to make surfboards for
He refined his craft working with people like Peter Troy at Platt's
in Noosa and with Kym Thompson, Maurice Cole and Greg Brown at Watercooled
in Torquay. In 1982 Nick and Maurice Cole travelled to France together
and established a surfboard factory in Hossegor. After travelling
and surfing in Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, he was enticed back
to Tasmania by a surf shop that offered him a factory of his own
to produce Island Energy surfboards and sailboards. Nick has been
out on his own since 1990. Today his skill as a master craftsman
is recognised internationally, with a growing number of surfers
around the world choosing to have Nick shape their boards.
Nick shapes all his boards by hand and uses only the very best
materials. No seconds blanks; no cheap cloth or resin; no kids coming
in after school to finish off profiles or glassing boards. In other
words, no compromising strength or quality to cut costs.
When Californian, Gary Linden, was looking for someone to produce
his boards in Australia he chose Nick. This is a quote from Gary
in Free Surf magazine "I didn't want a large factory that could
churn out big numbers of cloned boards, I wanted someone with the
skills to adapt my designs to any local conditions.Nick Stranger
has a name in the industry as a skilled craftsman, so we checked
out his work and we're really happy we found him".
One of Gary's sponsored riders, Florida surfer Todd Holland, got
Nick to shape him a new board when he came to Australia. He said
that he kept the board (pictured here) as one of his favourites.
I saw him ride it the first day he got it at 6' to 8' Winkipop and
he absolutely blitzed it. His mates, Sunny Garcia and Vatea David,
were raving about the board. Nick was stoked. But it wasn't possible
to put the kind of effort needed into producing two brands to a
standard Nick was happy with, so we stopped doing the Linden boards
a few years ago.
Nick moved back to Tasmania for two main reasons; the people and
the place. Tasmania is a beautiful place. It has plenty of undeveloped
coastline and wilderness areas, and the surf ranges from gentle
beach breaks to 'Australia's Heaviest Wave' (Tracks 2001, July).
Surfing here in winter hurts - you have to overcome the cold every
time you enter the water - but that's when we get our biggest swells.
Like the point breaks near where we live; they have legendary shape
and long rides, but they only break well a few times a year, and
that's usually during the biggest snowfalls. You can be surfing
the points with snow settling in your hair! During summer its usually
nice and warm and you even get a few days when you can go out just
in boardshorts, but surfing here often has more to do with braving
the elements, isolation, even wilderness.
It makes for a different relationship with the sea - its intense.
Anybody who surfs all year round here is seriously into surfing,
and Nick likes making boards for people with that kind of passion.
Thanks to this wicked new technology you can get him to make a board
for you too.