"Nick never claimed to be a stand out surfer - Shit he never even competed - he just loved surfing, and has done for as long as he 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..."
Nick has been into surfing since he was a little tacker. His 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 learnt to surf on it and became addicted to 'the glide' before he even started school - which didn't help his education prospects much.
As early as he could, Nick dropped out of school to concentrate on surfing and making surfboards; something he had been doing for his mates since he was 13. He probably knew, even then, that he wanted to make surfboards for a living...
Nick 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 as one of his favourites. The first day he got it he rode 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 to focus on his own boards.
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.