(Sunday) 2.3.13

Terry Senate Surfboards

From church youth pastors to rock stars, Terry shapes for all walks of life, and all skill levels (you kind of have to when you know everybody). We checked up with Terry at his shop in San Clemente, but if you know Terry you know he’s the nicest guy ever and before we could start interviewing us he decided to give us the locals only tour of San Clemente. He showed us his favorite places to eat, where free parking is, and then shared some of his favorite surf spots. He’s like a living Wikipedia of San Clemente.

When we got back to Terry’s shop he explained “When I first started shaping boards, I never planned to make a career out of it; I just wanted to make boards for myself and my friends”. 40 years later and Terry is a Historical Landmark in Southern California.  His shop is thriving. If you head in expect to get caught up in surf conversations with locals and people who love Terry’s boards. If Terry is pushing up against a deadline he’ll still talk to ya, he’ll just invite you into the shaping bay where he’ll finish a board and the conversation. It’s pretty remarkable – he’s been doing it so long he can hold the conversation while finishing a tail, laying in fins, and getting a board prepped for glass. But it shows you that’s just how nice a guy Terry is. He doesn’t want to cut you off and he doesn’t want to be late on a board delivery so he does both at the same time.

Terry shapes all boards, from the fish, to hybrids, longboards, and high performance short boards. Terry says, “It’s really cool, my older clients have been riding my custom longboards for years, now their kids are showing up wanting custom short boards”. He can shape pretty much anything but his passion is high performance shortboards.

Terry started surfing at age 8 in 1964. At 12 (1968) he shaped his first board. He literally chopped down the tree to shape the board himself. It’s a fantastic story – if you are in the shop ask him about how his brother helped him cut and shape the thing. Be sure to ask about how his mom helped too…you just can’t make this stuff up.

Around 20 years old, Terry started shaping boards in a friend’s horse tack room and at the same time started working at Infinity Surfboards. With Steve Boehne (the owner) teaching Terry the tricks of the trade and shaping, testing, and continually tweaking his boards were getting good. Then Terry met Ben Aipa. Ben was one of Terry’s idols and when they met Ben started helping Terry hone his skills. This was a game changer for him. Aipa taught him all about rocker and board shape and how they influence a boards handling in the water. With two amazing mentors Terry spent all hours in the shaping bay. He spent years honing his craft and getting better and better until there came a point where people started asking for their boards to be shaped by Terry Senate. Somewhere after that Terry decided to open his own shop.

Nestled in a quiet street in San Clemente Terry’s shop is a throw back. You need a leash, wax, ding repaired, or custom board – he’s gotcha covered. If you want the latest pair of skinny jeans and a neon tank top – you’ve come to the wrong place.

It’s a real pleasure to feature Terry and his shop. We’re stoked he continues to put out fantastic boards. If you’ve never met him, stop by and get some education from the University of San Clemente, you’ll be stoked you did. If you want to get one of Terry’s T-Shirts we are featuring him in our store this week – 100% of profits go right to Terry Senate. Here’s the link http://shop.solspot.com


Location: 208-B Calle De Los Molinos San Clemente, CA 92672

Phone: 949-361-1740



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  • HBZ

    I’ ve known Terry for 20 plus years, a true master of the batwing quad,

  • TP from Placentia

    turned a new board around for me in 15 days from order to delivery – a truly nice guy – my next board is from Terry

  • da Mailman

    Terry ? Oh yeah, excellent human being.
    I’d vote for him for mayor……but, he’s too honest !
    da Mailman

  • Mitt Romney

    picked up a vintage 6’0″ Infinity quad fine tuned by Terry Senate from Birds Surf shed today,the board is just flat out a work of art,its thick and beefy,double wing swallow tail,its a Rip Curl team board,I cannot wait to take it out. aloha

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