Typically we meet Surf Labor Profile people through referral or if we can convince a legend to spend a few minutes with us. Totally different in this case. We kept seeing our tweets get retweeted and we had to find out more…and we met super cool, perpetually stoked, Brian Gable.
A San Diego native Brian exemplifies the juxtaposition that is San Diego. On one hand a super mellow surf community with artists, craftsmen, and surfers while in the other you see a burgeoning city and mini Silicon Valley. Brian is a model of the shadow – trained in fine arts, he also holds a degree in information systems at James Madison University of Virginia. It’s a really interesting mix that helps to produce some very beautiful and brilliantly shaped surfboards.
So how did this lifelong surfer get started as a shaper? It started with the world’s best surf trip. No, it wasn’t the Mentawais or Teahupoo. Brian’s claim to fame is actually uncovering a world-class surf spot. Yup, he was the winner of Google Earth Challenge #2 and introduced the world to the now infamous African point, Skeleton Bay aka Corey’s Left aka the place where the locals say “big sharks” and you see “big shacks.” So Brian finds this spot on the interweb, gets to surf it with all sorts of surfing celebrity, comes back and is so stoked he immerses himself in the industry. By random chance he reads an article in Surfer written by Chris Mauro about AKU machine shaping and CAD design. He downloads the software and immediately finds the connection between science and art. With an incurable thirst to shape Brian starts hunting for a mentor and connects with San Clemente legend Ryan Engle of Nation Manufacturing. Ryan helps Brian cut his first board and the rest is history.
How does it work now? As a boutique operation Brian can spend as much time as needed making sure each board is perfect. He starts with very precise CAD designs and hand finishes according to your prescribed style and surfing desire. His boards are a mix of science, hydrodynamics, and artwork. When you see these boards they are truly works of art and the guy has thought of everything, down to the most minute details. Example. On some boards the kick pad is an afterthought. On Brian’s he has found ways to make them part of the overall artistic vision of the surfboard. Really cool stuff!
Like most shapers Gable has his specialty. He loves shortboards and fishes. His biggest influence? Rich Pavel from San Diego. If you don’t recognize the name you either aren’t from San Diego or aren’t into riding fishes. Know this – Pavel is a legend and a major influence on modernized fish designs. My favorite part of the interview was when he explained his second board was modeled after a speed dialer and even though it was his second shaped board ever, it was his favorite over the last 10 years. Brian explains, “I’ve found that the quad fish shape is one of the most versatile boards for all types of waves on the planet. You can get shacked, fly in double-overhead waves, tear up points, or stand-out in gutless mush.”
We’re stoked to meet him and really stoked when he explained that he doesn’t just want to create fantastic performing boards. He wants more! He wants you to have the absolute best board possible from a performance standpoint but also have a work of art. No more hanging boards in the garage – they are living room pieces.
Last thing…he’s got a quality guarantee. WTF? Yeah, he wants you to be happy so he designs the board to your spec. If he delivers it and it’s not what you are looking for he’ll take it back and make you what you want. Holy *ish!
Web URL: www.GableSurfboards.com
Hometown: Born and Raised: Del Mar, CA. Operates out of San Clemente, CA
Fun Fact: Brian is married with two young girls, 7 and 6. They love the ocean, and keep him perpetually stoked.