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Nestled in a little corporate park right down the street from Foam E-Z is the global HQ for Tim Stamps, owner and founder of Stamps Surfboards. Tim, a very unassuming guy, has his little shop where he and his crew design, shape, and glass boards the old fashioned way – one at a time.
Being a small business Tim plays many roles. While we were there for the interview he was owner, marketer, tour guide, shipping/receiving, accountant, and clean up man. Phone ringing all the while….haha! You’ve got to love a guy who’s willing to do it all!
Tim started surfing when he was 11. He went to HB high school and was on the surf team (back when they dominated) and was a respectable surfer. Tim said his best finish in the NSSA was in the top 10 (which means he can surf folks). Rather than make a move into pro surfing Tim started working at Harbour Surfboards. He started working there when he was 15 and was taught by the legend himself Rich Harbour.
As a grom at Harbour Surfboards Tim was the official ding repair guy, shop cleaner, trash man, and apprentice to the man. He was there for 8 to 10 years, its hard for Tim to say exactly because there was poor ventilation in the glassing room and some of the days are fuzzy. No, in all seriousness he shaped there for 8 but was also sharing his talents with other shops for the last 2. In 1997 he started his own brand and got a shaping room at FOAM E-Z and shaped there for a few years. After that he went back to Harbour for another 7 until he opened his own shop. I asked Tim – what made you take the plunge into opening your own business? “You remember when Clark Foam went out of business? That made me decided to open my own shop. I figured if I could survive with the apocalypse on the horizon then I could survive anytime.” And survive he has.
Right now Tim’s got several pro surfers riding his boards and several guys who are on the cusp of going pro. Tim wont shape for any pro. He says even if you are absolutely ripping but a big fat jerk face he’s just not into it and wont work with you. “It’s just not worth it. Plus the board is an extension of me and I don’t want people thinking I am that kind of guy. But if you’re a regular dude with cash in hand and a big fat jerk face its totally cool, I’ll shape you anything you want…” that was Tim placing his small business owners hat on
Truth is, most of Tim’s work is through referrals. Once you ride one of his boards you end up telling all your friends. It’s true; Adam got one and he’s been telling me how great it is. Now I want Stamps to shape my next board. I think another reason his boards are so popular is Tim’s a good listener. He asks you about your style of surf and what you want to do. Then he lets you talk and converts your surf talk into geometrics, physics, displacement theory, and hydrodynamics = shapes you a custom board.
Since Tim’s been shaping for so long I asked him what the biggest change in design has been. His immediate response was the Thruster. He’s kind of joking but not. Yeah boards today are way more sophisticated than those from the 80’s but the general design hasn’t been revolutionized in some time. The real innovation is now the ability to replicate the exact same board over and over again – computer aided design (CAD). Take that design hand plane and shape it to refine the ride exactly to the surfers demands. The amount of refinement a surfer can get is pretty incredible. He’s right folks and its not just short boarders who benefit. All you long boarders out there get love too. Remember Tim started at Harbour so he can shape 10’ nose riders just as well as he can 5’11” Thrusters.
Overall it was a pleasure meeting Tim. Next time you are at a buddy’s house ask if he’s got a Stamps in his quiver. If he does you should ask if you can demo it… which reminds me – hey Adam, when can I try your new baby?
Web URL: http://www.surfboardsbystamps.com
Hometown: HB, CA
Fun Fact: Has shaped over 17,000 boards (16,998 good ones and 4 bad ones)