di Erika Scafuro
“It’s very cool…I’m very happy!” the interview with Jacopo Causa, shaper known as CJ, is full of absolute superlatives. It can not be otherwise if your gift is to hand shape surfboards and Bear Surfboards invites you to create a new one.
Thanks to the collaboration between CJ and Bear, an asymmetrical surfboard came to life.
A project of which CJ told us the process, and the curiosity, that led him to want to create just this type of board, working on an innovative concept.
Infected by the enthusiasm of CJ, we can only cheer for this very happy shaper.
When did you make your first surfboard?
“It was a few years ago…in 2015, 2016. I was looking for a surfboard suitable for me, but I could not find one here around. From there I became interested in shaping and I made it. I had already been to Australia the previous year, I had known some shapers who had shown me their work, but I had never built one until, back in Italy, I had this first experience. That was so cool. I recovered an old surfboard and I turned it into a new one: I made a shortboard recovering a broken longboard, I handshaped, I modeled it again. A mega experiment”.
When did you decide that you would become a shaper?
“Unfortunately I can’t call it yet my profession, but I am working to make it so. I wish it were my profession, the problem is that in Italy it is very difficult. It’s a job that I do mostly abroad, but as a result of the current situation I had to stay in Italy since travel is complicated. Two years ago I stayed a lot abroad, to do shaping between France, Spain, Portugal… in different locations including Hossegor, and then at surf festivals like the Gliding Barnacles of Figueira da Foz in Portugal. I did several trip. From there I had to go back to Australia, but then the pandemic prevented me. So for a year I have been in a bit of a stalemate, since I could not realize the plan I wanted to follow”.
You worked on a project for Bear. How did you feel to make a board for such an important historical brand?
“That’s really cool. Mostly because, a bit like all surfers, as a kid I watched Big Wednesday and then while I was shaping this board I identified myself with the character of the movie. It makes me strange, it’s a good feeling. I can’t find the words to say it I’m so happy. Bear, over the years, thanks to formidable shaper has built some exceptional boards, including the wombat, which is one of the best boards ever. So I feel very happy just having the opportunity to make a board for Bear”.
About the surfboard you made for Bear, we know you worked on an asymmetrical type. Can you explain what this project consists of? What are the advantages of such a surfboard?
“Together with Filippo Orso we thought to create an asymmetric surfboard for the wave I surf, especially here in Varazze, where the left, a faster, shorter wave, is very different from the right one. As a result of course I find myself surfing a right wave with the same board that I use for the left wave. So I said to myself why not try to make an asymmetric to use for half the board the front side that works well for that type of wave, and instead make for the other half, that is the back side, another board again? In such a way as to surf the long wave with a type of board and the short and faster wave with another type of board still. It’s kind of a hard concept to explain, but I did a little bit of tests and I have to say it works. It’s really cool. Because in the same board you have two models and each one is good for the two different waves. It’s great.
There are asymmetrical surfboards, but here in Italy I have seen few. Because there is still no such concept as there is already in California, Australia or abroad where the culture of surfing is always ahead. I wanted to try it out of curiosity, to understand how it works. You have to understand how to do it, improve it, change the specifications a bit, but this asymmetric board is suitable for my way of surfing. Then of course everyone has their favorite models. There are those who have only one board that uses for each type of wave and conditions, even if then in reality many times the wrong board makes you miss the session. I’m working on this innovation a bit different from the usual surfboards that are around”.
How many customizations are generally required? What was the most particular?
“I like to make custom surfboards because it is precisely what I want to do for the most part, the beauty of making a board for someone who asks you for that detail that it is difficult to find in other boards. As for the most particular surfboard…[laughing] there was a friend of mine who asked me for a surfboard with penis shape. And so we made it. Then we surfed and it also worked quite well!”.
What are the fundamental features that a surfboard should have for you?
“For every type of wave and the conditions in which to surf, the specifications of a board are different. So there’s no standard. Obviously the shaping, the resin treatment must be made so that you think and do correctly the design of the board for the wave that will be surfed, the skills of the surfer, his specifications, weight, height etc… These are the important things. The surfboard depends on the wave you’re going to surf. The basics of shaping are concaves, rockers, tail and nose, outlines….And then the resin treatmeant is very important because if it does not have the right resistance, if it is not light or heavy enough, it still compromises surfing and performance”.