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My earliest memories of different surfboard shapes came from when my family moved from Shorecliffs to San Juan Capistrano in 1975.  We moved into our first home.  There was a small shack on the property.  On top of it were 2 very old looking longboards. They were all yellowed from baking in the sun, the wax was all melted & turned  black.  Too big for me to handle my stepfather helped me and my 2 older brothers take them down. 


I remember one having a square wooden tail, being very flat, with orange color on it.  The other board had a roundtail, a black fin with a hole drilled through it, and was very curvy from nose to tail. 


Within an hour we had both boards cleaned, waxed up, and loaded on our little red wagon.  Between the three of us taking turns pedaling the bike we managed to tow the wagon with the boards on top to the beach.  It took an hour to get down to Doheny. 

Our first surf on these boards was at Boneyard.  The boards were gigantic and it took all three of us to drag one board to the water.  My stepfather then paddled 2 of us out and pushed us into waves.  I remember the square tail board had such a big fin that it would hum when we tried to lean into a turn. Those were magical moments I will never forget. And so my journey into surfing began.

In 2006 after watching me paint on my board, Midget Smith said "Michael you want to shape don't you?" On my next board Midget shaped one side and he let me shape the other. Being so nervous I was getting everything out of order and could barely remember what to do. In his comical way Midget let me fumble through it and got me laughing when I asked how the board might go? He said "it'll go so long as you don't go right". I do miss Mig's humor. And that was my intro to shaping.

In 2008, with love and support from my girlfriend, now wife, I purchased a planer, built some light stands, tented half the garage, and starting hacking ICE NINE seconds Midget gave me. And so the garage shaping begun and before I knew it the floor was lined with foam dust. Eager to learn I approached Gary Larson. He was kind enough to let me watch him work. It was first time watching a shaper using just an electric planer. It was at this time I was given an introduction to Terry Martin, thank you Gary. 


Then, as luck would have it on March 12th, 2009 I spotted Terry Martin at the San Clemente Trader Joe's, and I got the courage to re-introduce myself. Terry was an amazing person and words cannot do enough to express his kindness and generosity. He remembered me. In his energetic way he asked how I was doing and how the shaping was going? I told him I was shaping out of the garage and was currently at 17 boards. He said "I shape out of the garage too!" He then wrote his name and number on a receipt and invited me to his home. I still have the receipt. 

Terry shared more than just shaping. Terry touched my life. He is an example of a soul's mastery of living life and loving with all his heart. Thank you Terry for being a friend, a mentor, and a father to me. We will all miss you very much. This next pass is for you.

Around 2003 I met Anthony Shilling in Dana Point. I recognized him from working down at Basham's and struck up a conversation with him about shaping. He shared that there was a shaping room available for rent and invited me to check it out when I was ready. With Anthony's invitation I was able to find a spot in the community at Basham's and I've been learning ever since.  

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Aloha, Mike

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