Just a few questions from the Liquid Salt interview:
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I was born in Baltimore and spent summers growing up in Ocean City Maryland. I moved to Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. I started shaping boards while I was still a student in 2002 and was hooked on the experience of shaping and riding my own boards. I kept shaping more and more boards for myself and eventually friends were asking for them too. I was turned off by the negative environmental aspects of the polyurethane foam and resin though. I began to look for more sustainable means to shape boards while maintaining a high performance standard, and being an artist the aesthetics of the boards is important to me too.
What’s next for Kevin Cunningham and Spirare?
I’ve been working with reclaimed found marine debris lately. I am currently using fishing nets and lines that wash up on the beach to make fins and accessories. It’s amazing how much trash you can find on the beach when you start to look for it. I hope to develop more uses for this material in the coming months too. Other than that I’m going to keep shaping as many boards as I can and push the performance of my shapes as far as possible.
The art of hand-shaping surfboards is being threatened by machines. Shaper Studios is changing that. The Mission Valley shaping school is allowing everyday surfers the chance to glass and paint what they ride. We drop in on owner Chris Clark, who says the studio is luring everyone from pros to groms to surf companies and bands like Foster the People.
“It’s impossible to compare surfboard shaping to anything else,” says Clark, an SDSU MBA grad student and entrepreneur who is creating a unique blend of retail and DIY manufacturing at Shaper Studios.
“Surfing is only half of surfing. The other half is making your own surfboard. When people leave here with a board they can ride, that they make with their own hands, it changes surfing and their experience with the sport forever.”
But what about people who are power-tool-phobic?
We are with you the whole time. We just taught a 12-year-old girl to use a planer (a power tool with sharp blades).
So it’s not just a bro-fest?
No way! We just did a series with French pro Margaux Arramon-Tucoo. We entered a film of her shaping at a local film fest.
Surfboards are some of the most toxic toys.
We use Marko recyclable EPS foam. We also use epoxy resins, which are odorless and have zero VOCs. It doesn’t smell in here so you can even glass your board without wearinga mask.
WordPress is no doubt a very popular web publishing platform for blogs and other types of websites. But just how popular is it?
We just completed a study and found that WordPress is in use by 48 of the top 100 blogs in the world. This is an increase from the 32 we recorded three years ago.
Other developments since then include that custom blog publishing platforms are more common now, TypePad has all but disappeared from the top 100, Tumblr has made an entrance, and some companies really don’t want to spill the beans about what solutions they use.
My project is all about environmental and community responsibility. I’m a custom surfboard builder that wants to help make a change in our toxic industry while also taking action to help protect a rare California coastal habitat.
The technologies required to make a better surfboard are no longer experimental, they’re high quality and available for those willing the invest the time and money necessary. The funding of this campaign will allow me to use plant-sap based resins and recycled foam products to build a collection of beautiful surfboards.
Once my work is finished I’m going to hold an art show/silent auction and donate the profit from the line’s sales to the Save Naples Coalition, a small group of people helping to protect the Gaviota coast from major development.
Larger scale change is always spurred on by grass roots efforts that raise consumers’ expectations. I want to be part of the challenge and help change the demands that customers put on our industry.