There’s something special about watching a man glide through a perfect keg on a weird shaped board he himself as conceptualised and built with his own bare hands.
When that man is the incredibly stylish Ryan Burch, and that craft is his trademark asymmetrical boards, the watching of said gliding becomes imperative.
Burch has been shaping boards for himself and his friends for ages, however has only recently started to transition it into a viable business outfit. However he’s a long way from the mass production model most shapers aim for. “I want to be able to make something that I can be proud of, rather than handing the designs over to someone else to produce or finish them for me.” He told Surfing Magazine earlier this year. “My favourite part about shaping is using my hands.” he continued “I don’t want to sacrifice that. The bummer is that because I’m building boards that way, I have to turn people down. In the future, maybe I’ll hire a glasser so that I can free up a bit of time.”
“It’s funny, I remember when I first started getting into surfboards,” reflects Ryan, “Skip Frye was kind of the same way and his boards were all I ever wanted. I’ve still never been able to get one. It boils down to time and staying true to what you do or expanding and letting things out of your hands to meet the demand. I view shaping surfboards in the same light as making art and I’d rather do something that’s my own and keep it than have to be a boss and tell people that they aren’t doing it right.”
In case you were wondering about the technical spech and design concepts that underpin his asymmetrical designs, we’ve lifted this from his website, (www.ryanburchsurfboards.com) to outline the basics:
‘The long-straight toe side rail has one fin, and mimics the fast planing-skatiness of the fish. On the heel side, I typically put two fins with a more pulled in round tail, this allows for more predictability and a little tighter turn off the heels. In the nose, I pull in the toe side curve allowing for a tighter bottom turn. On the heel side nose, I leave the rail straighter to give you a place to deliver all the speed.’
Here’s the man and his craft in action, enjoy: