In the shaping bay with Matt Parker. Photo: @asildaphotography.
Matt Parker, head shaper of Album Surfboards recently had a chat with Boardcave about where he got his start, his favorite waves to surf and of course, boards…
When and where did you start shaping?
I started shaping in my garage back in 2000/2001. Just hacking away at foam, figuring out tools and miraculously some of the first boards actually floated and worked a bit.
Which shapers or influences do you have that inspire you?
Surfing, all types of surfing is always the main inspiration. So being immersed in that, surfing everyday sparks that more than anything.
I’m inspired by shapers that have longevity – that have been around, are stoked, have innovated, adapted and are happy.
Delivering stoke to customers every week and hearing good feedback is really awesome – makes all the long hours worth it.
Do you have a favorite type of wave to surf? What board model do you think works best on it?
I love any good wave, but point breaks are probably my favorite because they allow you to do a number of turns, connect sections, find the speed line.
I can get a real sense for what a board is doing at a point.
Small days I love Simmons influenced stubbies like the Symphony or Supersede – if it’s decent any hybrid like a Polyphonic to a UTF to a full blown performance board like a Dischord works insane.
A few from the quiver Symphony, Polyphonic, UTF and the Dischord.
You have some pretty diverse boards in the range, is there a personal favorite amongst them?
I think every board or model we make has its day that it really shines.
The Ledge is probably my favorite to shape – and when you ride it you know the waves are good – so lots of good memories and vibes around that one.
Album Surfboards are known for detailed artwork across your range, where does the inspiration for the artwork come from?
My background is in art and design. I was a design major in school so I guess I see everything through that lens.
I get really bored with the same thing over and over again. I can’t stand doing the same thing over and over again until its played out. I really want the boards to be unique and stand out from everything else that’s out there.
I think psychologically the design and look of the board is super important. If it feels good and looks good its going to surf good. Color is a big inspiration – in nature, art, etc.
Matt checking the rails on an Album custom. Photo: @asildaphotography.
What gives you the best results when you’re shaping a board: sticking with tradition, experimentation, or is it a combination of both?
Depends on the objective we’re after for a particular board.
I think there are theories, approaches and design elements from the past that just flat out work so it’d be ignorant to ignore that. But I always have to be open minded to try anything. No rules. It’s surfing. I get a lot of joy from experimentation.
Working on the tail of a fresh board. Photo: @asildaphotography.
It looks like a lot of thought and attention go into every Album model, how do you decide when to release a new shape?
Thanks! The bottom line is basically if I wouldn’t surf it or it doesn’t work for me it’s not going to be a model.
Generally we’ll go through quite a few variations until it all feels right. There’s a lot of overlap with some of our shapes – and for good reason, the kind of surfing we do isn’t totally isolated.
I’m always going to want a board that has versatility – something that works more than just one day a year.
What are the most important things to consider when buying one of your boards?
Really internalize and identify what you’re trying to do on a wave and with your surfing.
Are there areas you want to improve? Are you having fun? Why or why not?
If you can focus on what is going to make surfing the most fun for you – then you’ll always be satisfied and always have good sessions. To me that should be the goal. Make surfing more fun.
One of Album’s Symphony models all dressed up and ready in hydroflex construction and varial foam.
Any new developments in the works for Album? What’s the plan for the brand in the future?
It’s been a really busy last year!
We opened up a new showroom that’s open to the public in December. It’s been rad to have people come and see the boards and experience what we’re all about in person.
We also expanded to a larger factory so we can increase production and get everyone’s custom orders done quick. We always have some trips planned. Surf everyday there are waves.
Our plan for the year is to nail down a bunch of video content on the models, boards in action, etc so customers can get some more insight into the best board for them. Keep the stoke factor maxxed!
Plenty of boards on racks in the Album Surfboards showroom in San Clemente.
Check out Album Surfboards full range of boards and use the Board Engine to help find your volume.
Thanks to Asilda Photography for use of the images.