Southern California Surfboard Shaper Ian Wright of Aftermath Designs
I grew up in a small town just south of Durban, South Africa, I had decided to head for Southern California. Partly to visit an old girlfriend of mine and partly to test my board making skills out in what I had considered to be the "Mecca" of the surfing world. While some may question this….the US produces more surfboards than any other country or even countries combined worldwide and Southern California has some of the best board builders around. It was an obvious choice for me, not only to test my skills, but to also further my knowledge.
So when did you shape your first board and what made you decide to try you luck with shaping?
I had shaped my first board when I was 15 years old after a friend of mine had asked me to try and copy it. Well I figured that if I had some of the tools, and I seemed good with my hands…and..then this couldn’t be that difficult right? That moment changed my life forever.
How did the board come out?
The board actually came out pretty good and after I had laminated it and polished it by hand…I was sucked in for life. I had never in a million years thought that I’d end up making boards for a living, but I guess after having a somewhat successful fiberglass repair thing going out of my parent’s garage, which incidentally was started only to keep my brother in the water with his canoe-racing hobby…that somewhere I was destined to be involved with fiberglass, in some way, shape or form. When I look back on it I realize that this was just a dream of a young surf kid
How many boards have you shaped over the years?
I have shaped tens of thousands of boards, and i am just starting to evolve into my own. I mean that in the sense that after ghost shaping for some of the biggest names in our industry from various parts of the world, namely Safari surfboards and Spider Murphy and being mentored by Peter Daniels. These guys helped me have the vision and board making skills I have developed today.I had also ghost shaped for local label, Spyder surfboards since Mid 1995 and owned the licensing rights for around 6 years until moving on to start my own venture,Aftermath surfboards Int’l.I have and still continue to shape boards for some of surfing’s elite and this has helped carve out my niche in this huge exciting market.
What is next for Ian Wright?
After having made some really bad business decisions over here I have finally got all the "Monkeys off my back" so to speak. I have a state of the art facility where I can manufacture almost everything in-house. I had started doing my own label out of necessity and now some 2 years later it has started to turn into a really exciting business project for me. I hope to be getting a solid WQS and WCT team off the ground . I have licensed my Aftermath label out to long time friend, Jim Mcgrath and with all his experience,couldn’t have asked for anyone better to head up the clothing /skate company. I have finally managed to get my web site http://www.aftermathsurfboards.com/ in operation and have launched an advertising campaign in some industry magazines.
That is exciting stuff, it sounds like your building momentum and getting much deserved recognition. Are you ready for all this change?
Yeah, I hope so!! I have also managed to get myself back to where I should have been years ago…and that is to enjoy doing what I love "Making boards". This industry has had its ups and downs for me, but I feel that I have come full circle in life and now finally can have something to give back to this very cool and exciting industry. I have so many cutting edge technologies at my disposal now and I think it’s reflected in the quality of my product.
Please feel free to check out the board web site at http://www.aftermathsurfboards.com as well as http://aftermathboardcompany.com for the clothing/skate company owned and operated by Jim Mcgrath and join us on this cool journey. Finally to all of those people who have supported me and to those still to come..thank you…I’m truly grateful.
Photos by Jennifer Dawson interview by Jennifer Dawson, Ty Cukr and Scott Whitmer