CUSTOM SURFBOARDS & DESIGN
Between photos and takes, a conceptual chat with Beto Kahvegian, the mind and hands responsible for Oficina 6, about the art of shaping, which continuously builds and shapes the eternal search for the perfect wave and board.
Photography and interview by Felipe Silva "Aquachara
"Every board starts inside our head. From there, it's about creating on paper to understand the style you want in the end ..."
- When did Beto first become interested in the art of shaping? How did he get to Oficina 6?
I've always been a person who liked to build things myself, to customize things, from children's strollers to furniture at home. You only really understand what you are consuming or buying if you have seen or participated in the production process, so when I started surfing, the path to learning how to shaping was very natural. Curiosity took me into a shaping room, and it hasn't taken me out since!
- How did Oficina 6 come about?
Workshop 6 came from a lack of diversity in the boards I found in surf shops. At the time I was looking for a different experience in the water, a surf more connected with the sea, and I only found the same types of boards, very different from what I saw happening outside of Brazil. So I started to shape my own boards, take some ideas that I had in my head and see if it worked, and put them to the test in the water. One thing led to another, a friend liked the design and wanted to try it out, then another, the shape kept improving, new ideas kept appearing, developing, until I saw that more and more people were becoming interested in my models, and that I had arrived at a cool style of surfboard.
- Oficina 6 is a conglomerate of shapers, how does one shaper influence the other?
Being able to shape in a space that has more shapers is a very rich experience. Each person has his or her own creative process, style, references, and style in the water, and all of this is transmitted when shaping.
" I have always been a person who liked to build things myself, to customize, from children's cars to furniture at home. "
- What is the process of creating a board? What are the steps?
Every board starts inside your head. From there it is to create on paper to understand the style you want to achieve, and then test the outlines, curves, and types of tail until you are satisfied with the result. Then it is to pass this to the Shape, to concretize these curves, and finally the lamination work, which will turn that block into a surfboard.
- What do you consider as the differential of Oficina 6?
I think that our differential is to treat each surfboard as unique, to have a very close relationship with our clients and friends. We always develop the boards together with our customers, understanding exactly why and for what he wants that board, where he plans to use it, what kind of wave, his level, what inspires him in the water, to be sure that the final result will be exactly as he imagined. Our idea is to make much more than boards, it is to create experiences and memories in the water.
- How does technology help in the development process of a surfboard project?
I see that technology has helped a lot in the process of board development. Today, with technology, it is possible to further diversify the outlines of boards, test new designs, and get faster feedback on what is working and what is not. A board, even if it is machined, will always need the hand of the shaper to adjust the details, so I think that the energy put into the board is not lost with the arrival of technology. And I don't mean just in terms of production, but in terms of surfing as a whole. In the old days, the shaper had to create and test something to know if it worked or not. Today we have access to a lot of information from all over the world, so we get feedbacks from various models of shapes very quickly, with many videos of how it behaves in the water, which ends up helping even more the evolution of shapes.
- What are the biggest current challenges in board making?
I think the biggest challenge is still the process and people's understanding of it as a whole. Many people don't realize how much time and effort it takes to make a board, from its conception on paper, to the finished board. Many people are involved in the process, from the shaper to the laminator. Some people don't understand that a surfboard is not the same as a normal product that is produced in a few hours and on a large scale, but rather a product that demands a lot of attention, care for detail, and time.
- How does it feel to see a board ready to be delivered to the client after all the process?
It is one of the coolest feelings you have, because many times you are making someone's dream come true. Those who surf know that each surfboard is like a child, and that a wave can be eternalized in your head, so providing this experience to someone is great! But even better is to receive feedback after the first crash, that is priceless.