Written by Nick McGregor — In this day and age, there aren’t many young surfers rushing out to build their own boards. It’s hard work. Messy work. Frustrating work. And, unless you’re fascinated by hydrodynamic design and its accompanying level of performance enhancement, not exactly the kind of work most people want to spend time on. And that’s OK. For most of us, surfing is fun. I grew up riding traditional longboards, but I’ve been riding the same two for the last 15 years. I’ve never messed with my fin placement, understood the nuances of nose rocker, or experienced varying levels of tail vee. When the surf’s clean and I have time, I try to catch as many waves as my conscience allows and surf as well as I’m reasonably able. That is not what Mikel Evans, featured on the cover of our new March 2017 issue (Vol. 26, Issue #199), does.
Although this New Hampshire 23-year-old can ride a longboard with more style than 99% of us mere mortals, every step he takes (and every move he makes) is part of an obsessive desire to build the right board for the right waves in his little slice of New England paradise. In 2014, he started conducting his own foam and fiberglass experiments, but strictly for himself: he’s only shaped 25 boards. Those innovative designs are already in demand, though, through Cinnamon Rainbows, where he works, and in the water when other surfers see him sliding by. It doesn’t hurt that Mikel is widely hailed as the Granite State’s next great style connoisseur, and his humble blue-collar upbringing has so far kept any sense of ego in check. “I’m shaping these things because I can’t buy any of the boards I see in my head,” Evans tells ESM. “And if I don’t get them out of my head, I’ll drive myself crazy.”
Also included in this issue? Four more East Coast longboarders (Dean Petty, Joshua Carolino, Paul Kelly, and Scott Kellogg) discuss the highly refined nine-floot-plus craft under their feet as shaped by Bing Surfboards, Black Rose MFG, Brian Wynn Surfboards, and Mike Whisnant Surfboards. New York native Dan O’Hara discusses his new eco-friendly, forward-thinking Bio-Flex designs for Solid Surf. Raven Lundy reminisces on the circuitous journey to owning his first real surfboard. And a bevy of other shapers display their wares in our Spring 2017 Board Forum. Jump on in…