By Jason Hoover
Coming off of a win at last year’s 2017 Surf Expo Shape off, and preparing to participate in the 2018 Shape Off, I sat down with Virginia Beach Shaper Jordan Brazie to learn more about the man behind some of WRV’s most sought after shapes as well as his own experimental line, Valaric Surfboards.
Whether it’s world title contender Carissa Moore smacking lips on a twin fin in Iceland, or a grom in Virginia Beach with toes on the nose of a Captain’s Log, riders from around the globe are having fun on Brazie made boards.
Equal parts mad scientist, artist, and engineer, Jordan Brazie combines his passion for creative board building with his technical prowess to aid and evolve surfboard riding, keeping it fun and free to the imagination! Jordan is an advocate of having a legitimate surfboard shaping program, combined with something similar to open-sourcing in the technology field, a world of shared knowledge and experiences that benefit both the riders and shapers.
Jordan enjoys taking a holistic approach to his board design, by finding out what his clients’ needs are, and by building a surfer/shaper trusting relationship that inevitably opens up innovation. Jordan honed his technical skills under the guidance and tutelage of other local world-class shapers like David Barnes, Bill Frierson, and WRV’s long line of influential board creators.
For the last three years, Brazie has proudly been shaping full time for Wave Riding Vehicles, creating finely tuned custom and stock models. In his spare time, Jordan has continued to develop his own brand, “Valaric surfboards”, which is an experimental brand he has cultivated since he started shaping, and inevitably has aided him in creating the established models that his clients yearn for.
How he caught the shaping bug; “I was 16, on the way to the Outer Banks and I stopped into the Tim Nolte showroom. I was blown away by the whole process, having his showroom in the front and the shaping bay in the back intrigued me, so I bought some foam and was on my way to learning the craft”.
His Influences; “Boards over the decades for sure, the 70s, aesthetically beautiful, picture perfect. 60’s logs, So “Cadillacy”. Boards represent an era, I like to pull off that and modernize it to advance wave riding. Friends and customers are also a big influence, they offer fresh perspectives. My information comes from everyone I learn from.
Thoughts on Social Media; “There is so much available and relevant information out there, but it can also be an info overload. Sometimes, I prefer to cut it off for a while and allow what comes to my mind, through my own thoughts and community”.
On the future of board building; “I think the craft should be taught in the same manner as other apprenticeship programs. I’ll definitely share my info. Asymmetrical design can offer even more fine tuning but takes both time and recognition. I think technological innovations will have an impact on the way boards are built. Soon we will have the opportunity for things like 3D printers and virtual showrooms, I won’t mind it. With open-sourced knowledge sharing, and the use of eco-friendly materials, the options are exciting. Not using eco-friendly materials can make a shaper feel guilty, I don’t want the thought of future production to be about making more boards but to rather focus on being greener”.
Reflecting on the 2017 Surf Expo Shape-Off; “With the expo, I had a clear visual intent and was very focused. I took a lot of pride in recreating those retro boards, and I had the confidence to follow through on my thoughts. It was a very relaxed atmosphere amongst that community of board builders. I was excited about learning from them and when I won the shape-off, I felt validated in a way that earning a certificate from an apprenticeship program or university would make someone feel”.
Jordan’s Current Focus; “My goal is to evaluate and upgrade each design and occasionally bring in a completely new model, right now it’s a new Egg, it’s a speed Egg with a 2 plus 1 set up, a multi-purpose East Coast grab & go created in the 6’6 – 8’0 range.”
Future Dreams & Shaping Sessions; “I am on a very creative path, beyond any current models, dream quivers of different realities & concepts that aren’t practical today. I view it as an experimental art project that I hope to focus solely upon one day. I’m very happy where I am today, but it’s good to push yourself and your ideas on what is possible in both board shaping and riding”.
Views on Virginia Beach as a creative outlet; “Virginia Beach has entered into a rebirth cycle where people are finding what is needed, as well what they love doing, and have started making a livelihood from it. Along with a new wave of artist and creators that demands a more collaborative and less competitive driven community that once was. Additionally, having David Portch and the Sothis Glassing Factory allows me the opportunity to stay in touch with the process full-time from foam to glass. David’s factory focuses on high quality & experimental glass work that allows me to give my customers what they are looking for. I’m very thankful for that”.
Advice to new shapers; “Taking a thought, putting it into your hands, then under your feet, is next level consciousness, knowing that you made an experience and journey out of it, remember that feeling in each board you shape, it’s a very special thing”. Try everything, shape everything”.
In this renaissance era of board design, it’s exciting to sit back and watch Jordan as he continues to help evolve the art of having fun while riding waves! JH