Let's face it folks, most people like comets, rockets and meteors, loud bangs and fireworks. Admittedly, there have been very little of these pyrotechnics at Ward Coffey Shapes over the last 25 years. I've been content to quietly hang my shingle, listen to my customer's wants and desires, and go into my hobbit hole and produce the goods. It seems to work and I thank you all for it.
Building surfboards for a living is tricky business at best. But it has afforded me a humble place in a community that values the rhythms of the ocean. Besides, in addition to being able to keep my door open during boom and bust times, I feel fortunate that my wife and I have had the time to share our love for the ocean with our boys. They've logged more beach and wave time than the average bear and their stoke has been fun to watch and be a part of.
When I first started Ward Coffey Shapes I had already put 10 years before the mast at Arrow Surfboards. I had quite a few boards under my dusty belt, wore a lot of hats, learned about the surf industry, and most importantly found out that I really liked shaping surfboards.
At the time I didn't, and still don't, have all the answers on running a business and what it takes to make a magic surfboard. But I'm just as keen and stoked as ever to grab a blank and start a new board. The coolest thing is, the main ideas and values I had back then still ring true today. To me it's just basic common sense that you treat people the way you want to be treated.
That means taking the time to meet the customer, listen to them, and look at their equipment. I want them to have the confidence that I'm the one who will shape their board and put in the time and the attention to detail needed to make it right. I'll see it through the whole process and be there when they pick it up with fins in place and a bar of wax in hand. Oh, I know it doesn't fit the mass marketing model but I'm good with it. Being the town toy maker and seeing my customers riding their boards on a daily basis is both satisfying and rewarding.
Thanks to all of you for your support and inspiration.