Yoshi from Takeda Shapes has been making boards for 11 years on the Gold Coast and a few years in America. Yoshi takes a traditional approach to board building as he hand shapes and glasses every single surfboard. Yoshi has an undivided love for all surf crafts from: high performance shortboards/fishes to traditional logs, twin/single fins. Yoshi takes the knowledge of the history and old school designs and blends them into a new school flavour.
How did you get into shaping or decide to make a career from it?
It all started when I was a kid in Japan, I’ve always wanted to be a shaper and live the Australian surfer dream. I started at the bottom of the ladder (where the likes of DHD, Murray Burton and all greats started) whereI used to do ding repairs and clean the factory. And well the rest is history and now it is the only way I can make a living haha. But I have always had an appreciation for different shapes, designs and the history of surfboards, it is a passion of mine as “I live and breath making surfboards”.
Who were your mentors?
I have been lucky to of learnt from some of the master shapers of our times. Timmy Patterson and Chris Garret.
Timmy Patterson from America was a massive mentor; I learnt from Timmy that designing surfboards is similar to the direction and choice you make in life and that it has a great influence on the variation in board design and concepts.
Chris Garret (Phantom Surfboards) has the most in depth understanding of surfboard design and knowledge, he approaches surfboard design in a different manner then the typical performance shaper, in his shapes he links the curves and lines of a board that fit the curve and shape of waves.
Describe the first board you shaped?
I was very young and it ended up beening a piece of shit haha. I tried to copy a known shaper performance shortboard, I measured every six inches and tried to replicate the outline (but the rocker was nothing like it) and the glass job looked like a smashed pie Haha. But I clearly remember the satisfaction I received from making the board and it has been an addiction ever since (by the way my boards are a lot better now haha).
Who where your influences early in your career?
Besides Timmy and Chris, other influential shapers are: Simon Anderson, Murray Burton and Darren Handely. I believe these guys have leaded the forefront of surfboard design and always pushed the bar.
Sage Joske from Valla Surfboards is a great mate and massive influence, I have learnt from Sage to always refer to the past (history of surfboard design) as a guideline and use it as a starting point. This is heavily reflected in my fishes, as they use to take a traditional outline, straighter curves but now they have evolved into a modern idealistic approach where they have more curves and performance rockers.
What designs have you been working on lately?
The amazing thing about being a shaper is that your ability, direction, design and understanding the dynamics of surfboards is a continuum. As it always change and you learn and draw off the board you shape previously. It is evident that the current design for the last few years has been shorter and wider.
I feel that my board designs have been heading in the direction that allows them to fit better in the pocket and on the wave. My board designs have become shorter and wider but I still use a performance driven rocker and performance curves, this allows for a more radical drive surfboard that has a lot more manoeuvrability, speed and flare.
What makes your boards better then the rest?
I guess my greatest attribute is that I focus on quality. I hand shape and glass all my boards, I have quality control over every process that insures the rider is getting what they want.
I think that the industry has lost a lot of master hand shapers to the machine (haha sounds like the terminator “machines take over the world haha”). But I feel that choosing to be a hand shaper gives a deeper insight to the curves in a board (you can’t beat hand-to-eye vs eye-computer-machine!). As when the board flexes during the shaping process you learn when to back off pressure (which produces a more consistent rocker), you learn what a 1/16 less foam on the rail band can effect floatation and outline of a board.
I also focus on custom boards, giving the rider what they really want or need, as the custom only speaks to me so I provide a real personal service. It brings it back to the old school style as the shaper surfer’s relationship is critical in producing the highest performance board possible when the surfer improves with every board.
Where do you see the future of shaping (e.g. board design, materials)?
Over the last few years EPS blanks and epoxy resin has been the flavour. I have developed a range of EPS/Epoxy boards with carbon rail, parabolic carbon stringer boards and performance EPS fishes. But I still believe PU is better and better value for money. I love the way each board feel (from fishes, logs or performance shortboards) as I do with each different composites (Epoxy, EPS and PU).
But I feel individualism is the FUTURE; producing custom boards to fit each surfer’s ability and not producing boards for the masses will drive the future of shaping. The big guys (e.g DHD, Chilli, Merrick) set the trends, but being able to ability that concept and personalise each design for each surfer is where the future lays. As a custom board will always perform better then a store shelf stocky.
What words of wisdom would you pass down for inspiring shapers?
BE INDIVIDUAL / BE ORIGINAL / BE PROUD!!! Learn all aspects of board design and all stages in the process, don’t just get a preshape and finish it off and give it to a glassing factory (your not a shaper)! Hand shape different designs and experiment, as it is the only way you will grow and evolve as a shaper. Plus it is so much more fun.
Tell us why you love your job?
I live and breath shaping and when I wake up each day I look forward to work and growing as a shaper. Who wouldn’t do a job that gives them that much satisfaction.
Anything you want to get off your chest?
Don’t’ talk shit, just do it!
Favourite shaping tools?
I couldn’t live with out my Shaping blocks, air conditioned room and a planer with the Shapers Barrel.
Why do you use Shapers Fins?
They have a massive range, which you can find a set of fin for any board or fin combination possible. Plus they offer true value for money with QUALITY.
What are the benefits of Shapers Fins?
QUALITY! They provide fins that offer performance that matches the latest movement in board designs.
Company: Takeda Shapes (5F/31 Rudman Pde, Burleigh Heads, QLD 4226)
Ph: 0433 179 836