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Board talk with Dane Hamilton

hammo surfboards shaper dane hamilton

Board Talk with Dane Hamilton

Dane Hamilton, head shaper of Hammo Surfboards recently chatted to Boardcave about surfboards, where he got his start and where he sees the future of surfboard shaping going.

When and where did you start shaping?

I started shaping up at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

My dad (Mick) was a shaper so I used to watch him shape boards when I was a kid. He would make me sweep out his shaping bay when I was young for pocket money.

When I turned 16 he started to show me the ropes and slowly let me start using some of his templates. Initially it was dad who shaped me my boards back when I was surfing competitively, now I shape them for him.

shaping boards for dad quote

Do you have a favourite board in the Hammo range?

That’s like asking to name your favourite child… Haha. I don’t have a favourite, I have a few;

  • Pro Series - because it’s built for high performance surfing and sometimes that’s what the waves call for.
  • Speed – because its super fast between turns and transitions
  • Death Proof – because it goes great in smaller waves and stuff a bit bigger – super versatile
  • Single Fin – just because it’s fun and it’s nice to draw some different lines when the points are good sometimes.
hammo surfboards dane hamiltons favourites
From left to right: Pro Series, Speed, Death Proof and the Single Fin.

How do you develop and come up with your new models?

Inspiration comes from feedback from team riders, customers and my experiences on land just as much as my time in the water.

Technology has changed so much now that I can often lose myself designing at home whenever a new idea pops into my head. I just take on the feedback from everyone I talk to, digest it all in my mind and let it flow from there.

With custom orders do you have any tips on choosing the right tail shape for your board?

Probably the best advice I can give would be to know where your surfing most and how you want to surf and pick a tail that suits those waves.

For instance if your local break is predominantly junky beachies go for a squash, square or swallow tail. Or if you surf mainly point breaks & waves of better quality hit up a Round, Rounded pin or squash tail.

Dane hamilton of hammo surfboards

Do you think it’s good for surfers to know more about what volume they are surfing? If so how do you think this can help them refine their quiver and future boards?

The short answer is yes.

I am a believer that volume is helping to define the right board for surfers by providing a simple and effective way to find a board that should work for them. However, it’s not an exact science to choose every board based on a just an indexed number so should be treated carefully.

Always be open to trying boards outside of what is the typical formula for you, you never know what gem you might find if you hadn’t have tried, and you’ll learn more about your surfing which is what it’s all about.

cnc machine quote

Do you think CNC machines have helped advance surfboard design and how? Have they helped in refining board models? Or opened up the door for every man and his dog to call themselves a surfboard shaper.

Absolutely yes. CNC machines have helped advance surfboard design.

You can now design & engineer a board and understand exact measurements prior to even stepping into the shaping bay. It has helped all shapers to produce a better and more consistent product.

Yeah… anyone can design a file on AKU and have it cut but the design principles and shaping skills still require all those years of knowledge and practice to master.

Its little things that make a big difference under the pressure of water – it magnifies the detail. It’s only those tiny details that can be learned over time.

hammo surfboards inspection
Checking out how the quality of rails and bottom contours on a fresh set of Hammo Surfboards.

Do you think it’s important for modern shapers to have hand-shaping experience and why?

Yes without doubt. Hand shaping is a very skilful art and it’s the purist form of our industry.

Playing with foam provides you an in-depth knowledge of foam and how it responds when being cut and shaped, and ultimately how that board will respond when it’s out in the ocean. The best hand shapers can duplicate boards exactly with little trouble which isn’t easy.

There’s also something very personal about hand shaping a board for someone and then handing it over to them to take home and ride. I personally get a kick out of it.

hammo surfboards Pro Series in action
The Pro Series in action.

What do you think the next big movement in surfboards will be? Will it be constructions, new shapes, eco-friendly materials etc.?

I think all aspects will continue to be pushed. Refinements in construction with the aid of technology are making for lighter, stronger and more responsive boards.

Shapes will always evolve but I definitely think that the use of more environmentally sound materials is (or should be) the ‘next’ big movement for surfboards.

hammo surfboards in action

It’s kind of ironic in many ways because surfing may be one of the most nature-centric sports in the world but the large majority of equipment used is not in line with those principles so I really think we have some conscious work to do to fix that.

Check out Hammo Surfboards full range of boards and use the Board Engine to help find your volume.

23/06/2015 4:08 pm