Over the last couple of months Russell has been working on some new summer boards. He just unveiled one of them, the Dart, on his website.
Russell Hoyte was barely a teen when he bought his first surfboard… second hand. In less than a year he was drawn to custom boards. “Within 10 months my passion for surfing drove me to want to work with a local shaper and have boards that were personalized,” Russell remembers.
Fast forward to adulthood; Russell worked for some big-name sail companies like Seatrend Sailboards and Dill Sailboards. And, to use Russell’s words, he was “very fortunate to work for” JS Industries and to “have ghost-shaped for one of the best shapers of all times – Al Merrick, Channel Island Surfboards.” Russell didn’t just ghost shape for Al Merrick; he ghost shaped for Al Merrick for 15 years! That’s a pretty impressive history, if you ask me.
Looking back on his 30+ year career, Russell reflects, “Shaping is an art form and I’ve always been good with my hands. At first, I just wanted to give it a try and after two or three boards it became a passion to improve from each board to another. I wanted to see the differences between two boards that were almost identical but with subtle changes. How would this affect the board’s performance?
That was 30+ years ago and 60,000 boards later I’m still asking the same questions…:)”
In addition to shaping an average of 2,000 boards a year, Russell has also owned three glassing shops and currently has a complete surfboard factory in Ventura, California, just 20 miles south of the famous Rincon surf spot.
I asked Russell why a surfer should have him shape a board for them. He was quick to respond, “ Three reasons: Experience. Passion. Personal Custom Service.” Then his humility kicked in and he added, “Seriously, we really care for people. One of my personal mottos is ‘I want to put custom back into custom’.”
Russell was kind enough to offer some advice as to how to work with a shaper when you want a custom board. Click here to read what he had to say.
Want to get in touch with Russell Hoyte? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 805-485-0700 or keep checking www.hoytedesigns.com which is his website, which is coming soon.