Friday, March 30, 2012

Custom X Shaper PMA Interview by AdeeperVision.

Don’t call him a shaper—call him a craftsman. Pete doesn’t like the term shaper, that term is for surfers. He makes bodyboards and done so for over twenty years. He has seen many changes in both the sport and in the way people ride. One thing has stayed constant, when he gets foam in his hands he is in the place he is suppose to be. When people first meet him they may think he is standoffish, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He loves collaborating with riders, finding out what is working for them and what isn’t. Outside the factory Pete is a family man and a bodyboarder himself. He lives the life he loves and loves the life he lives.
Josh: So how did you get started shaping?
Pete: Tell my story huh? … Actually right across the street, (Pete points to the other side of highway 76) right there. Right next door to the airport in those two buildings was BZ. There, they had a manufacturing warehouse, and the other warehouse just to the west was where I got started with BZ.
J: When did you start working for them?
P: Well, I’ve been plugging away since 91’
J: Earlier we were talking about some of the changes that have happened, could you tell a little bit more about that? You know like board design and that sort of thing.
P: Well, from the beginning, when I started it was polyethylene (PE), formed dow and dow core, but BZ had all the special materials, and everybody else was trying to get that same thing. Then they got the 3/16 and the eight-pound. I remember when they did the speed stripe going through. They would screen it. Then there was Arcel, and Ben was working there and he would come in and do designs, but Arcel was the shit. So that was really all we really had and also Wave Rebel and all that. At that point I was still working electrical, and even when I was working there, Buzz would come in and he was just starting out back then too, would drive down and get his materials and go. BZ was the shit at that time, and was the core brand. You had Wave Rebel, but Wave Rebel’s manufacturing was just so crazy. 

P: So I plugged away with BZ for a while. But (How I got started into bodyboarding was) there were these guys who were all in the music scene and we would all hang out in high school that were into bands and stuff. Then for a while I was actually a supervisor for a medical supply company making good money building stretchers and stuff. Then they put me back in this R&D room and I put a lot of seals to together and inject stuff and made cold packs and all kinds of shit like that. While I was a supervising in the back is when I met John Castro. He was working with me and him and his friend Yamo went to school together. Yamo was in charge at BZ, he told me, “Hey there hiring for second shift”. So John went and quit on me. Then he said, “Dude you should go over and just check it out, it’s a cool job”. But it was half the pay I was making, but it was so different and I could go get boards and ride and surf. So I was like, oh what the hell. So the rest is history.
J: So tell me about your family.
P: I was with my wife then. We were together then, she got pregnant, then we got married afterwards, and this was all in 91.
J: So she was always cool with bodyboarding and the whole thing?
P: I put in a lot of long hours and I think that’s why I shinned and accelerated. When I get into something I really get into something. I’ve spent the last couple of years just taking care of my family. My job was just kind of priority and it kind of switched after a while. I realized, I spent however many years I have been at this and I haven’t really gained anything out of it you know?
J: It seems like your family is really supportive of you because I remember your daughters would come to events and stuff and they were always pretty down.
P: Shit man, Shelby would probably out shape some of these guys. She graduates this year. If I had my own shop it would be a family thing. My wife would run the office and bring the kids in and have them do the grunt work. I would love for that to happen. I would come in and hang out and work and stuff.
 J: That’s really cool. So we were talking earlier about how you have acclimated so well to different companies and styles and stuff, and you were saying that is your key to success.
P: I don’t know man if you would call it success.  I’m the most know underground person or whatever you want to call it (laughs). I’m well known, but what in the hell does that guy do, I mean what-does-that-guy-do?
J: Well that’s the nature of the sport right?
P: Look at how long I’ve been at this. Well, I’m going to stick to my dream. Sometimes, I doubt my self, but I just keep plugging away at this. What have I gained here? It’s like this, you get to a certain age and you want to provide a little bit more for your family. But it will happen, it just the time and place. I just preach patience, patience, and patience. It’s all just a matter of patience.  I’m a man of patience. With a house full of females, you got to have a lot of patience.
J: (Laughing) Yep. I grew up with all women too.
P: Nowadays kids with their boogies. They expect them yesterday. Its like patience you know. It takes forever, sometimes when its busy it can take up to two months to get a board.
J: Because of the economy you guys are not stock pilling the boards like you use to, now you are making them to order, right? So they just have to wait for it.
P: I’m sure I’m losing some sales because I’m not turning them around, but I have to rush around a lot during production. I try to keep my passion going by working on the customs. I only have so much time during the day. If I get an hour window in a day, that’s when I’ll work on different projects and for different companies. Over seeing full production at Custom X, I got to keep everything separate. The only time I get to find the true me is when I can actually sit and do a custom, but its not always that case. Like Nelz and Ross, they’re going on a trip in two weeks, and I’m slammed with a stack of twenty customs. Then I got another kid who is like, “I’m taking this unexpected trip, could you hook me up with a board?” Then I have certain times where times where some kids get bumped and some kids gets moved forward. It just is what it is, and money talks too. Unfortunately, nowadays money talks. Nowadays I got to play it smarter with the financial part of it. But I was never originally into it for the money or the capital gain. As you can see, I got a $1.29 burrito, you know? (Laughs) Yeah all you boys and girls I’m living large. (Laughs) There are some people who think that you are SO rich.
J: That’s like what Eddie said, “Everybody thinks I’m killing it but really…”
P: In a way he was doing good. No matter what anybody says I respect the guy for his hustle. He was just hustling and just doing it a different way from how everyone else was doing it. He did his way. You got to give him mad respect for that.
J: I really connected with what you said when you get in the zone and how when you are working on a custom and people think you are rude, but really your not, you are just locked in to what you are doing. Do you think you could talk a little bit more about that?
P: It’s just focus. It’s kind of like a freight train it’s just weird. I just roll, but when I shut down, I shut down. I think people view me as intimidating sometimes. Or it’s like, ‘What’s up with that guy, or damn he has a huge ego,’ but its just when I work I’m focused. Catch me at the right time and its like this guy is kind of cool, but I’m not a social person. I’m a loner; I’m a one-on-one kind of guy. On the other hand, I tend to do random weird shit. That’s just me. People try and analyze me and do this thing and it just builds up this wall, but ya I’m a fucking weirdo.
J: Ha-ha, we all are. So where do you see the future in shaping going and what do you want to see more of in shapes? 
P: I just want to see things get more back to the basics. You are still going to have these tech guys looking for expensive boards and don’t get me wrong I love making those because it’s a challenge, but we need to get back to the basics. People need to start having fun and enjoying stuff and to get out there and challenge themselves and just bring everything back to the states. You know it’s been a decade and you know things can turn around and get everything coming back here to the states. Instead of innovation and all of that, we need to just weed out some of these brands that just have the coolest logo and packaging. Presentation in a surf shop is everything right now. If you don’t got that a kids going to ride that other thing.
   Australia is shining, and Australia is at their peak and they do well for the sport and they deserve it, and they have earned it. When we were making all the money, Australia just kept doing their thing and plugging away at it and … (Puts hands up)
   Well, lets talk about Toobs; they set the standard, quality, craftsmanship. You get what you get, and you know they are going to stick to their niche and that’s where they shine.              
   Then there is Todd and Jared and those guys from Oz. Well what can you say about those guys, wow. All I have to do is just look at their board and I just drool. Its like damn, make me a board, but I’m sure when I was with Elemenopee everyone was watching me. Everybody learns from everybody. Me, I’m just going to make whatever you want.
Even though they don’t say you know they look at the boards.
 J: So how has innovation evolved?
P: Back to innovation, it was Arcel, and then from Arcel to Electra with like real stiff bottoms and colors. Buzz, is a guy that was looking beyond stuff, he was the first to bring in hollow stringers and stuff, and we were all the hype with all the best shapers. Then Custom X with the surlyn. Then with Elemenopee when I was doing all the bulbs, thumb grips, and my hip channels. You know you see it and it’s a cycle.
   Nowadays for me its whatever, but for a good stretch of ten years I like to think I was a trendsetter. I would design something, just a few boards and a few models. Then the next year the competor was doing the same.
J: It’s kind of like a silent collaboration in a way.
P: It’s only just taking bits and pieces of stuff and making it happen.
J: Do you ever get pumped when you see somebody get a shot in the mag and get excited?
P: To be honest, it’s cool to see that stuff, it makes me feel stoked. I use to want to be out there. I wanted to be number one and have everybody riding my board. I found I was to busy paying attention to all that shit and not enough time paying attention to my family. It’s fine line. So I just get out there and plug away now, try to stay happy and take care of my family. Really, my family is my priority
J: That’s awesome. That how it should be.
P: Actually, It’s really cool now the kids will see something and look and say, “ Did you see that? You got a shot on a website, somebody said something,” and now its cool to see them and they are like, “Damn Dad check it out.” They get all pumped up. It’s kind of funny.
J: (Laughing) Thanks a lot Pete.
P: Alright.

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