Forever Reinventing the Ride
Ryan Lovelace is one of those shapers that just can’t stay happy with one board for long. He’s the first to admit that he soon loses interest in a board and wants to shape something new, a board that brings something new to the table. And that’s exactly what he’s doing with his quiver of shapes. Ryan is filling a few voids in surfboard design with his shapes like the ‘Baby Brick’ and ‘The Rabbit’s Foot,’ relentlessly rethinking classic designs in his quest to ride something new. When he dropped by to visit the Temple, he couldn’t help but dive into the shaping bay and create something especially for the waves we’ve got right here on our doorstep in Canggu. Over in his Cali hometown of Santa Barbara, his v.Bowls are one of the most versatile boards he shapes, so it made sense to start with these. A mid-length single fin that flies on small waves, and begs to be ridden in the bowl. Ryan got to work and crafted some of his Wayne Lynch-inspired boards to try out down at the bay. He also brought some other crazy boards along with him to keep himself entertained, and we managed to grab him for a quick chat to find out more his trip.
First up, we have to ask, are you actually a kneeboarder?
I do enjoy kneeboards and I have a slight quest within what I’m doing with the few that I make, but I only kneeboard when the conditions are perfect for it; maybe 10% of the time.
So what was that contraption you brought over here with you?
My quest. I’ll try to break it down this way – George Greenough’s kneeboards fall at one end of a spectrum, epic flex, at the expense of floatation (which isn’t exactly necessary, but it real nice…) and normal foam boards fall at the other end; lots of float at the expense of real dynamic flex (which also isn’t necessary, but is real nice). The middle-ground between the two is expansive, and I’m trying to stick my finger in there somewhere and mess around with it.
Something with not as much float as a normal board, and not as much flex as a full flex spoon – but enough of either one to have a whole lot of fun and give me tastes of each realm. There’s no rule book in there anywhere, so I can do what I want with what I want, and thats where contraptions like my current kneeboard come in.
Essentially its a stringerless EPS spoon shape, with a bit of foam left in the middle, say about 1″ thick, where spoons are completely void of foam. Then I glassed it with 2oz. kevlar, using a super flexy resin called Resin-X. I glassed the rails with varying weights of carbon fiber, staggering them towards the tail. Simple enough, yeah?
Tell us a bit about the v.Bowls you’ve been shaping and what got you started making them?
The way I’m looking at the v.bowls in terms of my evolution within boards is that for a long time I was working on other people’s concepts and designs – hulls, longboards, fishes, etc. and the v.bowls is the cumulation of what I learned from them all, how to put together a complex rail line, how to connect curves from nose to tail and what you can achieve with all of it, and to what degree in what size ranges. Its like I’ve found the best balance of foam distribution for my preferences – If I put it in an 8′ version, its an awesome midlength. If I shrink that down with the same balance into a 6′ size, it becomes a really good 6′ singlefin…It seems like whatever size I shape it in, I’m getting a really positive board that trims out insane and is really responsive off the back foot – a bit of a mash up of my favorite things in all the boards I’ve ridden in the past eight years or so of experimentation.
How did they perform in the waves we’ve got around Canggu?
I had a crazy good time at that rivermouth around Echo beach – I’m pretty sure anyone who regularly surfs it would have called it flat but I was getting these waist high peaks for a few mornings that would have a kinda drawn out takeoff, then hit that super shallow flat rock reef and just run…it was the most pure fun I’ve had surfing in quite a while…nobody else was around because it gets way better, but I was juicing everything those waves had to offer before real swell hit and I switched to the kneeboard.
And who was that pretty girl you were hanging out with while here?
I’m pretty sure she’s just a figment of my imagination. Katie McLean. Everyone tells me she’s real and I call her my girlfriend but I’m still rather convinced that she can’t actually exist. We spent the summer traveling all over together. After we hung with you guys we drove up the east coast of Australia for three weeks, then went to hawaii for another two weeks. She worked a ton on her outdoor fitness and art campaign while I’d shape, then we’d just surf ’till we dropped.
Ryan sure is a rare breed amongst the eclectic species of shapers spread across the globe, and we’re stoked that he found the time to visit the Temple and show us a few things we hadn’t seen before. We’re already looking forward to what he’ll surprise us with next time.
Till then come down to The Temple and check out the end result of Ryan Lovelace Surfboards beautifully laid out in our surf racks.