26 May Anton Butler and the Art of Handcrafted Surfboards
Posted at 16:14h in Uncategorised
There is a huge difference between making surfboards, and manufacturing them. Nowadays the art of board shaping consists of typing the dimensions into a computer, and watching as a machine cuts away at a hunk of fiberglass. The human touch is gone, replaced with generic designs and mass production.
Shapers constantly struggle to deal with the pressures of increasing demand, while still trying to add artistic passion to their work. There are few who really fight to keep their originality, and nobody more so than local board designer, Anton Butler.
Talking to Anton, it’s difficult not to be captivated by his story. A shaper who gives you a completely new appreciation towards the board under your feet, he is someone who brings you back to the true tradition behind surfing. Starting with his brand ‘Lazy B’ , Anton quickly made a name for himself within the local surfing community. Each board was a unique, hand-crafted masterpiece. With hours of blood, sweat and tears (of joy) poured into each model. Learning with role models and teachers like Johnny Paarman at your side, Anton learned to put soul into his work, and never ceased to do so.
Though as surfing became more of a fashion statement and less of a lifestyle, and orders started piling up, most shapers began opting for quantity over quality, and hand-shaping became a thing of the past. However for Anton separating his art from his business just wasn’t an option, and after years of trying to keep the tradition in his company, he realised he was fighting a losing battle. It was then that he decided to load his motorbike and head off into Africa in search of a new path. Fortunately Antons old friend, David Stubbs, needed a board redone, and the job required a hand-shaper. Through the reshaping of that single board, Antons passion and love for the craft was reborn. He finished the job, and handed the finished product to a glowing customer, he decided to give shaping one last go. And with that decision, ‘Ferral’ boards were born. With every design made to express the exact style of the rider, there is so much individual personality in each board, you may lose touch of where the surfboard ends and the rider starts.
Walking down the beach, you will spot a Ferral board from a mile away. With their vibrant colours, and unique styles, you can almost picture Anton carving away in his workshop, blaring old school rock out of his stereo, and genuinely loving what he does. Sure, you may not get your board the day after you order it, but that’s because you know there’s time and effort being put into crafting something that’s one of a kind.
Never just put into a computer and left for the machine.
Never without heart or attention to detail.